Text size

New textbooks for 12th-grade Palestinian students reject the existence of Israel and make no attempt to educate students about peace or coexistence, according to Palestinian Media Watch, an organization that monitors Palestinian Arabic-language media and schoolbooks.

The primary findings of the report will be presented to the Knesset Education and Culture Committee today.

"The teachings repeatedly reject Israel's right to exist, present the conflict as a religious battle for Islam, teach Israel's founding as imperialism, and actively portray a picture of the Middle East, both verbally and visually, in which Israel does not exist at all," the group wrote in a February report entitled "From nationalist battle to religious conflict: New 12th Grade Palestinian schoolbooks present a world without Israel."

According to the report, the book describes the establishment of the State of Israel by saying: "Palestine's war [in 1948] ended with a catastrophe unprecedented in history, when the Zionist gangs stole Palestine and expelled its people from their cities, their villages, their lands and their houses, and established the State of Israel."

The textbooks were written by the Center for Developing the Palestinian Curricula and introduced by the Palestinian Authority at the end of 2006, according to the report.

"Defining Israel's founding as a 'catastrophe unprecedented in history,' a theft perpetrated by 'Zionist gangs,' together with numerous other hateful descriptions of Israel as 'colonial imperialist' and 'racist,' compounded by the presentation of the conflict as a religious war, leaves no latitude for students to have positive or even neutral attitudes toward Israel," write PMW director Itamar Marcus and associate director Barbara Crook in the report.

Marcus and Crook note that Israel does not exist in the maps printed in the textbook. "Maps of the region likewise teach children to visualize a world without Israel, as Israel does not exist on any map and its area is marked as 'Palestine,'" states the report.