As this is being written, news wires around the world are running a story that Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority, has launched a new peace initiative with Israel.
However, the new school books that the same Mahmoud Abbas has now introduced in the Palestinian Authority school system - run independently of Hamas - represent a curriculum that prepares a new generation of Palestinians to destroy Israel.
Following fervent support given to Hezbollah's total war on Israel by Abbas and the Palestinian Authority this summer, this raises the question as to whether the new school year in the Palestinian
Authority, opening next week, will simply add fuel to the fire of the Palestinian Authority's war against Israel, instead of a new peace initiative with the Jewish State.
Because these PA school books have also been incorporated in the Arab schools in Jerusalem, which raises cause for further concern, a movement is afoot in the Israeli Arab schools in the rest of Israel to adopt the PA curriculum in their schools. Indeed, the latest study of PA textbooks, commissioned by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center in Herzelia (www.intelligence.org.il, an agency that had been consistently supportive of the Oslo Peace Process), speaks for itself. Here are some pearls of wisdom that Palestinian children will learn from the new school books of the Palestinian Authority this year:
1. Israel does not appear on any maps of the world in the new PA textbooks, while maps of Israel replace the name Israel with Palestine in all of the new Palestinian Authority school books.
2. The new Palestinian School Books "annex" sites in Israel to Palestine. "Haifa is a Palestinian seaport," (p. 7) (Lughatuna al-Jamila (Our Beautiful Language) Vol. 2, 5th grade textbook, p. 86). "Galilee, Nazareth and Beit She'an are regions in Palestine," (p. 7) (Al-Iqtisad al-Manzili (Home Economy), 10th grade textbook, pp. 36-37).
3. The new Palestinian school books mention Israel only as an enemy, in reference to "occupation of lands" in 1948 and 1967: "There is no doubt that the Israeli occupation has a negative impact on [Palestinian] agriculture and its export," (p. 8) (Lughatuna al-Jamila (Our Beautiful Language) Vol. 1, 10th grade textbook, p. 102).
4. The new Palestinian school books present Zionism only as an enemy movement: "The Palestinian people are under an oppressive siege, limiting their movement and way of life," (p. 9) (Al-Tarbiyah al-Islamiyyah (Islamic Education), Vol. 1, 5th grade textbook, p. 49).
Accusation against settlements [from 1948!] of damaging water sources "the influence of settlement on sources of water in Palestine," (p. 9) (Ulum al-Sihha wal-B'ia (Health and Environmental Sciences), 10th grade textbook, p. 122).
"The Palestinian family has problems...stemming from the occupation...it loses father, mother or son to death or imprisonment...endures the difficulties of life...," (p. 11) (Al-Tarbiyah al-Wataniyya (National Education), 5th grade textbook, p. 23).
5. The new Palestinian School Books make the false claim that an "extremist Zionist" set fire to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969, (p. 12) (Tarikh al'Alam al-Hadith wal-Mu'asir (History of the new Modern World), 10th grade textbook, p. 106) when it was really a mentally unstable fundamentalist Christian Australian.
6. The new Palestinian school books teach that the First Zionist Congress at Basel fostered the Zionist State based on a secret decision of what came came to be known as the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion." (p. 13) (Tarikh al-'Alam al-Hadith wal Mu-'asir (History of the News Modern World), 10th grade textbook, pp. 60-64).
7. The new Palestinian School books teach that the only ancient inhabitants of Israel were Arabs, ignoring any ancient Jewish presence.
"Concentrated...in the land of Al-Sham [Greater Syria]...was the culture of the Canaanite and Aramaic peoples who migrated there from the Arab peninsula," (p.14-15) (Tarikh al-Hadarat al-Qadima (History of Ancient Civilizations), 5th grade textbook, Foreword).
8. The new Palestinian school books teach that Palestinians must use war and violence - especially martyrdom - to accomplish their goals:
The heroic mother, "who incessantly presents one sacrifice [fida'] after another." (Lughatuna al-Jamila (Our Beautiful Language), Vol 2, 5th grade textbook, p. 31).
The warrior goes to war faced with one of the good options: victory or martyrdom in battle for the sake of Allah. (Ibid. Vol. 1, 5th grade textbook, p. 70).
"Allah gave the people of this land (Al-Sham and Palestine) an important task: they must stand on the forefront of the Muslim campaign against their enemies, and only if they fulfill their duty to their religion, nation, and land will they be rewarded as stated in the scriptures." (Al-Tarbiya al-Islamiyyah (Islamic Education), Vol 2, 10th grade textbook, p. 50).
9. The new Palestinian school books feature children with names such as Jihad (holy war) and Nidal (struggle). (p.22) (Tarikh al-Hadarat al-Qadima (History of Ancient Civilizations), 5th grade textbook, p.6).
10. The new Palestinian school books stress the importance of "return" of refugees to all of Palestine - by violence:
"The wrong must be made right by returning them to their homes: we returned to the homeland after a long absence." (Lughatuna al-Jamila (Our Beautiful Language), Vol 2, 5th grade textbook, p. 43).
"Returning to the homes, the plains and the mountains, under the banners of glory, jihad [holy war] and struggle" (Lughatuna al-Jamila (Our Beautiful Language), Vol 1, 5th grade textbook, p.88).
Tragically, most Israeli leaders do not take the influence of such "education" as seriously as they should.
In May, 2001, when this reporter asked then-Mayor of Jerusalem Ehud Olmert about the incorporation of PA textbooks in the Arab schools in Jerusalem, his answer was that "they can teach what they want, and we will teach what we want."
Questions placed to now-Prime Minister Olmert on this issue have gone unanswered. When the Evening Bulletin raised the issue of the curriculum to Olmert's cabinet secretary, he said that the issue is not on the agenda.