UKLFI: Supporting Israel with legal skills

Comedy of Errors in Review of Palestinian Textbooks

A report commissioned by the EU into Palestinian textbooks reviewed Israeli textbooks by mistake. The report gives a ringing endorsement of the Israeli textbooks used in Arab schools in Jerusalem. However, it completely failed in its objective, which was to review the Palestinian textbooks and assess the claims that they are rife with incitement to hatred and violence.

Newton’s 2nd law illustrated by Palestinian youths using slingshots to confront the soldiers of the Zionist Occupation 

Serious concerns have been expressed for a long time now about incitement to hatred and violence in Palestinian Authority textbooks used in schools run by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and UNRWA. The NGO, IMPACT-se, has analysed these textbooks by reference to objective standards derived from UNESCO declarations and recommendations on peace and tolerance and found serious violations.

Following years of pressure from MPs in Britain  and other countries, including a Bill drafted with UKLFI’s assistance and moved in the UK Parliament by former Labour MP, Louise Ellman, the British government decided to encourage the EU to carry out an independent examination of the PA textbooks.

To this end, the British government commissioned the Georg Eckert Institut (GEI) of Leibniz, Germany, to produce an “Inception Report” setting out how it would carry out an appropriate study.  The EU then commissioned GEI to do the study and to produce an Interim and then a Final Report. Following extensive delays, the Interim Report has been produced, but not the Final Report.

UKLFI eventually obtained a copy of the Inception Report by a Freedom of Information request.  Despite pressures from MPs in the UK and Germany as well as Members of the European Parliament, the Interim Report has been classified and not published. However, an extensive presentation about the Interim Report has been given and obtained by IMPACT-se.

IMPACT-se has now reviewed both the Inception Report and the presentation on the Interim Report. The Inception Report has the most basic errors of translation. IMPACT-se observes:

“The phrase for women who accompany Muslim believers in paradise (حور العين ) is mistranslated as ‘Horoscope’. Shimon Peres became ‘piers’ that are constructed over bodies of water. The very well-known Palestinian phrase for rock-throwers – ‘The Children of the Stones’ – becomes ‘children stones.’ … The widely used ‘Naksa Day’ was misunderstood as ‘remembrance’.

Many words that should be included in the quantitative report word bank are omitted – Nakba, sacrifice, soldier, Hamas, Al Haram Al-Sharif, war and martyrdom, among others.”

Worse still, GEI’s Interim Report has reviewed the wrong books altogether. Instead of reviewing the PA textbooks, GEI examined Israeli textbooks used in Arab schools run by the Jerusalem Municipality. GEI has rightly endorsed these books, but this does nothing to enlighten European governments that give millions of pounds or euros financing Palestinian education using PA textbooks that indoctrinate hatred and violence.

Jonathan Turner, Chief Executive of UK Lawyers for Israel, said: “This would be laughable, but it is no laughing matter for the victims of terrorism incited by the indoctrination in these books and the accompanying teaching, and indeed for all those who suffer from the perpetuation of the conflict by this means. These catastrophic failures emphasise the need to disclose all of the documents for public scrutiny.”