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Palestinian Authority Suspends Ties With UN Agency for Creating Less Hateful Curriculum

The Palestinian Authority suspended ties with the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) Thursday due to the agency’s plans to change its curriculum, which currently contains material inciting violence against Israelis. The PA’s Education Ministry called the possible reforms “an affront to the Palestinian people, its history and struggles.”

“The changes, according to Arab media reports, include revisions to maps of Palestine to exclude references to cities inside Israel as Palestinian cities, a practice that numerous studies of Palestinian textbooks have labeled as ‘incitement.’ Other changes were reportedly planned to tone down praise for Palestinian prisoners and improve Israel’s image,” The Times of Israel reported.

UNRWA teachers have been found to regularly incite students to terrorism and anti-Semitism, including by praising Adolf Hitler. The agency has ties to Hamas, and last October, several members of its staff were fired for posting Facebook statuses inciting violence against Israelis. Hamas rockets were also found in UNRWA schools in three separate instances during the 2014 Gaza war.

Israel’s coordinator of government activities in the territories lauded the proposed revisions as a way “to create a balanced, positive curriculum with universal values free from violence and incitement.”

Earlier this month, an Israeli watchdog found that PA textbooks for the 2016 school year routinely demonized Israel and praised “martyrdom.” The textbooks glorified terrorists and featured math questions asking students to calculate how many martyrs had died in the first and second intifadas combined. Maps depicted “Palestine” as covering all of Israel. A previous report by the watchdog, issued last June, discovered that the word “peace” did not appear even once in its survey of 78 PA textbooks for grades 1 through 12.

[Photo: Ramón Ivanovich Lopez / Flickr]