MidEast

U.S. Lawmakers Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Monitor Palestinian Textbook Incitement

A bipartisan bill to monitor incitement in Palestinian textbooks has been introduced by Reps. Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY) and has been forwarded to the influential House Foreign Affairs Committee, of which both lawmakers are members.

Co-sponsors of the legislation include Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), David Trone (D-MD), Brian Mast (R-FL), and Randy Weber (R-TX).

The bill commits the U.S. Department of State to conduct an annual review of the curriculum used by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the UN Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and screen its content for incitement against Jews and Israelis.

The report would establish whether U.S. aid money has been used to “directly or indirectly” fund violent material and if content “encouraging violence or intolerance toward other nations or ethnic groups has been removed.”

It would also highlight that the PA and UNRWA “have not sufficiently worked to eliminate all content and passages encouraging violence or intolerance toward other nations or ethnic groups from the curriculum used in their respective schools.”

In March 2019, the British government announced that it will undertake a substantial review of Palestinian school textbooks amid concerns that aid money is funding a curriculum that is inciting violence. The problem of incitement in PA textbooks prompted the European Union’s Parliament to pass legislation in April 2018 that would prohibit EU aid from funding anti-Israel texts.

The U.S. Department of State notified UNRWA in January 2018 that the U.S. would be withholding $65 million of the $125 million assigned for it, saying that additional U.S. donations would be contingent on major reforms at the agency.

UNRWA has long been accused of ignoring its mandate to alleviate the plight of Palestinian refugees and instead promoting incitement against Israelis, including even sheltering terrorists. Schoolbooks used in PA-operated schools and UNRWA-run facilities in Gaza and the West Bank have been found to display extreme anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiments. With their actions, the PA and UNRWA have directly facilitated terrorism.

[Photo: rusticus80 / Wikimedia Commons]