10/20/2010, 00.00
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Israeli and Palestinian children not educated to love

In a study, the Christian Peacemaker Team shows how children in both peoples suffer directly and indirectly from violence, which negatively affects their development. A content analysis of Palestinian texts shows Jews in highly negative light.

Hebron/al Khalil– Palestinian and Israeli children are not educated in a spirit of love. The Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT), which has a permanent presence in the Holy Land, has collected data in the past four months that highlight the problems experienced by Palestinian residents in old Hebron, the nearby village of al-Bweireh and the Baqa Valley. A survey of Palestinian textbooks also shows how hatred is taught.

An incident illustrates the type of the violence that is typically experienced by residents in Hebron/Al Khalil. In complete disregard of an order by Palestinian Ministry of Education, Israeli soldiers entered the city’s Ibrahimi School, looking for Palestinian children who had allegedly thrown a stone at a settler child. Two Palestinians boys under the age of 18 were arrested in front of their classmates and led to a nearby police station.

According to the CPT, this example is evidence not only of the lack of impartiality of Israeli police, but indicates how any charge by settlers against Palestinians is taken for granted by Israeli authorities, even if it means total disregard for the need to maintain a proper educational environment for Palestinian children,

With soldiers entering schools at will, children learn that such places are not safe for them, and this has a negative impact on their education. At the same time, the situation shows how settler children are used to perpetuate violence. For the CPT, the conclusion that can be drawn is that Palestinian and Israeli children are not educated in a spirit of love.

Indeed, Israeli authorities do not prepare their children to life of peace, tolerance and equality; Palestinian authorities are not doing much better.

In a study titled Palestinian Textbooks: From Arafat to Abbas and Hamas, the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education analysed textbooks used in Palestinian schools between 2000 and 2006. It found that most Palestinian texts used in grade 1 through 10 published under Arafat’s administration did not mention any Jewish presence in the ancient land of Israel/Palestine, and that they failed to represent Israel on any modern map. Jews are also denigrated as conspirators and “killers”.

In Grade 11 textbooks published under the administration of President Mahmud Abbas, the history of the Jews in the Middle East is briefly mentioned and for the first time, the name “Israel” appears. However, when Hamas came to power, the slight improvement disappears in Grade 12 books. Once more, Jews become invading snakes and the armed struggle for Palestine is widely celebrated.

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