Government announces review of Palestinian education amid fears textbooks promote terrorism

Labour Friends of Israel branded the PA's curriculum 'lessons in hate'


The Government is to review the Palestinian Authority's educational curriculum, amid fears British taxpayers are paying towards lessons that teach children antisemitism and glorify terrorism.

Middle East Minister Alistair Burt announced a “rigorous and independent review” of PA textbooks, after it was revealed the UK was paying more than £20million in aid each year towards a curriculum criticised for inciting pupils to become jihadists and martyrs.

MP Joan Ryan, who chairs Labour Friends of Israel (LFI), raised “deep concerns” over the teaching of hatred of Israel with the government last September and the organisation has mounted a long-running campaign on the issue over the past year.

A report by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education group (IMPACT-se) also concluded that PA textbooks encouraged “young Palestinians to acts of violence in a more extensive and sophisticated manner” and that “the curriculum’s focus appears to have expanded from demonisation of Israel to providing a rationale for war”.

In Mr Burt's letter, which was sent to Ms Ryan and fellow Labour MP Ian Austin, the minister said he was “concerned at some of the findings of the IMPACT-se report” and that the government had "brought forward a planned assessment of the Palestinian curriculum”.

He said the review's outcome would be revealed "in due course". On Wednesday, a Westminster Hall debate is due to discuss the issue of Palestinian incitement further.

In a series of parliamentary answers, Mr Burt previously said that British aid is funding the salaries of 33,000 teachers implementing a school curriculum that has been criticised for promoting violence against Israel.

The Department for International Development has defended the use of British aid, saying it helps 25,000 young Palestinians gain a vital education each year.

LFI director Jennifer Gerber said: “Joan Ryan first raised LFI's deep concerns about the PA’s new lessons in hate directly with the government in September.

"After months of pressure and prevarication, DfID has now announced a review of the curriculum. We have little faith that this is anything other than a further delaying tactic, which is why we have scheduled Wednesday’s debate."

Ms Ryan added: "It is grotesque that UK taxpayers’ money is helping to support the teaching of a curriculum which incites violence and terrorism and spreads antisemitism.

"My Westminster Hall debate is the next stage in LFI’s campaign to stop the UK funding hate and force the Palestinian Authority to commit to wholesale and urgent revisions of their curriculum. The government must listen to reason and end this travesty."

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