Lobby Day for Israel

On Wednesday 4th March, Christian Friends of Israel joined with the Zionist Federation to lobby the UK Parliament about the scandalous content of the Palestinian Authority’s education curriculum.

First we were briefed by Dame Louise Ellman, who put forward a Bill to Parliament in 2019, calling for the Palestinian Authority (PA) to be held to the agreements it has made to remove incitement to hatred of Israelis from its curriculum.

Lobby Briefing 4th March 2020Lobby Briefing 4th March 2020

UK support for education amongst the Palestinians has recently averaged £45 million a year; and we have a signed Memorandum of Understanding about the curriculum with which the PA should comply. However, there is much evidence that the PA does not comply with it, and the regular reviews promised by the UK Government have not been published.

Incitement in textbooks

The lobby briefing was then taken into some detail about the content of PA text books by Marcus Sheff, the CEO of the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se). Within the curriculum for Islamic Education, students are encouraged to ‘sacrifice’ for the liberation of the Al-Aqsa Mosque; and within the Arabic Language curriculum, they are invited to follow in the footsteps of Dalal al-Mughrabi, a terrorist who murdered 38 Israelis.

Thus, the reality in the PA schools is the very opposite of the PA’s claim that they are educating their children for peace. In fact, numerous mentions of peace initiatives and agreements have been removed from their textbooks, whilst statements such as ‘Jews are the enemies of Islam’ have been inserted.

A matter of great concern

This issue should be of great concern to all British taxpayers who want their foreign aid payments to be used to further the cause of peace, and not to be used to promote conflict.

What was particularly concerning was the fact that one MP told the lobby group that this concern was raised in Parliament as long ago as 2001 – a truly shameful fact for the UK Government.

Reviews delayed again

More attention has focused on this problem in the last two years, both in the UK and in the European Union. Consequently, the UK Government has promised to conduct a review ‘as soon as possible’.

However, a second MP described for the lobby group the process that was being adopted in this review. It consists of multiple stages, each of which sounds as if it could last for months. Thus it became clear that there is still a complete lack of urgency within the UK Government to address this problem.

Every delay leads to another year in which Palestinian children are taught to hate their Jewish neighbours. Every delay makes the prospects for peace more remote.