Thursday, April 05, 2007

Suffer the children

Norm Geras points to a disturbing aspect of Palestinian education:

New Palestinian 12th grade textbooks published in December deny Israel's existence and teach 11-year-olds that the Palestinian struggle is part of an overall war between Muslims and their enemies, according to a Palestinian Media Watch report entitled "From nationalist battle to religious conflict."

The Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education said it was reviewing the issue.

"The books don't allow for a Palestinian child to accept Israel as a neighbor. When you define the conflict as a religious war you are no longer fighting for your own national identity or territory but for Islamic destiny. You have to accept either Islam or Israel," said Itamar Marcus, Palestinian Media Watch's director.

"I would be happy if the books talked about a national struggle to get as many rights as possible. But to package it as an everlasting war is to generate years of conflict. It's child abuse against their own kids," he said.

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