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Incitement or peace education?

PA report claims that “Israeli textbooks foster hate” and that “Israeli schools te

A new report published by the office of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad claims that “Israeli textbooks foster hate” and that “Israeli schools teach [from] racist textbooks.”

The report, associated with the “Palestinian Incitement Index ” aims at monitoring anti-Palestinian rhetoric and follows the Israeli “Incitement Index,” which was developed last year to measure changes in Palestinian discourse toward Israel. While studying the issue of incitement with the aim of decreasing it on both sides is a worthwhile undertaking, a closer look at such discourse is also due.

The Palestinian report cites four examples, three of which are taken from the book Geography of the Land of Israel (2002), which has since been taken off the Education Ministry’s approved reading list.

The only legitimately problematic quote presented by the report is an illustration of an Arab in traditional attire holding a camel’s reins, which is indeed somewhat stereotypical – probably one of the reasons for taking the book off the approved reading list.

However, other examples given by the report did not actually contain any incitement, or even prejudice.

For instance, the report objects to the use of the name “Judea and Samaria,” and the reluctance of Israeli textbooks to present Jerusalem as Palestinian territory.

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