The Norwegian Parliament decided last week to cut funding for the education system of the Palestinian Authority, due to evidence of the existence of materials inciting violence, terrorism, and martyrdom in school curricula across the Palestinian territory.
This unprecedented announcement follows a report made by the Jerusalem based Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), that brings to light the widespread radicalization rampant within the Palestinian education system.
Coalition lawmakers issued a statement sharply criticizing the violent and inciteful material found within the textbooks.
"Examples of content found in Palestinian school books include references to violence, martyrdom and terror," read the statement. "The coalition considers this to be devastating to the peace process and the development of democracy in the region, as well as being an expression of irresponsible pedagogy, and finds it unacceptable that Norwegian funds support a school system that promotes such destructive values.”
“We can no longer sit still and watch Norwegian money contribute to a teaching system that encourages children to violence and promotes racism and antisemitism,” said Hans Andreas Limi, parliamentary leader of the libertarian Progress Party.
The decision is expected to affect the 220 Million Norwegian Krone aid (approximately $24 million) Norway previously promised to transfer to the Palestinian Education Ministry by 2022 unless they provide satisfactory improvements to the school materials.
Any references of the Oslo Accords and peace talks with Israel, which were previously mentioned in Palestinian textbooks, have been completely removed, with violence and Jihadist ideals replacing them to teach everyday subjects.
Physics, for example, is being taught by calculating the weight and distance of a rock being flung towards the head of an IDF soldier, while simple mathematics such as addition, subtraction and multiplication are being taught by counting martyrs.
Following IMPACT-se's report, Palestinian Deputy Minister of Education Basri Saleh denied the allegations in an interview with the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten saying that the curriculum has since been changed.
Saleh's claims were easily proven to be false by Aftenposten's reporter who found out that Palestinian textbooks were still rife with inciteful material, proceeding to present the facts to the speechless Saleh.
IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff hailed the Norwegian Parliament's decision.
"Norwegian lawmakers reached the only possible conclusion when shown the extremism in the current Palestinian textbooks," said Sheff. "Why would they want their taxpayers to be complicit in the radicalization of a generation of children or in encouraging them to acts of violence?"
Sheff also commented on Saleh's interview with Aftenposten, citing it as a part of a long-standing delegitimization campaign against Israel by the Palestinians.
"It was a mistake by the Palestinian Deputy Minister of Education and the others in their organized campaign to lie about the content of the textbooks in the press," Sheff said. These things can be easily checked, and no legislator likes to be purposefully misled."
IMPACT-se's Chief Operating Officer Arik Agassi was not surprised by the international controversy sparked by his organization's findings.
"It's no wonder that the radical and violent material found in Palestinian textbooks caused a worldwide stir about the future, study books are unequivocally the strongest weapon we have to stave off radical ideals and are the key to an open and tolerant society," Agassi said.
Norway isn't the first to take a stand against the hateful approach found in Palestinian textbooks.
Last August, the UN published a report criticizing the inclusion of hateful materials in the Palestinian Authorities textbooks and demanded their immediate removal.
Former Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini stated that the European Union will launch its own probe on the matter.
Additionally, the U.S. Congress is acting to promote bipartisan legislation, demanding U.S. government agencies to publish a yearly report on the curricula in schools across the Palestinian Authority.
First published: 21:01 , 12.08.19