Martin Indyk Wrongly Claims Progress In Ending Palestinian Incitement To Hatred In Textbooks
March 1, 2007

The Director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and former Middle East advisor and U.S. ambassador to Israel in the Clinton Administration, Martin Indyk, has wrongly claimed that Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas has ended incitement to hatred and murder of Israelis in the PA media and progressed toward ending demonization of Israel in the PA textbooks. In his February 14 testimony before the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Indyk said:

Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas’ nom de guerre], the Palestinian president–who’s the elected Palestinian president–has met all of the requirements, including removing, once he became president, ending the incitement of Israel in the Palestinian media and beginning the process of dealing with the demonization of Israel in Palestinian curricula. (Hearing of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, February 14, 2007, , February 20, 2007).

Unfortunately, Indyk’s claims are at variance with the reality of continuing demonization of Israel in the PA media, mosques, schools and youth camps. In addition, contrary to Indyk’s astonishing statement that Abbas has met all the requirements necessary for a real peace, Abbas has not met any of such obligations to arrest and jail terrorists, close the bomb factories and to end the incitement. Further proof that Abbas is not promoting peace with Israel are several of his statements in the last few weeks:

  • “We have a legitimate right to direct our guns against Israeli occupation … Our rifles, all our rifles are aimed at The Occupation” ( Jerusalem Post , January 11, 2007; Independent Media & Review Analysis , January 12, 2007).

  • “We must unite the Hamas and Fatah blood in the struggle against Israel as we did at the beginning of the intifada. We want a political partnership with Hamas” ( Jerusalem Post , February 5, 2007).

  • “It is not required of Hamas, or of Fatah, or of the Popular Front to recognize Israel” (Al-Arabiya [Dubai] and PA TV, October 3, translation courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch).

The leading Israeli expert on Palestinian Arab incitement, Itamar Marcus, Director of Palestinian Media Watch, has produced a new updated report, released only six days before Indyk’s testimony in Washington, D.C. To mark the report’s release, Marcus held a major press conference with U.S. Senator Hilary Clinton (D-NY), who said:

…We must stop the propaganda to which Palestinian children are being exposed … Children were encouraged to see martyrdom and armed struggle and the murder of innocent people as ideals to strive for.

Today, we are here once again to release a report that is deeply disturbing, particularly for the denial of Israel’s existence and the historical omissions of the Holocaust, to cite just two examples.

These textbooks do not give Palestinian children an education; they give them an indoctrination. When we viewed this report in combination with other media that these children are exposed to, we see a larger picture that is disturbing. It is disturbing on a human level, it is disturbing to me as a mother, it is disturbing to me as a United States Senator, because it basically, profoundly poisons the minds of these children…

This propaganda is dangerous … in idealizing for children a world without Israel, children are taught never to accept the reality of the State of Israel …
Very briefly, the report finds the following in these textbooks: the founding of Israel is described as “a catastrophe that is unprecedented in history.” There is a portrayal of the region in both maps and text in which Israel does not exist. There is the denial of the Holocaust by the omission of historical facts connecting Nazi ideology and actions with the persecution and murder of Jews. For example, the report states, “The textbook teaches the military and the political events of WWII in significant detail including sections on Nazi racist ideology, yet neither the persecution of Jews or the Holocaust is even mentioned.”

We cannot build a peaceful, stable, safe future on such a hate-filled violent and radical foundation….there has still not been an adequate repudiation of this by the Palestinian Authority ( Palestinian Media Watch , March 1, 2007).

Itamar Marcus summarized the findings of the new PMW report as follows:

  • The new Grade 12 Palestinian schoolbooks produced last year were produced by the Palestinian Curriculum Development Center (PCDC), a center established under the Fatah governments of Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas.

  • The head of the PCDC Dr. Naim Abu Al-Humos, former PA minister of higher education. As such, this schoolbook report is not reflecting Hamas ideology, this is reflecting the Fatah ideology.

  • In these textbooks, the war with Israel is defined as a religious war.

  • The schoolbooks bring mainstream Palestinian ideology much closer to that of Hamas, by defining this as a religious battle and Israel’s land to be Islamic land.

  • Statements in the textbooks include, ” Palestine’s war ended with a catastrophe that is unprecedented in history, when the Zionist gangs stole Palestine … and established the State of Israel” (Arabic Language, Analysis, Literature and Criticism, grade 12, p. 104).

  • “These racist operations that Israel carried out since its establishment in 1948, motivated the UN to pass the resolution …which views Zionism as a form of racism…” (History of the Arabs and the World in the 20th Century, grade 12, pp. 125-126).

  • “Since 1948, the Mukawama — resistance – in which the inhabitants carried acts of most glorious heroism and sacrifice, which have become lessons imitated by resistance to colonialism, occupation and persecution around the world” (Arabic Language, Analysis, Literature and Commentary, grade 12 p 105).

  • They also teach that the state ” Palestine” is larger than 10,000 square kilometers,. Whereas Judea, Samaria and Gaza together is about 6,500 square kilometers, so again are describing a world in which Israel does not exist. Israel, not its control of territories conquered in the defensive 1967 Six Day War, is explicitly identified as the fact that must be overturned.

  • Israel and Israelis are often described as “Zionist gangs”, “Zionist enemy”, “Zionist entity”, “enemy of the people” and so on.

  • No PA map mentions Israel in any of the PA schoolbooks and description of Palestine incorporate the territory, acreage and resources belonging to Israel.

  • The children are taught about World War Two, but not the Holocaust. Where raised, the Jews are said to be perpetrating one against Palestinians.

  • The new PA schoolbooks divide the modern world into two camps fighting in a “Clash of Civilizations”: the West, led by the United States, and the Islamic-Arab world.

  • The textbooks teach anti-Americanism, describe the U.S. as a major human rights abuser and praise the terrorist campaign in Iraq as “brave resistance.”

Other examples from PMW of incitement to hatred and murder in the PA media since Abbas became PA president:

  • October 23, 2006: The official Palestinian Authority (PA) newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida published a vicious anti-Semitic article by Muhammad Khalifa that includes many of the classic anti-Semitic libels including claims that Jews start wars to promote their own grab for power and control international finance and media. The Jews, says Khalifa, started the war in Iraq as the first step to “force the other Arab nations to voluntarily surrender to their will,” a strategy he says will fail, produce World War III and bring about the end of Western culture. Al-Hayat Al-Jadida is controlled by the office of PA president and Fatah leader and co-founder, Mahmoud Abbas, not by the Hamas/PA government elected in January ( Al Hayat Al Jadida, October 23, 2006, translation courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch , November 1, 2006).

  • May 2006: Palestinian Authority (PA) official television broadcast on May 15 numerous programs and video clips to mourn Israel’s creation, which it called the “Naqba’ (‘Catastrophe’), used recurrent themes of denying Israel’s right to exist and called for undoing of “the catastrophe,” which is a euphemism for Israel’s destruction (PA TV, Palestinian Media Watch, May 15, 2006).

  • March 2006: Hamas/PA starts a website for children that glorifies and encourages suicide terrorism. The website, (“The Conqueror”), describes the glories of violence and death for Allah as “victory,” and presents the death of terrorists in attacks on Israeli civilians as joyous occasions. The website also features a page, ‘Stories of the Shahids,’ which honors individual terrorists. (Palestinian Media Watch, March 7, 2006).

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