Israel accused of waging war on Palestinian education in East Jerusalem

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RAMALLAH: Palestinians have accused Israeli authorities of waging war on Palestinian schools and programs in East Jerusalem ahead of the start of the new school year on September 1.

The Israeli authorities are trying to impose the Israeli curriculum on six Palestinian schools.

The students’ parents have rejected this decision as they prefer the Palestinian curriculum to be taught to their children.

They say Israeli authorities’ “attacks” on Jerusalem schools have escalated through a series of decisions, procedures and threats aimed at imposing Israeli educational policy on Palestinian students, who otherwise face sanctions, including the closure of schools. these schools and preventing students from benefiting from educational services. .

Israel’s Ministry of Education canceled the permanent license of six schools in Jerusalem; five of them belong to Al-Eman Schools and one to Abrahamic College, converting them to one-year temporary permits in a bid to pressure them to drop teaching the Palestinian curriculum and replace it with the Israeli program.

The cancellation of the licenses does not specify whether the decision means the withdrawal of the licenses and the permanent closure of the schools or the reduction of funding and allocations from the ministry only.

The ministry recently sent a letter to several schools in the city titled “Textbooks Containing Incendiary Content in East Jerusalem Schools.” He threatened to revoke his license if “an educational institution is discovered teaching textbooks containing inflammatory material.”

In recent years, the Israeli authorities have tried to impose conditions on education in schools in East Jerusalem. The most important of these conditions was the teaching of the “distorted Palestinian curriculum in its affiliated schools”, which appears to be identical to the Palestinian curriculum. However, many lessons, pages and symbols have been removed from it. Yet schools and parents of students have been able to resist this.

The parents of the students in the targeted schools distributed the undistorted Palestinian curriculum to the students on Saturday, confirming the student’s right to study it.

About 50,000 students study in schools affiliated with the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem and the Israeli Ministry of Education; 13,000 of them study the Israeli curriculum while 37,000 study the distorted Palestinian curriculum.

Additionally, 42,000 private school students in Jerusalem study the Palestinian curriculum as they are targeted and taxed on the distorted Palestinian curriculum.

The parents’ committee of Abrahamic College said that the distortions made by the Israeli authorities on this Palestinian program represent clear violations of the right of students and their families to choose their program, because this decision is incompatible with the agreements of Oslo signed between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. .

For years, Israel has protested Palestinian curricula that are taught in schools in East Jerusalem or public and private schools in the West Bank, in addition to UNRWA schools, accusing it of inciting content against the Jewish state. At the same time, Israel filed a complaint against the Palestinian Authority with the EU, which stopped disbursing millions of US dollars in financial aid to the authority, demanding that it remove “incentive content”. The AP completely denies the Israeli allegations.

The students’ parents are concerned about Israeli measures and threats against Jerusalem schools, seeing them as a prelude to imposing the teaching of the entire Israeli curriculum in these schools in the future.

The parents said that by taking these measures, Israel wanted to harm Palestinian identity and separate people from their history and ideology.

The PA’s Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs demanded that students, parents and school administrators in Jerusalem adhere to the original Palestinian curriculum and reject the Israeli one and its distorted version.

The ministry said, “The overall interaction between students and parents at Abrahamic College School sends a clear message to the occupation, rejecting the Israeli curriculum and the distorted curriculum by which the occupation seeks to erasing Palestinian identity.

The Islamic-Christian Support Committee for Jerusalem and the Holy Places said joining the Palestinian program sends a clear message to the occupation that the people of Jerusalem adhere to their national identity and are determined to thwart any Judaization plans by education in their city.

Ibrahim Melhem, the Palestinian government spokesman, told Arab News that Israel was seeking to control schools in East Jerusalem through extortion.

“This is a challenge, and we will not accept blackmail. The Palestinian Authority will pay money to these schools to support and strengthen their firmness and enable them to face Israeli extortion,” he said. he declared.

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