The Guardian’s Phoebe Greenwood Tweets: “What Palestinian incitement?”

We already responded to a Dec. 11th straight news story by Phoebe Greenwood, the Guardian’s new Israel correspondent, which implicitly questioned the validity of evidence consistently offered by Palestinian Media Watch of incitement in Palestinian schools.

However, her report was not a polemic, and thus, by merely citing Palestinians who questioned PMW’s work, protected her from charges that she similarly possessed such doubts.

The wonderful thing about Twitter, however, is that it often provides a glimpse into the political views of correspondents who otherwise hide their ideological orientation behind rhetorical obfuscation.

As such, a recent Tweet confirms that Greenwood indeed doubts whether such incitement permeates Palestinian schools and textbooks.

Okay, Ms. Greenwood, I’ll take that challenge.

Per Palestinian Media Watch:

In 2006, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Higher Education introduced new 12th grade schoolbooks written by Palestinian educators who were appointed by the Fatah leadership. PMW reviewed these books and found that they make no attempt to educate for peace or coexistence with Israel. Instead Israel’s right to exist is adamantly denied and the Palestinian war against Israel is presented as an eternal religious battle for Islam.

Here are some highlights from their extensive report which Greenwood is free to read on PMW’s website:

The PA schoolbooks teach that fighting Israel is not merely a territorial, nationalistic conflict, but a religious battle for Islam. The educators define the conflict with Israel as “Ribat”– a concept from Islamic tradition signifying Muslims defending the border areas of Islam. Moreover, the youth are taught that their specific fight against Israel – Ribat for “Palestine” – is “one of the greatest of the Ribat, and they [Palestinians] are worthy of a great reward from Allah.” Palestinian use of violence against Israel is called “muqawama – resistance” [Arabic Language, Analysis, Literature and Commentary, grade 12, p. 105] 

A visual world without Israel: on all maps “Palestine” exists, Israel does notBelow is a map which includes all the names of the states except for Israel, which is marked “Palestine.” [History of the Arabs and the World in the 20th Century, grade 12, p. 153]

Rejection of Israel’s right to exist: Israel’s founding was “a catastrophe that is unprecedented in history”. While “Palestine” is described as existing in a world without Israel, Israel’s founding is taught and vilified as “a catastrophe that is unprecedented in history. The Zionist gangs stole Palestine and expelled its people from their cities, their villages, their lands and their houses, and established the State of Israel.” [Arabic Language, Analysis, Literature and Criticism, grade 12, p. 104] Israel is described as foreign, colonialist, and imperialist. The youth are taught that Israel’s creation was immoral and Israel unequivocally has no right to exist.

Holocaust Denial: World War II without a HolocaustThe textbook History of the Arabs and the World in the 20th Century teaches the military and the political events of World War II in significant detail, including sections on Nazi racist ideology, yet neither persecution of Jews nor the Holocaust is mentioned. It is apparent that the PA educators made an active decision to exclude the Holocaust from history.  The new book writes selectively about the issues of the Holocaust, citing Nazi racist ideology and restrictions the Nazis placed on “inferior” non-Aryan nations, yet it makes no reference to the Holocaust or to Jews.

Terminology of Disdain and Demonization in schoolbooksThe terminology the educators have chosen for the schoolbooks demonizes Israel and reinforces the rejection of Israel as a neighbor with a right to exist. The following terms are used to refer to Israel, its founders and its ideology:

“The Zionist gangs stole Palestine and expelled the inhabitants…”

[Arabic Language, Analysis, Literature and Criticism, grade 12, p. 104]

“The occupation of its country by the Zionist Enemy…”

[Arabic Language, Analysis, Literature and Criticism, grade 12, p. 122]

“…the Zionist entity occupied the rest of Palestine, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip…”

[Arabic Language, Analysis, Literature and Criticism, grade 12, p. 104]

Jihad, and Shahada – Martyrdom for AllahThe new PA schoolbooks teach and idealize Jihad – war for Islam — and Shahada – death for Allah – as basic Islamic principles to which to aspire. Jihad and Shahada are at times taught as general Islamic ideals, and at times focused against Israel. This promotion is not limited to the formal Islamic education books, but is found in many different schoolbooks. Often the original Islamic sources from the Quran or Hadith are used as the tool of promotion.

Glorification of JihadGrammar is taught by analyzing a Quran verse whose message is that believers who fight are said to be superior to those believers who do not fight. Grammar Exercises:  “Believers who sit at home, other than those who are disabled, are not equal with those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives.” [Note: Passage from Quran, Sura of Al-Nissa, verse 95] [Arabic Language and the Science of Language, grade 12, p. 97].  A grammar book instructs the children to read carefully about the importance of Jihad.  I read attentively the underlined in the following:…[Muhammad] God bless him and grant him salvation, said: “First and foremost, Islam [resignation to the will of Allah] its pillar, prayer and its peak is Jihad.” [Arabic Language and the Science of Language, grade 12, p. 60]  Source: Reading and Texts Part II, Grade 8, Jan. 1, 2010.  Schoolbook: “Your enemies seek life while you seek death”

So, if Ms. Greenwood wishes to dispute PMW’s translations she can do so.

But, more likely, as with so many anti-Zionist activists (journavists) who happen to find gainful employment writing for the Guardian, not even the most irrefutable evidence regarding endemic antisemitism and incitement within Palestinian society could penetrate Greenwood’s rigid ideology. 

As it’s impossible to really understand the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict without understanding such Palestinian racism against Jews, such antisemitic sins of omission by the Guardian’s Israel correspondents will continue to ensure that the paper’s vast audience will remain thoroughly ignorant of the dynamics which really represent the root cause of the conflict. 

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