by Dr. Ephraim Herrera
Although the Oslo Accords obligate the Palestinians to cease teaching hatred, Israel is not taking enough practical steps to put an end to this destructive phenomenon, which has also spread to some Arab schools inside the Green Line.
For the third consecutive year, a Hamas-affiliated ticket won the student council elections at Birzeit University in the West Bank. We already know that the poor and uneducated are not the only ones who support jihadi ideology. As early as 2004, research by Professor Shaul Kimhi showed that about one-third of the suicide bombers who have targeted Israelis were students or graduates of universities in the Palestinian Authority.
The education systems in the PA, Gaza Strip and Muslim states in the region breed support for Islamist ideologies. In Hamas preschools, the children are taught to stab Jews for the purpose of purifying the world and liberating Islamic lands. As early as the second grade, children in PA schools learn that their duty is to hate Jews and use violence against them. They learn that the term "jihad" has only one meaning, which is war according to Allah.
Although the Oslo Accords obligate the Palestinians to cease teaching hatred, Israel is not taking enough practical steps to put an end to this destructive phenomenon, which has also spread to some Arab schools inside the Green Line. Israel must understand what the leaders of some Muslim states have come to realize in recent years. The first such leader was Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. As early as 2013, el-Sissi began instituting deep educational reforms, particularly pertaining to the textbooks used in schools. For instance, references to the bounty and slaves won in the Islamic wars have been erased. El-Sissi also disqualified all textbooks encouraging violence (on the basis of Islamic texts). He banned the sale of books espousing Muslim Brotherhood ideology, including those written by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
Two weeks ago we saw Moroccan King Mohammed VI follow in el-Sissi's footsteps, as he ordered the "cleaning" of some 400,000 textbooks. This cleaning includes the banning of texts promoting gender-based discrimination. Ahead of the 2017 school year, all Islamic textbooks in the country will be modified to compliment Morocco's "moderate and tolerant Islam," both in the country's public and quickly growing private school systems.
The media also does its part to fan the flames of hatred. It took years to shut down two Palestinian radio stations in Hebron that were broadcasting incitement. Al Jazeera, on the other hand, which is extremely popular and anti-Israel, and even has offices in Israel, continues to air its tendentious reports. It is not for nothing that senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar thanked Al Jazeera after Operation Cast Lead. In this respect, too, we should learn something from the Egyptian president, who as early as 2011 closed Al Jazeera's offices in his country and disrupted the station's broadcast transmissions. Last week, the Iraqi government shut down Al Jazeera's offices in Baghdad.
As long as we fail to stem the flow of hatred and violence, we will continue to suffer the consequences.
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