Prospects for peace

April 27, 2011 at 6:30 am 1 comment

Prospects for peace

Impossible unless encouraged

in all schools everywhere


Author of “How to Avoid Armageddon”

To order the book click:   type: how to avoid Armageddon

It’s all futile – this constant talk about peace between Israel and the Palestinians. For a meaningful dialoque there must be a genuine willingness for peaceful coexistence by all parties involved. For pragmatic reasons, Israel is very eager to reach such a situation. Tiny by international standards, surrounded by growing hostility and constantly threatened by attack and even obliteration, most Israelis are willing to pay a heavy price in land in order to at long last achieve a peace agreement. The Palestinians, putative partners in the quest for peace seem to be far less interested about reaching a genuine agreement. This seems evident by the hard, uncompromising stand of their political and religious leaders, as well as the ongoing armed attacks against Jewish civilians. An additional indication is found in school books currently used in schools under the Palestine Authority’s administration.

IMPACT-SE has been reviewing school books from Israel, the Arab world and Iran since 1998. A recent study of 118 school books currently used in Palestinian schools, reveals a general denial of the very existence of Israel – and wherever Israel is mentioned, it is usually in an extremely negative light. In geography textbooks, Israel usually doesn’t appear in maps of the Middle East. Instead “Palestine” is shown to encompass Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. While Jaffa, a once predominantly Arab town is shown on maps of the region, Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities, such as Ramat Gan, Netanya and Nahariyah, are not shown. Neither are any of the kibbutzim and moshavim.

A fifth-grade history textbook, the History of Ancient Civilization, published in 2009, teaches that the Levant consists of the states of Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Israel is not mentioned.

Another textbook with a map of Palestine, asks students to color in the Negev Desert (which actually constitutes almost 50% of Israel. To clinch the disappearance of Israel in young Arab minds, they are given the following mathematical word problem: “An independent Palestinian state was declared in 1988. How many years have passed since the declaration of independence?” While it might be an admirable exercise in arithmetic, it certainly poses a challenge in logic, given their loudly proclaimed demands for independence. Although, it confirms the idea that in the Middle East, the meaning of words can be made to match any wish.

In a similar vein, another textbook shows a map of the Old City of Jerusalem sans the Jewish Quarter. Praise to Allah for the technological wonders of Photoshop. Another example of Photoshop usage is a British Mandate postage stamp in which the Hebrew wording “Palestine: The Land of Israel” is deftly blacked out.

Displaying highly imaginative scholarship, the functionaries who prepare the history lessons for malleable young Arab minds, claim that Jews came from Europe to steal Palestine after the British conquered it in 1917. Happily for the pupils, at least their history lessons are rendered highly simplistic and unencumbered by too many pesky facts.

Any national visionary will tell you that a good education system should include lessons in ideology. The Palestinian school books fill this function with alacrity, offering many references to martyrdom, death, jihad and refugees returning to cities and towns in Israel. Jews are seldom depicted as good people.

While respect for the environment and sustainable energy resources are taught to Palestinian pupils, IMPACT-SE found that textbooks blame Israel for all the local environmental problems. Moreover, no mention is made about the many programs that exist between Israelis and Palestinians in environmental and other issues of mutual concern.

According to the report, while there are some positive developments in the Palestinian educational system, such as emphases on democratic values and respect for women, elders and authority – no Israeli is depicted as a friend or partner. Nevertheless, there have been modifications over the years, toning down the language or deleting overly offensive passages in new editions of some of the textbooks. This is probably due to foreign pressure. It is to be remembered that a large part of the education budget comes from foreign donors – Unesco and many European countries as well as the USA. While these modifications are encouraging, they still do little to give Arab pupils a sense that Jews and Israel have any legitimacy in the Middle East.

Dr. Yohanan Manor, IMPACT-SE’s chairman, noted that one of the Palestine Administration’s recent history textbooks printed two maps that did reference Israel, although the name of Israel was in tiny print. Some Palestinian educators have admitted that the Arabs rejected the 1947 UN partition resolution, which is also an important development, he said.

IMPACT-SE has published a dozen reports on school books in the Middle East, which have been studied by members of the US Congress, the EU Parliament and the Israeli Knesset, that have led to demands for appropriate changes in the curricula and textbooks, and to condition funding accordingly. The CEO is educational counselor and poet Dr. Shelley Elkayam.

IMPACT-SE has recently started a review of Israeli school books used in school year 2009-2010. It has discovered that the results of the previous report are even more positive. Acknowledgement of the human rights of others and overcoming suspicion, hatred and prejudices, are included in the curriculum, as are respect for Islam and Arabs. Despite the deterioration of Israeli-Arab relations after the second Intifada and the deep disenchantment with the peace process, peace is still presented as positive and worthwhile for all sides. IMPACT-SE website:

On a personal note, as an English tutor, I have found some of the text books used by my pupils confirm these findings about respect for Arabs.

To order my book “How to avoid Armageddon” click:  type: how to avoid Armageddon


Entry filed under: Blogroll, dangeous lies and halftruths, How to avoid Armageddon, In order to survive, Solutions for Palestine, Things not mentioned in the press. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .


1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. dan stratton  |  April 27, 2011 at 9:34 pm


    Have you ever thought about self defense outside of the martial arts? What would that look like? How would you think? What would you say? How would you stay safe while staying close enough to say anything?

    One answer to this question can be found at: This free blog describes the lessons and comments between a certified peace teacher and his student. The lessons are simple and easy to follow or adapt to your own methods.

    Please accept this invitation to visit, take a look and pass it on as a free option for self defense.
    Thank you,
    Dan Stratton


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