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For more than 60 years the Holocaust "has aroused... controversy and fabrication," writes PA daily
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The Holocaust "for more than 60 years
has aroused... controversy and fabrication," writes PA daily

PA media reports opposition
to Holocaust education for Palestinian children


by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

Rumors are circulating in the Palestinian areas that UNRWA (The United Nations Relief and Works Agency) is planning to introduce Holocaust education into the Palestinian UNRWA-run schools. Following these rumors, two Palestinian dailies have publicized strong opposition to teaching Palestinian children about the Holocaust:

Daily columnist in official PA daily:
"The Jewish Holocaust is a story about which there is great controversy... a subject that for more than 60 years has aroused a great amount of controversy and fabrication."
"UNRWA... is absolutely prohibited from dealing with political issues."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 4, 2011]
 
Muhammad Abu Bakr, deputy head of PLO Department for Refugees:
"[If] UNRWA has introduced studies on the Holocaust, or what is known by that name... it would be a deviation by UNRWA from its commitments and the understandings between itself and the host countries, and this would be a precedent which cannot be ignored... It is unthinkable that we would lead our refugee children in opposing directions."
[Al-Quds, March 1, 2011]
 
Nabila Al-Salah, member of Committee for Defense of the Right of Return of Palestinian Refugees in Jordan:
"Study of the Holocaust in UNRWA schools is disgraceful."
[Al-Quds, March 1, 2011]
 
Zakaria al-Agha, Head of [PLO's] Department for Refugee Issues:
"[objected] to teaching the subject of the Holocaust in UNRWA's schools."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 21, 2011]
 
Holocaust denial and distortion have been part of the Palestinian discourse for many years. Clearly, a decision was made not to include it in Palestinian education, where it has never been mentioned. None of the Palestinian schoolbooks, which are produced by the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Education, mention the Holocaust or the Nazi persecution of Jews. For example, a new 12th grade Palestinian history book goes into great detail about the Second World War. It even has sections on the Nazi racist ideology and the Nuremberg trials, yet it does not mention that Jews were the target of the Nazi racism.

For PMW's report on the lack of Holocaust education in PA schoolbooks, click here.
For PMW's latest report on Palestinian schoolbooks, click here.

In 2009, when the issue of teaching the Holocaust in Palestinian UNRWA-run schools was discussed, UNRWA "strongly denied rumors" that it planned to teach the Holocaust material in its human rights curriculum:

"UNRWA Commissioner-General, Karen Abu Zayd, strongly denied rumors that UNRWA will be teaching the subject of the Holocaust as part of its curriculum. At a press conference held in Gaza today, she stated that the human rights curriculum will not be altered. Abu Zayd, who accompanied Christian Berger, the European Commission Representative, on a tour of the fishing harbor in Gaza, said that UNRWA is developing the human rights curriculum [in its institutions] and is developing study material dealing with the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights." 
[PA TV (Fatah), Sept. 1, 2009]
 
The following are the current reports about the rumors and the opposition to Holocaust education, as reported in two Palestinian dailies.
Examples from the PMW archives of Palestinian Holocaust denial and distortion follow the current news items below.

Yihya Rabah, daily column in official PA daily:
"In recent days several reports have been leaked indicating that UNRWA is planning to introduce material on the Jewish Holocaust into the mandatory curriculum for its schools in Palestine and in all the countries hosting Palestinian refugees under UNRWA supervision...
I sincerely hope that this plan will not succeed, for several reasons:
First, UNRWA at present, by virtue of its function and its authority, always says that it is absolutely prohibited from dealing with political issues, and that it zealously protects its neutrality and professionalism...
Second, everyone knows that the story of the Jewish Holocaust is a story about which there is great controversy, and in the heart of Europe - even in the heart of the Jewish communities themselves- there are people who do not accept the Israeli narrative concerning the Holocaust. Why should UNRWA push itself into a subject that for more than 60 years has aroused a great amount of controversy and fabrication, especially since hundreds of millions of people in the world suffered the tragedies of the Second World War...
The Palestinian people does not want UNRWA to succumb to any kind of pressure, nor for it to be the tool for carrying out a mistaken policy, such as this plan."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 4, 2011] 

"In an interview with Al-Quds, [Deputy head of the PLO Department for Refugees, Muhammad] Abu Bakr responded to reports that UNRWA has introduced studies on the Holocaust, or what is known by that name, in its schools. He noted that there is no exact information as to the truth of these reports, but if this happens, it would be a deviation by UNRWA from its commitments and the understandings between itself and the host countries, and this would be a precedent which cannot be ignored...
He added: 'We support any measure which will lead to enrichment of the study curriculum with information and innovations in the spheres of science, culture, human rights and history, on the basis of conformity with the prevailing reality in the learning environment of the circles within which the Palestinian refugees study - which is obviously their natural environment. It is unthinkable that we would lead our refugee children in opposing directions, whether by means of study curricula or by other means...'
Nabila Al-Salah, a member of the Committee for Defense of the Right of Return of Palestinian Refugees in Jordan, said that study of the Holocaust in UNRWA schools is disgraceful, and opposed to UNRWA's educational goals. She noted that study of the Holocaust serves the Zionist narrative at the expense of the refugee issue and the issue of the Palestinian people."
[Al-Quds, March 1, 2011]
 
"Head of [PLO's] Department for Refugee Issues, Zakaria al-Agha... emphasized his objection to teaching the subject of the Holocaust in UNRWA's schools."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 21, 2011] 

The following are examples of Palestinian Holocaust denial, distortion and opposition to educating youth about the Holocaust from the PMW archives:

Headline: "Gaza: Activists accuse UNRWA of attempting to teach about Jewish Holocaust in curriculum for human rights"
"Director of the Education Department of the Aid Agency [UNRWA], Mahmoud Al-Hamdiat, denied that there was any intention on the part of the agency to teach material on the subject of the Holocaust...
Activists protecting the rights of Palestinian refugees accused UNRWA of an attempt to teach about the Jewish Holocaust in the human rights curriculum. The activists, representing the Hamas people's committees of the various districts of the Gaza Strip, expressed their anger in the face of this development. They demanded the removal of this material from the 8th grade human rights curriculum.
Coordinator of the people's committees in the Gaza Strip, Hussam Ahmad, told Al-Ayyam that the scientific material included in the curriculum was formulated in a manner favorable towards the Jews... Ahmad warned of a trend towards creating a generation that shows sympathy towards the Jews and towards [concerning] the Holocaust. He stated that the refugees' committees would continue to carry out various activities to deter the agency from its decision.
It should be noted that the peoples' committees of the refugees in the Gaza Strip sent a memorandum to [director of UNRWA operations, John] Ging, demanding the deletion of the subject of the Jewish Holocaust from the human rights study material for 8th grade."
[Al-Ayyam, Aug. 31, 2009]
 
Abd Al-Rahman Abbad, Secretary General of the [Palestinian] Organization of Clerics and Disseminators of Islam:
"[The Israeli separation fence is a symptom of] the Jewish mindset, a mindset controlled by the [idea of the] ghetto. The ghetto means living in an isolated neighborhood only for Jews. That's why they cannot live with other groups because they believe that their culture and religion obligate them to have contacts only among themselves, based on an attitude of superiority towards others. That's why they did not live, for example, in the West, in separate neighborhoods, but lived in what is called 'a ghetto.' The ghetto was not forced upon them, as is thought, rather, they were the ones who forced it upon themselves. This [separation] fence is not just one fence, there are many fences. Look at the [Israeli] city Lod, for example, or Ramle. There is no mixing between different population groups who are all Israeli citizens. There is separation. The reason for this is the Israeli mentality, the ghetto mentality, the mentality of rejection of 'the other,' and refusal to coexist with him...
[Jews] exaggerate every action that other [nations] do against any Jew in the world. In this context is the Holocaust issue, which the whole world still [deals with]. There is a place [in Israel] called 'Memorial for Holocaust and Heroism,' which tells of the killing of 6 million Jews, but it is known that in all of Europe there weren't 6 million Jews."
[PA TV (Fatah), July 17, 2009]
 
[Note: The Organization of Clerics and Disseminators of Islam is headed by Ikrima Sabri, former Palestinian Authority Mufti of Jerusalem under Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas.]
Click here to view

"Various groups in Israel expressed their disappointment at the speech delivered yesterday by Pope Benedict XVI at the Yad Vashem Institute for the commemoration of the so-called memory of those who died in the Nazi Holocaust."
[PA TV (Fatah), May 12, 2009] 

Najat Abu-Bakr, Fatah member of PA Parliament:
"This enemy [Israel] constantly commits new holocausts, everywhere and at all times."
[PA TV (Fatah), March 3, 2008] 
Click here to view

Narrator: "'The disabled and handicapped are a heavy burden on the state,' said the terrorist leader, Ben Gurion [Israel's first PM]. The Satanic Jews thought up an evil plot [the Holocaust] to be rid of the burden of the disabled and handicapped, in twisted criminal ways. While they accuse the Nazis or others so that the Jews would seem persecuted, and try to benefit from international sympathy, they were the first to invent the methods of evil and oppression."
Amin Dabur, head of the Palestinian "Center for Strategic Research":
"About the Israeli Holocaust - the whole thing was a joke, and part of the perfect show that Ben Gurion put on, focusing on [bringing] strong and energetic youth [to Israel], while the rest - the disabled, the handicapped, and people with special needs - they were sent [to die]... if it can be proven historically. They were sent [to die] so there would be a Holocaust, so Israel could 'play' it for world sympathy."
Narrator: "The alleged numbers of Jews [killed in the Holocaust] were merely for propaganda."
[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), April 18, 2008] 
Click here to view

Ibrahim Mudayris, Official, PA Ministry of Religious Trusts and Religious Affairs:
"In the Nazi war, possibly some [Jews] were killed, possibly some were burned, but they're exaggerating [the Holocaust] in order to win over world media, and world sympathy."
[PA TV (Fatah), May 13, 2005] 
Click here to view

To see more examples of Palestinian Holocaust denial and distortion from the PMW archives, click on the following links:

To see more examples of Palestinian Holocaust denial, click here.
To see examples of the Palestinian libel: Jews perpetrated holocausts, click here.
To see examples of Palestinian admiration for Hitler, click here.