To spend a week in Israel is to begin to understand that this country is generations away from peace with Palestinians… What you see and hear is disturbing enough. Even more destructive to peace is that which is hidden from you... The real, long-term harm is happening quietly away from the prying eyes … no one imagines Israel is free from fault. But its Government is not creating civil institutions that preach hatred and violence.
By contrast, an entire generation of Palestinian children is being raised on a full diet of hate education, on jihad and anti-Semitism. This is the long-term hurdle to peace in this generation, and the next. Look at the website of Palestinian Media Watch (www.palwatch.org
) where analysts have long tracked what the Palestinian leadership under Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas is doing. Not what is said to Westerners in English or what they tell Israelis in Hebrew.
Look at what Palestinians are teaching their children in Arabic. Look at the geography books for Palestinian children that encourage children to see no Israel, books that feature maps of Israel in the colours of the Palestinian flag, and described as Palestine. Learn about the May 2008 soccer championships for young boys in honour of terrorists such as Samir Kuntar and Muhammad al-Mabhuh. Or the July 2008 summer camp held for young girls named in honour of female suicide bomber Dalal al-Mughrabi, who hijacked a holiday bus in 1978, murdering 12 children and 25 adults.
Listen to Fatah-funded children's television where children are taught to continue the way of the shahids (the suicide bombers) and quizzed about Mughrabi. She is presented as "the beloved bride, child of Jaffa, jasmine flower." Or quizzes where children routinely identify Israeli landmarks, towns and ports such as Haifa, Ashdod and Eilat as Palestinian. Where children are taught that "Palestine" covers 27,000 sqkm; in fact Gaza and the West Bank total 6,200 sqm. When the next generation of leaders is taught from childhood that Israel does not exist, how is future negotiation possible?
The irony is that this hate education is funded by the West, by countries that pour money into the PA who use it to glorify terrorism and to twist young minds against Israel, and peace. Countries such as Australia.
Last year in Ramallah, headquarters of Fatah, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith lauded one of the first acts of the new Labor Government as being a pledge of $45 million to the Palestinian people and $7.5 m going directly to the PA. Does the minister know how the PA is using Western money?
Hillary Clinton knows about the direct flow of Western money into Fatah's sewer of hate education.
Last year she launched PMW's latest report and pointed out the consequences of the toxic indoctrination of children: "We cannot build a peaceful, stable, safe future on such a hate-filled violent and radical foundation."
… Yet consider this. According to the PMW, more than half of the Palestinian educators [voted] in the teachers' union [election] for the Hamas [list]. What hope the children? What hope is there emerging from the next generation a group of moderate Palestinian leaders capable of carving out peace for their people?
These are questions not simply for the present leadership of the Palestinian people. But also for the leaders of countries such as Australia, who talk in rhetorical flourishes about a renewed peace initiative, and yet must surely know that this money is used for propaganda that kills any chance of peace.
They call this a period of calm. Surely they mean the calm before the storm unless the hate education of the next generation of Palestinians ends.
Janet Albrechtsen travelled to Israel as the guest of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.