The Horrors of the Palestinian Education System
I firmly believe that peace is not made between governments. It is made between people. Today any fanatic can lead the land into a downward spiral of violence. This is why having people-to-people contact is so important and why the Palestinian (and Arab) anti-normalization policies are so disheartening. Last year I was with a group that went to the Palestinian Foreign Ministry to hear a talk from a Palestinian leader. Before even introducing herself she asked for the Israel tour guide present to get up and leave. How can one talk about living together peacefully when they refuse to even meet with Israelis? How can we talk about sharing a land when they refuse to even share a space - even when they are the only ones talking?
Unfortunately, this is part of a much bigger problem. Not preparing people for peace. One needs to change the narrative - and notably the education system - to help pave the way for any kind of compromise. With half of the Palestinian population under the age of 20, a clear majority of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza today have been educated in Palestinian
Authority and Hamas-run educational systems over the last 25 years. And just what have they been learning? The results aren't pretty...
For year we have known about the problems - schools and sports teams/leagues named after "martyrs" (i.e. terrorists), refusing to recognize Israel's existence or any Jewish connection to the land, etc. We know about the horrific TV programs for children and "summer camp" experiences which mirror terrorist training camps. But now a comprehensive report has come out...
How is peace supposed to be cultivated in this way? Instead of being trained to look at the other and realize that they too have suffered, that they have rights, that they are human, that they have a connection to the land, etc., this is promoting the exact opposite. Unfortunately, every year we are getting further and further away from any kind of peaceful rapprochement. Until we start educating for peace, we are never going to stand a chance at seeing it (and yes Israel can and should be doing a better job as well at this as well, though it is nowhere in the same league as what we are seeing coming from the Palestinians).
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