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February 27, 2014 Special Dispatch No. 5660

Hamas Criticizes UNRWA Curricula In Gaza For Teaching Human Rights, Not Armed Resistance

February 27, 2014
Palestine | Special Dispatch No. 5660

On February 12, 2014, Al-Aqsa TV aired a report describing the opposition within the Hamas government to school curricula introduced by UNRWA into their schools in the Gaza Strip. The textbooks focus only on peaceful resistance, ignoring all other forms of resistance, said Education Minister Ziyad Thabet.

Following are excerpts:

Click here to view this clip on MEMRI TV


Anchor: "The Education Ministry declared that it was considering taking measures after UNWRA decided to introduce unauthorized curricula into its schools. These curricula are not in keeping with Palestinian culture, and are aimed at changing the way of thinking of Palestinian students, bringing them to accept the Zionist enemy, and teaching them that peaceful, not armed, resistance is the solution to the conflict.

"According to the ministry’s communiqué, UNRWA wants to eradicate the culture of Palestinian students in their homeland."

Reporter: "In occupied Palestine, students learn about human rights, but not about Palestinian rights. This is what UNRWA is doing in Gaza, by introducing curricula dealing with human rights in grades 7-9. These contain conceptual errors, as well as factual errors regarding the history of the Palestinian cause."

Official: "In the tenth lesson of the third unit, they want to teach our children to burn their military uniforms."Everyone has the right of freedom of speech, of thought, of conscience, and of religion – including the right to change his religion." "When they reach the age of marriage, men and women have the right to marry and raise a family with whoever they want, regardless of gender or religion."

"In clause 14 on page 63, it says that anybody has the right to emigrate or seek refuge in another country, in order to flee persecution. In other words, they want to legitimize voluntary emigration, to abolish the rights of the refugees, and to ignore the Right of Return."

Reporter: "In 2000, UNRWA introduced human rights curricula into its schools, along with other enrichment material, such as Arabic, Islamic culture, and social studies. This was by consent of the Ministry of Education and Culture.

"The basic principle that UNRWA follows in education is to teach the curricula of the host country – a principle that it does not adhere to in Gaza."

Hamas Education Minister Ziyad Thabet: "Because of the circumstances in Gaza, such as the siege, the Palestinian government, through the Ministry of Education and Culture, has demonstrated a lot of flexibility toward UNRWA’s human rights curricula. Now we have decided to study the content of these textbooks, and to give feedback to UNRWA. Indeed, we took the textbooks, and committees were established, including a joint committee of UNRWA and the Education Ministry.

"The committee raised several reservations with regard to these textbooks. These reservations were sent to UNRWA, but it accepted only a few of them."

Reporter: "The human rights curricula contain many errors, which may have an impact on the national consciousness of future generations, when it comes to issues such as the occupation, resistance, and the rights of the Palestinian refugees who were driven out of their homes."

Ziyad Thabet: "One of the greatest dangers underlying these books is that they focus on only one aspect of resistance – peaceful resistance. They ignore all other forms of resistance, which have even been recognized by international charters. The textbooks constantly refer to peaceful resistance as the best and the only means to restore [Palestinian] rights. In other words, they are fighting against military resistance, which has been recognized by international charters.

"They are planting in the minds of the students the notion that there is no alternative to peaceful resistance against the occupiers."

[...]

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