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David Bedein

A UN Agency Encourages Children to Engage in Acts of War Struggle, Jihad and Martyrdom

in Schoolbooks Taught in UNRWA Schools in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, 2016-2017

Dr. Arnon Groiss and David Bedein, November 14, 2017


The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which serves Palestinian Arabs  who were  refugees from the 1948 war, along with their descendants,  is responsible for the education of about 25% of Palestinian Arab  students in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with 96 and 276 schools in those areas, respectively.


The books used in these schools are published and distributed by the Palestinian Authority (with some books added by the Hamas authorities in Gaza to be used in schools there, including UNRWA schools).


PA school books are characterized by three main fundamentals: de-legitimization of Israel and of the Jews' very presence in the country, demonization of Israel and the Jews, and advocacy of a violent struggle for the liberation of Palestine - including Israel's pre-1967 territories - instead of advocacy of peace and co-existence with Israel.


Within this last fundamental, school children are encouraged to engage in acts of war by way of presenting the violent struggle against Israel as an inevitable necessity, including the violent return of the refugees' descendants to a liberated pre-67 Palestine, and through the veneration of Jihad, martyrdom and Palestinian individuals who participate in this struggle (called Fidais - those who sacrifice themselves, or martyrs and prisoners-of-war when killed or imprisoned). There are even cases when school children are explicitly encouraged to become ones.


The authors of this paper wrote a report in 2015 under the above title presenting the relevant material at that time.


Since the Palestinian Authority started in 2016 a new project of schoolbook publishing, with over 70 books having so far appeared, it was necessary to conduct a new research and write a complementary report based on these new books from which the following examples have been taken. It should be noted that the publishing project of the new schoolbooks is not yet complete and many older books are still in use.


A decisive element in the PA indoctrination in this context is the official anthems of both the Palestinian Authority and its dominant body - the Fatah organization - which are taught to students of the lower grades.


The first one reads:


"Fidai, fidai, fidai, O my land, O the forefathers' land

Fidai, fidai, fidai, O my people, O the people of eternity

With my determination, my fire and the volcano of my revenge

And my blood's yearning to my land and my home

I climbed the mountains and waged the struggle

I overcame the impossible and shattered the fetters

Fidai, fidai, fidai, O my land, O the forefathers' land

Fidai, fidai, fidai, O my people, O the people of eternity

With the winds' storm and the weapon's fire

And with my people's insistence on waging the struggle

Palestine is my home and the road to my victory

Palestine is my revenge and the land of steadfastness

Fidai, fidai, fidai, O my land, O the forefathers' land

Fidai, fidai, fidai, O my people, O people of eternity

By the dint of the oath under the flag's shadow

By my land, my people and the pain's fire:

I shall live as a fidai and continue as a fidai

And I shall die as a fidai until I return

Fidai, fidai, fidai, O my land, O the forefathers' land

Fidai, fidai, fidai, O my people, O people of eternity"

(National and Social Upbringing, Grade 3, Part 1 (2016) pp. 15-16)


The Second:


"I am a lion cub; I am a flower [male and female members of the Fatah youth movement, respectively]; we gave the soul to the Revolution [Fatah's activity]

Our forefathers built houses for us in our free land [in the past]

I am a lion cub; I am a flower; we carried the Revolution's ember

To Haifa, to Jaffa, to Al-Aqsa [Mosque], to the [Dome of the] Rock"

(Our Beautiful Language, Grade 2, Part 1 (2016) p. 42)


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