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Palestinian education is another field of conflict

August 1, 2022 at 4:07 pm

Palestinian students at a school in the West Bank, 23 January 2022 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

In an unprecedented development, the Israeli occupation authorities are working to adopt dangerous policies regarding the education of Palestinian children and young people, especially in occupied Jerusalem. The intention is to undermine Palestinian character and identity by imposing the Israeli curriculum on Arab schools in the occupied city. After failing to convince schools, students and parents to accept the fait accompli, the Israeli authorities are putting pressure on them in an attempt to force them to adopt the Israeli narrative and exclude Palestinian identity. The Israeli Ministry of Education revoked the licences of six schools in East Jerusalem in this context as the occupation government seeks to interfere in internal Palestinian affairs.

We cannot accept this; it is immoral and must be condemned. Licences, we are told, will only be renewed if everything related to Palestinian identity is removed from Palestinian curriculums. This measure is a declaration of war on Palestinian Arab identity and the civilisation that has existed across the centuries of the history of the region; it seeks to obliterate all forms of meaningful Palestinian presence in the Palestinian schools in the occupied city.

This all stems from the conflict in Israel with the far right and its domination of electoral affairs in the run up to the next General Election. The extremists want to dictate the Israeli narrative by force and obliterate Palestinian identity, personality and presence. The withdrawal of operating licences from schools known for their professionalism and patriotism suggests that the institutions have actually fulfilled their mission since the occupation took control of Jerusalem; if they hadn’t why would they be getting closed down? This act by the occupation forces is a serious violation of international resolutions which affirm that the city of Jerusalem is occupied and an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territories.

READ: Hamas condemns ‘Israelising’ education in Jerusalem

These racist plans are not really new. The Israeli occupation government has made such attempts almost every year, but they cannot distort Palestinian memory and replace it with the Israeli narrative. Even the youngest child of school age will not accept it. These racist pressures will fail as they come up against the steadfastness of schools, parents and students, who remain committed to their legitimate rights.

In this regard, I really appreciate the firm and well-established positions of those schools which have already rejected all of Israel’s liquidation projects and declared that they will stick to their legitimate rights. I also appreciate the students and parents and their commitment to the Palestinian curriculum. This is hugely important, and acts as a popular referendum on the Israeli curriculum and refusal to concede Palestinian identity in any form.

Jerusalem always stands united in the face of delusional Israeli projects, and it also stands united today in the face of these repressive measures. All Palestinian residents of the occupied city stand together in the face of these Israeli attempts to target it identity and that of its residents. Such attempts include illegal settlements, land confiscation, house demolitions, arrests, persecution and attacks on Islamic and Christian sanctities. These actions coincide with the attempts to erase the growing Palestinian awareness which, if it continues, will eventually produce disastrous results and major repercussions for the entire conflict zone.

Translated from Arabi21,  31 July 2022

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.