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Palestinian students launch strike to protest Israeli curriculum in classrooms

September 20, 2022 at 3:52 pm

Gazans gather outside the United Nations (UN) Palestinian Refugee Agency (UNRWA) during a protest demanding reconstruction of their houses demolished by airstrikes in Gaza City, Gaza on September 19, 2022 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian students in occupied East Jerusalem launched a full-day strike from school yesterday to protest the forceful imposition of the Israeli curriculum in their schools by the Israeli occupation’s Ministry of Education.

The strike was called for by the Parents’ Committee Union in a joint press release on Sunday and supported by all Palestinian factions and civil society organisations who are calling on international institutions to step in and protect Palestinian education.

Ziad Al-Shamali, 56, head of the Parents’ Committee Union, warned Al Jazeera that if Israel’s efforts succeed, it “will have control over the education of 90 per cent of our students in Jerusalem.”

Some 115,000 students from kindergarten to grade 12 attend more than 280 Palestinian schools in Jerusalem, according to Al-Shamali.

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Moreover, members of the parent’s committee organised several protests in various neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem, during which they held up signs and chanted slogans including “no to the distorted curriculum”.

The strike and protests come after the Israeli Ministry of Education ordered the removal of what it claims to be false content from Palestinian textbooks earlier this month, such as Israel’s prevention of medical treatment from Palestinians and it being responsible for the water crisis in the occupied territories.

According to Al Jazeera, the water crisis suffered by Palestinians was mentioned in a fifth grade textbook called “Science and Life” which the ministry ordered to be removed and altered.

Ahmed Safadi, the media spokesman for the Palestinian Teacher’s Union in Jerusalem noted how the Ministry of Education also removed important references to Palestine itself.

“What is worrying the parents is that they are being cornered between distorted Palestinian curriculums and Israeli curriculums,” said Al-Shamali.

“There is an Israelisation of Palestinian education going on,” he continued, which

existed for the past 10-12 years but has intensified over the last three.

“Now, they are adding their own content like ‘Yossi is Mohammad’s neighbour’, about settlements, about coexistence,” added Al-Shamali. “They have played with textbooks for Arabic, religion, history and any national references.”

READ: Protests against imposing Israeli curriculum at Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem