Palestinian Authority Still Pushing Anti-Semitism in Textbooks, Israeli Minister Says

By Julie Stahl | July 7, 2008 | 8:31 PM EDT

Jerusalem ( - In his meeting Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, President Bush will hear that the Palestinian Authority is still promoting anti-Semitic canards in its textbooks.

Natan Sharansky, Israel's minister for Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs, sent Sharon an urgent message on Sunday, telling him about a new PA high school textbook that says the Jewish people are trying to dominate the world.

Sharon is at Bush's Crawford, Texas ranch on Monday for discussions about the road map peace process. President Bush wants to see more progress from both sides.

Sharansky said President Bush asked him about the tone of PA textbooks when he and Sharansky met recently in Washington.

"Instead of moving towards peace, the PA under Abu Mazen is continuing the old anti-Israel and anti-Semitic line that characterized Yasser Arafat's regime," Sharansky wrote to Sharon in reference to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Israel has long complained that the terrorist war of the last four-and-a-half years had popular support because Palestinian youth have been filled with hatred and incitement against Israel and the Jewish people for years -- partly because of what they've learned in school.

Sharon has demanded that Palestinians put an end to incitement before Israel will engage in any diplomatic process with the PA.

There has been a decrease in incitement in the Palestinian media, experts say, but according to the Center for the Monitoring of the Impact of Peace (CMIP), there is still no recognition of Israel in the 160 Palestinian textbooks it has reviewed.

In the latest revelation, the CMIP said that a newly published textbook for 10th graders promotes fiction as fact.

The "Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a fabricated booklet from the early twentieth century, describes an alleged plot by Jewish leaders to take over the world. Historians have debunked it as a political forgery written by Russian Czar Nicholas II's secret police in an attempt to make the Jewish people a scapegoat for the country's problems.

According to the Palestinian textbook, however, the Protocols were among the resolutions adopted by the first Zionist Congress, which convened in Basel, Switzerland, in 1897, with the aim of promoting the establishment of a Jewish homeland.

"There is a group of confidential resolutions adopted by the Congress and known by the name 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,' the goal of which was world domination. They were brought to light by Sergey Nilos and translated into Arabic by Muhammad Khalifah Al-Tunisi," CMIP quoted the textbook as saying.

"When I met President Bush in Washington recently, he expressed particular interest in the tone of Palestinian education under the 'new' PA regime," Sharansky wrote to Sharon.

"I think it critical that you bring to his attention this new textbook, which does not augur well for Middle East peacemaking," he said, according to a statement from his office.

According to local media reports, Sharon is expected to tell Bush that Abbas is not doing anything to dismantle the terrorist network and is in danger of seeing his government collapse, the daily Ha'aretz reported on Monday.

Palestinian terrorists fired at least 74 mortar shells at the Gush Katif over the weekend, scoring a direct hit on one home.

The mortar barrage reportedly was retaliation for the killing of three Palestinian youths, whom Israel said it believed were involved in weapons smuggling along the Israeli-Egyptian border.

But one military source pointed to the firing of a Kassam rocket on the Israeli city of Sderot last week before the three Palestinians were killed, saying the Palestinians would use "any excuse" to attack Israel.

Sharon called the firing of mortars at Gush Katif a "flagrant violation" of the agreement reached between Israel and the Palestinians at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in February.

Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz telephoned Abbas on Sunday, demanding that he do more to stop the mortar fire. Mofaz said Israel would not tolerate such an escalation.

But on Monday, Mofaz said it was Israeli policy to give Abbas a chance to stop the mortar fire.

Analysts say Monday's Sharon-Bush meeting is aimed at encouraging Sharon prior to the implementation of his disengagement plan.

The government is set to begin dismantling 21 Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip and four in the northern West Bank in July as part of a plan to minimize friction between Israelis and Palestinians.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Monday's talks would be "an opportunity to talk about how Israel is moving forward on the disengagement plan."

There has been some friction between Israel and the U.S. in recent weeks over a decade-old plan to build 3,500 new dwellings in the Jerusalem-area settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim. The U.S.-backed road map calls for a settlement freeze, and the Bush administration opposes an expansion of Ma'aleh Adumim.

But one American diplomat said an invitation to the Bush ranch was "considered a sign of personal favor" and he would be surprised if Bush reprimanded Sharon.

See Earlier Story:
West Bank City at Center of Development Dilemma (24 March 2005)

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