Norway is withholding more than half of the money it planned to give the Palestinian Authority for education spending this year due to concerns about incitement in the curriculum. Norway is a major donor to the PA and the announcement by foreign minister Ine Eriksen Søreide follows a cross-party vote in the country’s parliament last December to halt spending. The European Parliament last month passed a resolution condemning the PA for continuing to include hate speech and violent material in school textbooks. The PA curriculum, introduced in 2017, glorifies terrorists and advocates martyrdom and jihad. The material is targeted at all age groups and is used in subjects across the curriculum.
Labour Friends of Israel has campaigned on this issue since 2017, repeatedly raising it in parliament and with ministers, and staging debates. Through the payment of the salaries of PA Ministry of Education civil servants and teachers involved in implementing it, UK ministers have admitted that British aid is directly helping to support the delivery of the curriculum. Despite evidence gathered and presented to it by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), UK ministers say they are awaiting the findings of an independent review by the EU. The review was due last September but has been repeatedly delayed. Norway says the disbursement of the withheld funds will “depend on the will and ability of [the PA] to improve the syllabus”. The EU resolution said it was concerned that “problematic material in Palestinian school textbooks has still not been removed and is concerned about the continued failure to act effectively against hate speech and violence in school textbooks”.
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