Parents, students of East Jerusalem schools protest steps to cancel the Palestinian curriculum, impose Israeli

Parents and students of the Ibrahimia School in occupied East Jerusalem today held a protest outside their school against steps by the Israeli occupation authorities to prevent the school from using the Palestinian textbooks and curriculum and impose instead altered and distorted Israeli-issued textbooks.

Members of the Parents Committee said the Israeli Ministry of Education and the West Jerusalem Municipality have forced many schools in occupied East Jerusalem to teach the Israeli curriculum or use textbooks altered and distorted by the Israelis instead of the Palestinian textbooks that have been used for decades by threatening to cancel their teaching license if they continue to use the Palestinian textbooks.

As the new school year is about to start, parents and students of the Ibrahimia School on the Mount of Olives protested outside the school against the Israeli measures stressing that Israel seeks to alter everything the students learn about their history and culture and force them to learn the distorted Israeli narrative of their city, history and the history of this region.

The Parents Committee said the Israeli authorities have printed new textbooks similar to the ones provided by the Palestinian Ministry of Education but with alterations and omission of many facts, such as the Palestinian flag, national symbols, and other terms and historical facts, and replaced them with others in a way intended to deny the Palestinian students in occupied East Jerusalem the right to learn about their history, culture and the history of their city, Jerusalem, and country, Palestine.

The purpose behind this, said the Committee, is an attempt by the Israeli occupation authorities to abolish the students’ Palestinian identity and sense of being a Palestinian Arab, in addition to falsifying and distorting the facts about Jerusalem in particular and Palestine in general.

The Israeli authorities sent letters to Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem warning them that continuing to use the Palestinian textbooks in their original copy will lead to the suspension of their teaching license prompting some to alter their education plans and turn to the Israeli curriculum, while others decided to resist the Israeli plans.

“Our children have the right to learn the Palestinian curriculum without distortion,” said a parent of an Ibrahimia School student.

“Our presence here is the first stop for more protests to come later,” said another.

In defiance of the Israeli measure, the school and parents brought the original Palestinian textbooks and started to distribute them to the students who were outside the Ibrahimia School, which is supposed to open its doors on Monday for the new school year.

The Palestinian Ministry of Education said 1,385,000 students are expected to start the new school year on Monday in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 3192 schools distributed into 2,333 government schools, 375 schools operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), and 484 private schools.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA)