Year after year, the Palestinian Authority incites hatred and violence against Israel. It does so through the textbooks it uses in its schools, that exude antisemitism and virulent anti-Israel sentiment. And it does so, too, through its “Pay-For-Slay” program, that provides generous stipends to imprisoned terrorists and to the families of terrorists who died while committing their attacks. In this way the PA both rewards past, and incentivizes future, terrorists.
And year after year, Israel complains to the EU about this state of affairs, and about the EU’s continuing financial aid to the PA. The EU again assures Israel that this time it really will apply pressure on the PA to change its ways. But the textbooks remain unchanged, and the “Pay-For-Slay” program continues. More on this farce can be found here: “European Union Official Assures Israel No Funding for Palestinian Incitement and Terror,” by Dion J. Pierre, Algemeiner, May 2, 2023:
The European Union assured Israel on Tuesday [May 3] that its aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) will not fund terror groups and programs inciting violence against Israel, in remarks first reported by i24.
EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi made the commitment to Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen during his diplomatic meeting to Belgium, which included a session with European Parliament President Roberta Metsola.
“I agreed with Commissioner Varhelyi that the European Union will not transfer budgets [financial aid] to the Palestinian Authority that will be used for incitement against Israel,” Cohen announced after the meeting. “Israel is not opposed to aid to the Palestinian Authority, but we will not allow a situation in which these budgets go indirectly to terrorist activity or incitement against Israel.”
Cohen added that he and Varhelyi discussed commissioning a study on antisemitism in Palestinian textbooks, a follow up to a 2019 report by the George Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research that analyzed 156 PA textbooks and found that they trafficked in antisemitic tropes, glorified terrorists, omitted references to Israeli-Palestinian peace-agreements, and excluded Israel from maps of the region.
There have been several studies of antisemitism in Palestinian textbooks, most notably those conducted by Marcus Sheff of IMPACT-se, as well as the studies by the George Eckert Institute. But another study, bringing the full investigative weight of the EU to bear, and demonstrating how nothing has changed in those ghastly schoolbooks, can do no harm and might, if it is disseminated widely, bearing the imprimatur of the EU, make more Europeans aware of the depth of the hatred inculcated in PA schoolbooks, the effects of which the Israelis must endure in the stabbings, shootings, and ramming with vehicles by hate-crazed Palestinian terrorists.
Examples of antisemitic material provided to children living in territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority include study cards for eleventh graders accusing Jews of being “in control of global events through financial power,” assignments instructing seventh graders to describe Israeli soldiers as “Satan’s aides,” and a textbook chapter imploring Muslims to “liberate” the Al-Aqsa Mosque, according to Israeli education watchdog Impact-se.
Another problem concerns UNRWA, which the EU has also been generously funding. Its schoolbooks too, like those used in the PA, drip with antisemitism. What’s more, many of the teachers and staff in UNRWA schools, who are funded by money the EU gives to the agency, also enthusiastically promote antisemitism and hate both on social media and in the classroom, a report issued by Impact-se in March said, citing over 200 examples of the problem. Many dozens of UNRWA teachers have been exposed s members of Hamas. Yet the EU has continued to provide generous aid to UNRWA, apparently willing to overlook the antisemitism taught in the schoolbooks and by so many of the agency’s teachers.
UNRWA received over $511.5 million in funding from the European Union and United States in 2021. In May, the EU announced that it would contribute $266 million to the agency through 2024.
Why did the EU Commissioner, Oliver Varhelyi, promise Foreign Minister Cohen that EU money would not go to pay for antisemitic texts in PA schools but said nothing about UNRWA? Isn’t UNRWA, because of its vast network of schools in Palestinian camps across the Middle East, even more of a danger in fostering antisemitic hate than the PA? Why was it that the EU announced just this month that it would give $266 million USD to UNRWA, instead of waiting to find out what UNRWA was going to do about its own textbooks? Why not withhold all EU aid to UNRWA until the revised textbooks, cleansed of their antisemitism, have been both published and distributed to all UNRWA schools? Nothing will so concentrate minds of UNRWA bureaucrats than the complete withholding of EU aid.
As for the PA, since money is fungible, just how does the EU propose to make sure that the financial aid it provides to the PA does not indirectly fund both antisemitic texts, and the PA’s “Pay-For-Slay” program? The EU can assure Israel’s foreign minister, Eli Cohen, that it will not fund anything in the PA that promotes antisemitic hate or terrorism, but how can this be achieved?
If, for example, the EU gives the PA $300 million this year, money which the PA promises will be spent only on humanitarian relief – food and medicines – all that means is that $300 million that had been earmarked by the PA for spending on that food and medicine will now be paid for with that EU aid, thereby freeing up that exact amount for other uses, including support for PA schools still using unrevised antisemitic schoolbooks, and providing money both to imprisoned terrorists and to the families of terrorists killed while engaged in their attacks. The “Pay-For-Slay” program will remain intact.
Money is fungible. The only way for the EU to assure itself that its financial aid to the PA is not furthering antisemitic hate in its schoolbooks, and both rewarding past, and incentivizing future, terrorist attacks on Israelis through the PA’s “Pay-For-Slay” program, is to halt all of its aid, and to make clear such aid will be renewed only after two things have happened. First, new textbooks, cleansed of any hint of antisemitism, should not merely have been promised, as the PA has done so often in the past, but will have been published, and put into use in the PA schools, where EU inspectors can assure themselves of their presence. Second, the “Pay-For-Slay” program, which rewards past and incentivizes future terrorist attacks, must be completely shut down. The EU must make clear that not a cent of the several hundred million dollars the EU has been providing the PA annually will be forthcoming unless “Pay-For-Slay” is ended. The Palestinian economy is in danger of total collapse. Abbas himself will cling to “Pay-For-Slay” no matter what damage this does to the PA economy; he has said he will continue the program even “with my last penny,” but he is 87 years old and in poor health. Those who will soon succeed him are more clear-headed about money matters, and do not share Abbas’ fanatical attachment to “Pay-For-Slay.” The PA desperately needs that infusion of money from the European Union. The EU simply needs to hold tight to its demands, and the PA will yield. At this point, it can do no other.