Palestinian School Curriculum: Radicalisation — [Mark Pritchard in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:53 pm on 10th March 2020.

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Photo of Steve McCabe Steve McCabe Labour, Birmingham, Selly Oak 2:53 pm, 10th March 2020

I do agree. I suspect that every one of us here supports the aid programme, but we do not support the misuse of the aid programme. I am certainly not here to attack the Minister, but I am here to say that we have to guard our own best interests in the way the programme is being applied. I think that is the right hon. Gentleman’s point.

I hope that the Minister will comment on the independent evaluation that the PA say they have commissioned from the Arab European Foundation. I have not seen the evaluation, and I do not know whether the Minister has. If he has, will he be kind enough to place a copy in the Library, and does he think that there will be any action by the PA as a result of that report?

I hope that the Minister will accept that many people have raised this matter before. Joan Ryan and Louise Ellman first raised it back in September 2017. Their concerns were initially dismissed. Then they were promised an independent international review. That took about 10 months, to be honest, and it was supposed to report last September. I obviously welcome the review by the Georg Eckert Institute, but I believe that what we are now waiting for is a short interim report. Can the Minister give us any further update on that and whether it will be placed in the Library?

I think the short line here is that there have been many promises but little action. Ministers claimed in 2018 that new textbooks were being piloted. That turned out to be untrue. In 2019 the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education reported that the same curriculum was being taught for the third consecutive year. Mr Saidam, the PA Education Minister, committed to a constructive review but later denounced an attack on the Palestinian curriculum by the Zionist lobby.

The bottom line is that Britain is bankrolling this curriculum. We must take responsibility. I think we are agreed that we need to see some action.