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

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:24 pm on 10th March 2020.

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Photo of John Howell John Howell Conservative, Henley 3:24 pm, 10th March 2020

I congratulate my hon. Friend Jonathan Gullis on securing the debate and allowing us the opportunity to highlight this important issue. I, too, want to refer to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests, with reference to trips to Israel.

My hon. Friend mentioned the recent wave of violence against Israelis: 87 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed in stabbings, shootings and car-ramming terror attacks in the past five years and more than 1,500 people have been wounded, many of whom face life-changing injuries. Since the Oslo accords of 1993, instead of educating its people towards peaceful coexistence with Israel, the Palestinian leadership has radicalised a new generation of Palestinians, and many are intent on harming Israelis and Jews.

Hon. Members will now be aware of the background of continuous incitement in Palestinian society—from an educational system that denies Israel’s right to exist, to the provision of financial incentives to terrorists and their families. Is the Minister aware, and does he share my concerns, that despite assurances from the current and previous Palestinian Education Ministers that incitement will be removed from textbooks, no change has taken place since October 2017? Since there has been no change in three years, how does the Minister intend to ensure that the Palestinian Authority implements the recommendations of the long-awaited EU review? I echo colleagues’ calls for the EU report to be made publicly available. Does the Minister agree that that is crucial for transparency?

The Palestinian leadership delivers messages in Arabic to the Palestinian people entirely contradicting the promises they make in English to UK and foreign officials. Is the Minister concerned that the Palestinian leadership says one thing to UK officials and another to the Palestinian people? Does he agree that UK taxpayers’ hard-earned money should not be enabling support to be given to terrorism, however indirectly?

Incitement to violence of such a magnitude is simply difficult to accept. We have a duty not only to UK taxpayers, to spend their money wisely, but also to future generations of Palestinians, who deserve a future filled with opportunities, not hate. I, too, started out as an optimist on this journey, and I am trying hard to put together at the Council of Europe an exhibition of projects that Israelis and Palestinians have worked on together, including Save a Child’s Heart and the work in East Jerusalem that others have referred to. I hope that it comes about, to show that those Palestinians who are derided for—

Sitting suspended for Divisions in the House.

On resuming—

[Sir Charles Walker in the Chair]