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

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:24 pm on 10th March 2020.

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Photo of Jonathan Gullis Jonathan Gullis Conservative, Stoke-on-Trent North 4:24 pm, 10th March 2020

I am a committed believer in having a UK aid budget that will make a massive difference. However, I cannot escape the fear that, although we might be not paying for textbooks directly, we are somehow freeing up cash within the Palestinian Authority education system to fund the textbooks being distributed, to fund the teachers’ training and to have those teachers use the textbooks as part of their wider teacher training programme.

I applaud the Department for International Development. Back in July 2017 it allocated £3 million towards peaceful co-existence projects, which is exactly how I want to see the budget spent. Let us not forget that it is not just the United States of America that has pulled out of UNWRA; New Zealand, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Belgium all ceased funding back in 2019, due to serious concerns about ethical misconduct allegations. This issue will not simply go away, and we need to look further into UNWRA and what it is doing in the region.

I first engaged with this issue when I visited the region last summer, and I was pleased that it received the national attention it deserves in a recent Daily Mail investigation. A few months ago I was teaching at my local school, where every day I saw at first hand the importance of providing children with an education free from prejudice and bias. This place offers an incredible platform to raise such issues, and I thank all Members who have contributed to the debate today.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,

That this House
has considered radicalisation in the Palestinian school curriculum.