The Palestinian Center For Human Rights (PCHR): Date: 20 September 2022: The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the Israeli decision to impose a distorted version of the official Palestinian curriculum in occupied East Jerusalem.
PCHR emphasizes that Jerusalem is an occupied city since 1967 according to the United Nations and Security Council resolutions, and the occupying power shall make no changes to the curriculum and cultural heritage of the occupied city.
PCHR believes that the new Israeli measures aim to obliterate the Palestinian identity and deprive Jerusalemite students of being part of their social and cultural fabric and exercising their right to education.
According to PCHR’s follow up, on 25 August 2022, Palestinian schools in occupied East Jerusalem received a decision from the Israeli Ministry of Education to prohibit teaching the Palestinian curriculum and threatened to revoke licenses from the non-compliant educational institutions.
Moreover, in late July 2022, Israeli authorities handed notices to al-Ibrahimiyya and al-Iman Schools and their branches and threatened to revoke their licenses if they do not teach the Israeli-imposed curriculum.
Ziad Shamali, Head of the School Students’ Parents Committee in occupied East Jerusalem, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that Israel seeks to impose the distorted version of the Palestinian curriculum on 42,000 students in 82 private schools in the City, adding that this curriculum seems to be similar to the official Palestinian curriculum, but contains alteration of the Palestinian national and societal concepts and values.
Al-Shamali indicated that Israeli authorities opened new schools to teach the Israeli curriculum, while they prevent the establishment of new Palestinian schools for Jerusalemite students, despite the dire need for about 2000 classrooms.
On Monday, 19 September 2022, the Students’ Parents Committee in occupied East Jerusalem, announced an all-out strike and did not allow their children to attend school as parts of steps taken by the Committee in protest against the Israeli occupation authorities’ attempts to impose the altered version of the official Palestinian curriculum.
Since 1967, the Israeli occupation has spared no attempts to target the education in occupied East Jerusalem via various measures, including working on distorting or changing the Palestinian curriculum and preventing the establishment of schools or to add new classrooms in already existed schools, especially in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.
The Palestinian Ministry of Education denounced in a statement the fierce campaign on the Palestinian education in occupied Jerusalem and the Israeli plans aiming to distort and obliterate the Palestinian identity.
The ministry added that Israel works on altering the Palestinian schoolbooks and threatens schools in occupied Jerusalem to repeal their licenses if the latter do not comply with the altered version of the curriculum.
Furthermore, the Israeli authorities attempt to impose Israeli education programs on Jerusalem’s schools although all these schools, whether private or international, have to obtain a teaching license from the Palestinian Ministry of Education, and this requires their commitment to teach the curriculum, books and exams adopted by the State of Palestine.
The latest Israeli measures are against the UNESCO Resolution No. 212 EX/43. which says that all legislative, administrative, and other measures taken by Israel as an occupying power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Occupied City of Jerusalem are null and void.
Also, the Executive Council of UNESCO, in article 25 of its Resolution no. 207/ 39C, urged the Israeli authorities to cease all their oversight measures on the Palestinian curriculum in occupied Jerusalem, and expressed its ongoing concern over actions and obstacles that prevent Palestinian students from being part of their social and cultural fabric and exercising their right to education.
PCHR condemns the Israeli decision to impose distorted versions of the curriculum on occupied Jerusalem’s schools and calls on the High Contracting Parties to exert pressure on Israel to implement Articles 24, 50 and 94 of the Fourth Geneva Convention relevant to children’s right to education.
Also, PCHR demands respect for UNESCO resolutions relevant to the occupied Palestinian territory, especially ceasing all Israeli measures aiming at changing the character of the occupied East Jerusalem, and not making changes to the Palestinian curriculum adopted in the city.