The Norwegian Parliament threatens to withhold aid money to PA unless curriculum is changed

The majority of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Norwegian Parliament regards the Palestinian curriculum to be devastating to the peace process and the development of democracy in the region.

Regjeringspartiene på Stortinget har samlet seg om en kraftig kritikk av innholdet i palestinske skolebøker og truer med å holde tilbake bistand dersom det ikke blir endring til det bedre. (Foto: Matt Kieffer, flickr)

This is an unofficial translation [Google Translate, checked for meaning and corrected by MIFF] of the full note from the Foreign Affairs Committee in The Norwegian Parliament, issued 5 December 2019.
MIFF, together with IMPACT-se, have informed the Members of Parliament about the Palestinian curriculum in meetings and articles throughout November 2019. Click here to see all MIFF’s articles about the issue (in Norwegian).

The [Foreign Affairs] Committee believes it is necessary to ensure that Norwegian funds support teaching that is ethically sound and forms the basis for peaceful coexistence and tolerance for future generations in the region, and believes that the government must use available means to achieve this.

The majority of the Committee, the members of Høyre [Conservative Party, PM’s party], Fremskrittspartiet [Progressive Party, right wing], Senterpartiet [Center Party, not part of the government], Venstre [Liberal Party] and Kristelig Folkeparti [Christian Democrats], will have a balanced stance on the Middle East conflict and actively support the goal of Israel and Palestine as two states within secure and internationally recognized borders, as well as supporting democratic development in the Middle East. The majority also states that the government should not support organizations that encourage violence or promote hate speech, racism or anti-Semitism.

The majority notes that education is one of Norway’s main initiatives in development policy, and supports this. The majority refers to the fact that Norway has entered into an agreement to allocate a total of NOK 220 million in the period 2019-2022 to support the Palestinian Ministry of Education’s Strategy for the education sector. The majority have noted that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasizes that Norwegian support mainly goes to infrastructure in the form of building, furnishing and renovation of schools, as well as student transport and school buses, as well as some capacity building in the form of training and training of staff and teachers.

At the same time, the majority is made aware of very credible content in some school material used in teaching in the Palestinian Autonomous Territories, as evidenced by reports from the IMPACT (Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education) organization, which has prompted an ongoing review initiated by the UK Department of International Development and conducted by the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research. Examples of content in the school books include references to violence, martyrdom and terror. The majority considers this to be devastating to the peace process and the development of democracy in the region, as well as being an expression of irresponsible pedagogy, and finds it unacceptable that Norwegian funds support a school system that promotes such destructive values.

The majority points out that in May 2017, the government demanded repayment of aid to a Palestinian center for women named after the terrorist Dalal Mughrabi.

The majority assumes that the government, along with other donors, is continuing its follow-up of Palestinian authorities to remove unacceptable content in the curriculum books, and believes it will be difficult to continue its support for Norwegian aid for the Palestinian Ministry of Education unless this is achieved. The majority look forward to the results of the ongoing study by the Georg Eckert Institute and asks the government to reduce or withhold financial support to the PA if they do not provide satisfactory improvements in school materials within a reasonable time. It should be communicated to the PA that the Norwegian parliament has demanded that support be withheld unless the recommendations in the report are not followed up adequately. The majority asks the government to return to the Stortinget [Parliament] with a feedback on the results of the Georg Eckert Institute review as soon as these are available, and to give us an orientation about how this matter will be handled in the future.

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