|Author (Person)||Cronin, David|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.30, 26.7.01, p6|
A GERMAN MEP has reignited the controversy over European funding for anti-Semitic textbooks used in Palestinian schools by comparing them to Nazi propaganda.
Centre-right deputy Armin Laschet, who recently returned from a visit to the Middle East, told European Voice he would be urging more stringent controls in the coming months over how money earmarked for Israel and the Palestinian Authorities is spent.
He would especially be pressing for guarantees that the EU-sponsored budget line for supporting the region's education would not be diverted to producing racist or sectarian material.
Although the European Commission declared in April that none of its h180-million annual programme for the Palestinian Authority is spent on school books, Laschet said that he had seen one book which carried a note stating it had been funded by two member states - the Netherlands and Finland. "These school books remind me of those published under the Nazi regime in 1930s Germany," he added. "They contain terrible anti-Jewish racism, not just in history books, but also in grammar and maths books."
When representatives of the Palestinian authorities were asked about the issue, Laschet said he was told that the books in question were old Jordanian texts, which had been reprinted. "They said that school books have to reflect the reality of the situation and the feelings children have towards Israeli soldiers. But when the children of six or seven years learn today that their enemy is the Jews, then you will have the conflict continuing for another 50 years."
Jerusalem-based academics, he added, have been drafting new educational tools for both Israeli and Palestinian-dominated schools, with a view to promoting greater tolerance between the two communities.
During his visit, Laschet listened to markedly different requests from Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Peres argued there is an onus on the EU to pressurise the Palestinian Authority into ending the fierce violence in the region, while Arafat urged the deployment of international observers in the disputed territories of West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Three other members of the European Parliament's biggest political group, the European People's Party, also took part in the visit: Gerardo Quecedo Galeote (Spain), Philippe Morillon (France) and Geoffrey Van Orden (UK).
A German MEP has reignited the controversy over European funding for anti-Semitic textbooks used in Palestinian schools by comparing them to Nazi propaganda. Centre-right deputy Armin Laschet, who recently returned from a visit to the Middle East, said he would be urging more stringent controls in the coming months over how money earmarked for Israel and the Palestinian Authorities is spent.
|Countries / Regions||Middle East|