Palestine: the EU cannot hit the right to education!

In a letter dated 8 April, fifteen EU countries called on the European Commission to urgently disburse aid for Palestine that has been delayed because of controversies in school textbooks. 

On initiative of Oliver Varhelyi, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood, the European Commission proposed to condition the disbursement of an annual EUR 30 million from the European Union’s financial assistance to the Palestinian Authorities on imposing changes to school textbooks. 

The letter, available here, stresses that “The introduction of conditionality at a time when the Palestinian Authority is already engaged in an ambitious programme of educational reform risks undermining, or even reversing, progress achieved to date and could damage our on-going dialogue with the Palestinians on this and other issues”. 

Few days before, the S&D group, the Greens/EFA group, and the European Left in the European Parliament had clearly hilighted the injustified nature of this initiative as well as its negative impact on the political dialogue with the Palestinian Authorities, on the peace process in the Middle East and on the Palestinian youth who will be deprived of their human right to education and  may be left in the hands of extremist forces. Their letter can be found here.  

SOLIDAR shares the views of the S&D, the Greens/EFA, and the European Left/GUE holding that “any proposal and decision resulting in an unjustified stigmatisation of Palestinian textbooks, and through them the Palestinian educational system at large, can only further cement the existing prejudice that Palestinian antagonism towards Israel stems from Palestinian culture and education rather than from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the decades-long occupation of Palestinian land” and call for the European Commission to: 

  • Dismiss any conditionality of EU’s financial assistance to the Palestinian Authorities on a reform of Palestinian textbooks; 

  • Unlock any pending EU financial assistance to the Palestinian Authorities suspended on the same ground. 

 

Image credits: federico neri via Shutterstock