Middle East

EU will back PA for change in curriculum

The EU will send financial support to the Palestinian Authority on condition that it will change the curriculum and textbooks in use in its schools across the occupied West Bank, Israel Hayom has reported. The move follows pressure from Hungary to make aid conditional on such change. The amount of aid involved is put at €214 million.

The PA faces an ongoing financial crisis, so the curriculum change is seen as one way to boost the authority’s income. However, Israel Hayom quoted one PA official as saying, “We will not agree to conditional support and assistance.”

According to the Israeli newspaper, Hungary’s EU Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi visited Ramallah last month and discussed with senior PA officials how to move forward with the implementation of Europe’s economic and investment plan that supports its new agenda for the Mediterranean. He called for changes to be made to Palestinian textbooks, claiming that some of them contain anti-Israel content, and discussed another demand by several EU countries related to the introduction of reforms in Palestinian institutions in exchange for financial aid.

Senior PA leaders have sent clear messages to Europe in recent days expressing their discontent with the EU’s stalling over the transfer of financial support. Sources in the PA fear that without such backing the authority will not be able to pay staff salaries.

The European Parliament Budget Review Committee adopted Hungary’s position a year ago, claiming that the Palestinian curriculum “contains incitement against Israel and anti-Semitic content.”

READ: 15 EU countries call on EU Commission to urgently disburse aid for Palestine

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