The Norwegian parliament has endorsed cuts in aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in response to racism, antisemitism and incitement to violence in Palestinian educational materials.
The cuts would amount to 30 million Norwegian krone, equivalent to $3.4 million.
The Progress Party led the push to cut the aid funds, with MP Himanshu Gulati saying, “Not a single krone should go to Palestinian education until this is clarified and they have stopped” using educational materials containing hate speech.
He added that he “regrets that it has taken us so many years to take a strict line against these things. It is very good that it is now happening.”
December 10, 2020 11:01 am
MP Sylvia Listhaug, deputy leader of the Progress Party, said, “The Palestinian school curriculum abounds with calls for violence and hatred against Israel and for martyrdom to be glorified. It is quite clear that Norway cannot support this, therefore we want to cut this item.”
Foreign Affairs Committee member MP Geir Toskedal of the Christian Democrats remarked, “We have long been uneasy about both textbooks and teaching programs in the Palestinian territories. It is very important that the school focuses on peace and cooperation.”
Marcus Sheff, the CEO of IMPACT-se, an organization that documents hate speech in Palestinian educational materials, said, “Norwegian legislators from across the political spectrum are simply not satisfied with the same worn platitudes coming from Ramallah and parroted in Europe about improvements to the textbooks being imminent.”
“It is clearly not and until the hate and incitement is removed from Palestinian textbooks, the EU and European nations need to take note of Norway’s leadership on the issue, and stop being a party to the daily incitement of Palestinian schoolchildren and to the embarrassing abuse of their own taxpayers’ funds,” he added.
Last June, Norway’s foreign minister, Ine Eriksen Søreide, announced that funds earmarked for the PA’s education sector would be withheld until changes were made to schoolbooks that promoted antisemitism and terrorist violence against Israelis.
She also said that when she met with PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh in Ramallah in February, she had “communicated the government’s views on the matter, stressing that lack of improvements in the school curriculum could have budgetary implications for future Norwegian aid.”
In December of last year, the Norwegian parliament urged the PA to remove violent, racist and antisemitic materials from its school curriculum, or else face a drop or cessation in funding.