Hamas, UNRWA argue over "Holocaust" lessons in Gaza
www.chinaview.cn 2009-08-31 21:54:38   Print

    by Saud Abu Ramadan, Emad Drinly

    GAZA, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- The Islamic Hamas movement and the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) argued on Monday over the inclusion into the curriculum of UNRWA preparatory schools a course on human rights that speaks about the "Jewish Holocaust."

    UNRWA educates some 200,000 refugee children aged between 6 and15 in the densely populated Gaza Strip, which has been ruled by Hamas since it routed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' security forces and seized control of the enclave in June 2007.

    A course of human rights for the 14-year-old children of eighth grade in schools run by UNRWA in Gaza angered Hamas when it talked about the Jewish Holocaust.

    The Popular Committee of Palestinian refugees, a pro-Hamas group in the Gaza Strip, severely slammed the UNRWA and demanded it to "immediately" erase the part that speaks about the Holocaust from the Palestinian pupils' curriculum.

    The committee sent a letter to the chief of the UNRWA office on Sunday, calling on the UN relief organization to erase the Holocaust subject from the human rights books.

    Husam Ahmed, the Popular Committee's coordinator in the Gaza Strip said the material, which is included in the human rights subject, "was formed in a way that shows sympathy with the Jews." He warned of having an attitude "to construct a generation that supports the Jews and the Holocaust" in the Palestinian territories.

    Ahmed warned that "if UNRWA ignores our demand, we will organize protests, rallies and demonstrations that are allowed by the law."

    "We call on UNRWA to erase the subject ... and stop any future attempt to insert strange concepts or cultures that contradict with the Palestinian values, traditions and principles," said the committee's letter.

    "We are against it because those who added the subject to the curriculum aim at playing with the feelings and thoughts of our children," said the pro-Hamas popular committees' letter.

    Meanwhile, the interior ministry of Hamas de facto government in Gaza said in a statement that "it expresses astonishment because UNRWA curriculum is talking about the Jewish Holocaust."

    "We reject teaching our pupils such thoughts that contradicts with our Palestinian beliefs," said the interior ministry statement, which called on the ministry of education "to check if such news is right."

    Meanwhile, UNRWA denied that it teaches the Holocaust in preparatory schools and also denied that the Holocaust is included in the pupils' curriculum.

    Adnan Abu Hasna, UNRWA spokesman in Gaza, told reporters that "such reports are totally untrue. The current curriculum that is taught to pupils at UNRWA schools doesn't contain any indication to the subject of the Holocaust."

    Meanwhile, Mahmoud al-Hemdeyat, director of education department of UNRWA in the Gaza Strip denied that there has been any attitude in the agency to teach a subject that only talks about the Holocaust, adding "UNRWA hasn't finished yet from finalizing the new curriculum."

    "The Human Rights course is under preparation, then it will be presented before a group of specialists and advisors who will debate the subject before approving it," said al-Hemdeyat.

    "As far as I know, the curriculum doesn't include anything about the Holocaust," he added.

Special Report: Palestine-Israel Conflicts         

 

Editor: Zhang Xiang
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