You may have heard that a Hamas “spiritual leader,” Yunis al-Astal, who also happens to be a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, has denounced a UN suggestion that children in Gaza be taught about the Holocaust. He said that teaching about the Holocaust would be “marketing a lie” and a “war crime.” I didn’t say anything about it when I first heard it, because I thought, “well, that’s one nutball.” Turns out he’s not alone, according to the Washington Post:
The prospect of United Nations-run schools in the Gaza Strip teaching children about the Holocaust has sparked fierce resistance this week from leaders of the Palestinian Hamas movement and forced international officials to confront a situation fraught with political risk.
U.N. officials, who say they are only discussing changes to a school program on human rights, have not commented directly on whether any new curriculum will reference the Holocaust. But Hamas leaders, saying any such reference would “contradict” their culture, are moving quickly to head off the possibility.
“Talk about the holocaust and the execution of the Jews contradicts and is against our culture, our principles, our traditions, values, heritage and religion,” Jamila al-Shanti, a Hamas legislative official, said in a statement distributed Tuesday after a meeting among elected leaders of the radical Islamist group and the head of the Hamas-run Education Ministry in Gaza.
Hamas Education Minister Muhammad Askol used similar language in criticizing the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, saying it was not respecting Hamas’s “sovereignty” over Gaza. He said he planned to ask for a meeting with agency officials to “assure the necessary coordination.”
This is not a small matter. Besides giving the lie to the idea that Hamas is only anti-Israel (as opposed to anti-Semitic), the Oslo Accords committed the Palestinians to cleaning up the anti-Semitic filth that runs rampant in their schools and government-run media. This constitutes an explicit rejection on the part of the masters of Gaza of that obligation. This isn’t new, of course, but merely the latest in a long line of examples of Palestinian refusal to do anything that Oslo called on them to do. It shouldn’t be hard to conclude from their actions of the last 16 years that Palestinian leadership has never really been interested in peace with Israel, but has simply stonewalled on its own obligations so as to allow time for Western pressure on Israel to have the desired effect, i.e., ensuring that Israel does all the conceding.
Even as these events were being reported on in the world press, the World Council fo Churches Central Committee was issuing yet another of its pronouncements on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In it, there was no mention of Hamas’ refusal to carry out its end of the Oslo bargain. Rather, it was all Israel’s sin, all the time. There’s no need to quote at length from it–we’ve seen it all before–except to note this from the very beginning:
While the decision of the United Nations (UN) of 1947 (Resolution 181) to establish two states in the land of Palestine was partially achieved with the creation of the state of Israel, the second part of this resolution is still waiting for realisation: the establishment of a Palestinian state. The ongoing settlement policy of the state of Israel in the territories which have been occupied since 1967 is an obstacle to the fulfilment of that promise and decision of the community of nations for a viable Palestinian state.
This is a splendid example of the kind of blinkered, one-sided approach that has long characterized WCC bilge on the conflict. Resolution 181 has not been fully implemented because, unlike the Jews, the Arabs refused to accept it, preferring to invade Israel and try to destroy it at its birth rather than give up a square inch of the Dar al-Islam to the infidels. Given that there were no Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories between 1948 and 1967–given that, in fact, those territories were administered by Jordan and Egypt, which could have created a Palestinian state at any time they chose, but didn’t disgorge the territories until they were captured by Israel as part of its self-defense measures in the Six Day War–given all that, you’d think there would be some recognition in this document that something other than settlements may be contributing to continuing Palestinian statelessness. Alas, one would look in vain, since for the WCC, there are no Palestinian or Arab actions that can be held up as preventing a resolution of the conflict. Israel, and Israel alone, is at fault.
Does that mean that Israel is correct in its settlement policy? By no means. I’ve said on many occasions that I think Israel’s settlement policy has been wrong and misguided from the start. Criticism of it is certainly legitimate. But for the WCC to continue its decades-long policy of refusing to recognize that the Palestinians contribute in any significant way to their own plight–for instance, through constantly bombarding their own people with the vilest of anti-Semitic propaganda, thus keeping the well poisoned against any compromise–is the height of folly. One might even suggest, to use the words of a recently departed WCC bureaucrat, that it is a “sin against God.”
(Hat tip to Hampton on the Post article.)