The move at Al-Aqsa Gates is part of Israel’s efforts to impose its own curriculum on Palestinian students in occupied East Jerusalem.
Israeli forces confiscated Palestinian textbooks from students who were trying to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem on Monday, according to local media reports. The books, which were published by the Palestinian education ministry, were seized because they had Palestinian flags printed on them, sources told Wafa news agency.
The incident occurred at the gates of the holy site, where Israeli forces stopped and searched the bags of students from two schools located inside the courtyards of Al-Aqsa. The Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, which oversees the mosque, said that some textbooks were taken away and the students were later allowed to enter.
This was not the first time that Israeli forces have targeted Palestinian textbooks in East Jerusalem, where Israel has been trying to impose its own curriculum on Palestinian schools. Last week, Israeli police seized textbooks that were being delivered to a private school in the Old City and arrested the Palestinian employee who was transporting them. The books were also accused of containing incitement and hate speech against Israel.
Israel has been pressuring Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem to adopt the Israeli curriculum, which is taught in Arabic to Israeli-Arab students. Israel claims that its curriculum is more suitable for preparing students for higher education and employment opportunities in Israel. However, many Palestinians reject the Israeli curriculum, which they say erases their identity and history and legitimizes the occupation.
The Israeli And Palestinian Curriculum
The Israeli curriculum is based on the Palestinian one, but with significant changes and omissions. For example, the Israeli curriculum removes any references to the Palestinian flag, the right of return for refugees, the Nakba (the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine), the intifada (the popular uprising against the occupation), and Zionism as a racist ideology. The Israeli curriculum also alters or deletes any information that criticizes Israel’s policies and actions or supports the Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice.
Palestinian educators and parents have denounced Israel’s attempts to replace their curriculum as a violation of their rights and an assault on their culture. They have also expressed concern about the impact of the Israeli curriculum on the students’ psychological and emotional well-being, as well as their sense of belonging and identity.
The confiscation of Palestinian textbooks is part of Israel’s broader policy of colonization and annexation of East Jerusalem, which it occupied in 1967 and later declared as its undivided capital. Israel has been systematically changing the demographic and cultural character of the city by expanding illegal settlements, demolishing Palestinian homes, revoking residency rights, restricting access to holy sites, and suppressing any form of resistance.
The international community does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over East Jerusalem and considers it as occupied territory. The United Nations has repeatedly affirmed that Israel’s actions in East Jerusalem are illegal and constitute a flagrant violation of international law and human rights.