Right to Education exposes Israeli impact on education in the 1948-occupied territories

Symposium featured legal experts, activists

The Right to Education Campaign in the Public Relations Office at Birzeit University organized a symposium entitled “Israeli Apartheid Policies in 1948 Palestinians’ Curricula” on March 24, 2018. The symposium is part of the 2018 Israeli Apartheid Week, held concurrently in over 200 places around the world. 

The symposium was attended by a number of legal experts and youth activists from Galilee,  Akka, Shefa- ‘Amr, Nazareth, Ramallah, and Haifa, and featured a musical performance by Birzeit University’s An-Nasheed Al-Mostamer choir. 

Mossawa Center Director Jafar Farah reviewed the framework of laws utilized against Palestinians living in the 1948 occupied territories, detailing the mechanisms and procedures that can be utilized in countering “the bigoted and racist Israeli laws.”

“These laws will not deter Palestinians. We are relentlessly fighting to abolish them,” he added.  

 General Director of the Arab Association for Human Rights Mohammad Zeidan discussed education in the territories occupied in 1948 and the Israeli measures and hindrances that limit its scope or influence. Zeidan also examined the racist Israeli laws that are aimed at various communities and sects and noted the need to raise awareness of the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian national identity in the curricula taught to Palestinians in the occupied land 1948. 

Yousef Madi, a law graduate and a social activist, presented his educational experience and highlighted the role of Palestinian student movements inside and outside university campuses in affecting change and countering inequitable practices. He also emphasized the importance of communication between student movements in Birzeit university and Palestinians inside the occupied land 1948

Arafat Nazzal, a student in the Israeli Studies Master’s Program at Birzeit University who was previously detained in Israeli military prisons, showcased the results of a study he carried out, which revolved around Palestinian and Israeli curricula. The Israeli curricula, he noted, “paint Palestinians as villains who deserve nothing but hate.” 

Majid Shihade, an associate professor at the Ibrahim Abu Lughoud Institute of International Studies, explored the impact of the Israeli settler colonialism on education in Palestine, including Palestinians who live inside occupied territories in 1948, noting that Israeli measures are effectively turning Palestinians into an intellectually-oppressed population.    

The symposium ended with a moment of silence for Palestinian vocalist and songwriter Rim Banna who passed away in her home city of Nazareth on the same day after a struggle with cancer that never lessened her determination to sing and resist.