British Government’s Current Position: Education of Israeli & Palestinian children

Question by baroness Sheehan on 12th April 2021 (UIN HL14829)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment have they made of the decision by Pearson Education to pause the distribution of two textbooks by author Hilary Bash following allegations by academics that its text regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had been altered.

Answer from Lord Ahmad (Conservative) on 26th April 2021

The content and quality assurance of textbooks is a matter for individual publishers. Her Majesty’s Government is aware that concerns have been raised and understand that Pearson will take action where necessary.

Question by Baroness Sheehan (Lib Dem) on 1st March 2021 (HL13769)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 8 February (HL12565), what steps they intend to take to prevent the destruction of schools and other infrastructure in the West Bank.

Answer from Lord Ahmad (Conservative) on 15th March 2021

The UK continues to oppose Israel’s proposed demolitions of Palestinian schools and calls on Israel to reconsider its plans to do so. The UK Ambassador in Tel Aviv raised ongoing demolitions with the Israeli Authorities in a meeting alongside like-minded partners on 25 February 2021. The Minister for the Middle East and North Africa called on Israel to stop demolitions on 5 February 2021 and raised his concerns about demolitions of Palestinian infrastructure, including the potential demolition of schools, with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK on 29 October 2020. The UK is clear that in all but the most exceptional of circumstances, demolitions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law.

Question by Baroness Tonge (Independent) on 25th January 2021 (HL12565)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports that the only school in Al-Maleh has been demolished by the government of Israel; and what steps they plan to take to support the educational rights of Palestinian children living in Area C of the West Bank.

Answer from Lord Ahmad (Conservative) on 8th February 2021

The UK opposes Israel’s proposed demolition of a Palestinian school in Al-Maleh and calls on Israel to reconsider its plans to do so. The Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa raised UK concerns about the demolition of Palestinian infrastructure, including the potential demolition of schools, with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK on 29 October. Our Embassy in Tel Aviv also raised our concern about the demolition of schools with the Government of Israel on 13 October, alongside European partners. In all but the most exceptional of circumstances demolitions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law.

Question by Baroness Tonge (Independent) on 26th October 2020 (HL9592)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to reports that school children in Palestine have been subjected to violence by the Israel Defence Force and Israeli settlers, what steps they plan to take to protect the rights of such children under Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Answer from Lord Ahmad (Conservative) on 9th November 2020

We repeatedly call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and have a regular dialogue with Israel on legal issues relating to the occupation, including the treatment of Palestinian children. We continue to stress the importance of the Israeli security forces providing appropriate protection to the Palestinian civilian population, in particular the need to protect children, and urge restraint in the use of live fire. In instances where there have been accusations of excessive use of force, we have advocated swift, transparent investigations.

Question by Baroness Tonge (Independent) on 28th september 2020 (HL8563)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the arrangements put in place for the education of Palestinian children whose schools have been demolished by the government of Israel in the last five years.

Answer from Lord Ahmad (Conservative) on 5th October 2020

In all but the most exceptional of circumstances demolitions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. The practice of demolitions (and confiscations) causes unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians and is harmful to the peace process. The UK does not undertake a specific assessment of the impact of demolitions on the education of Palestinian children, but the UK does support education in the OPTs.

UK Aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) helps to ensure it can deliver essential services, including the provision of education by contributing to the salaries of carefully vetted teachers and education workers in the West Bank.

Question from Steve McCabe (Labour) on 24th June 2020 (64065)

Palestinians: Curriculum 64065 To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, with reference to the 2019-20 Memorandum of Understanding between her Department and the Palestinian Authority, what assessment she has made of the Palestinian Authority’s progress on curriculum reform.

Answer from James Cleverley (Conservative) on 1st July 2020

Our partnership with the Palestinian Authority (PA) is underpinned by a Memorandum of Understanding and our ‘partnership principles’. We continue to judge that the PA is demonstrating a credible commitment to this Memorandum and the ‘partnership principles’.

We are pleased the PA is currently revising its textbooks and hopes to update them before the start of the new school year in September. I most recently discussed progress of the PA’s review with the Minister for Education on 4 June.

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