Hamas Rejects U.N. Holocaust Classes in Gaza

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Hamas officials have rejected a plan by UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) to teach Arab children in the Gaza Strip about the Holocaust.

UNWRA-operated schools in Gaza serve about 200,000 children. The organization planned to include a short study on the Holocaust in conjunction with its curriculum on human rights.

"Instead of pre-emptive accusations, it is important for Palestinians…to fully understand the tragedies and suffering that happened to all people through the generations, without divvying up facts and taking things out of context, U.N. official Sami Mushasha reportedly told a Jordanian daily newspaper in February, according to The Associated Press.

Hamas lambasted the plan in an open letter to a senior U.N. official in which the Holocaust was labeled "a lie invented by the Zionists."

"We cannot agree to a program that is intended to poison the minds of our children," read a statement from one Hamas ministry, calling it "a contemptible plot."

Fatah officials in the West Bank - Judea and Samaria - agreed with their Hamas counterparts.

Zakaria al-Agha, a member of the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) executive committee said it was "unacceptable" to teach Palestinian students about the Holocaust.

Israelis believe it's important to education Palestinians, especially children, on the significance of an event that played such a key role in modern Jewish history. Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev called the Palestinian response to the U.N. plan "obscene."

While Israelis celebrate the rebirth of the modern State of Israel on Yom Ha'atzma'ut - Independence Day - the Palestinians mark the establishment of the Jewish state with a national holiday called the "Nakba," or catastrophe.

The Palestinian Media Watch published an in-depth bulletin Tuesday on Holocaust denial by the Palestinian Authority. Click here to read the full report.

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AP contributed to this report.

 

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