Should children in Gaza learn about the Holocaust?

gaza“No human-rights curriculum is complete without the inclusion of the facts of the Holocaust, and its lessons.” This is what John Ging, the UN Relief and Works Agency’s (UNRWA) director of operations in Gaza,says. The UN’s refugee agency is planning to include the Holocaust in a new human-rights curriculum for Gaza’s secondary-school pupils.Hamas, the ruling Islamist movement in Gaza, has condemned suggestions that Palestinian children should be taught about the Holocaust in UN-run schools.

The head of its education committee in Gaza, Abdul Rahman el-Jamal, said that to teach it would be to “grant a big favour” to Israel, which has been fighting Hamas for years.

This blogger suggests that Hamas’ refusal is not surprising and it’s also a strong evidence that they are not serious about peace in the Middle East.Does he have a point? Is acknowledging history the way to peace in the Middle East?

Mark wrote a post earlier about whether a country should own its history. Do you think it applies here? Are Hamas right to refuse to teach children about the Holocaust? Do you think that children in Gaza should learn about the Holocaust and will it help achieve peace in the area?

55 Responses to “Should children in Gaza learn about the Holocaust?”

  1. 1 Nigel
    October 5, 2009 at 12:14

    This is pure out and out provocative interferrence by the UN. Where else in the world outside of Israel is the Holocaust taught as part of the school curriculum? This person should be fired or mandated to get the French to allow Muslim students to wear Hijab to school as the declaration of human rights dictates they should be free to. The life of the Holy Prophet Mohammed in the US school curriculum?……gimme a break!

    • 2 Mohammed
      October 6, 2009 at 15:03

      Even accounting for the world’s most ignorant and hateful, the lesson of the Holocaust relates to humans, not Israelis. The Holocaust is taught as part of the school curriculum in many first world countries for that reason.

  2. October 5, 2009 at 12:18

    This is like asking if we should teach Liberian children about the horries that took place in My country’s decade and a half civil conflict. I would say that the younger generation should have another way of looking at things,therefore they should be taught all that they need to know, including those horrific acts against humanity.

  3. 4 Dennis Junior
    October 5, 2009 at 12:51


    I think that the children of Gaza should learned about the Holocaust; Since, it is a historical event…..

    ~Dennis Junior~

  4. 5 patti in cape coral
    October 5, 2009 at 13:09

    Will the children learning about the holocaust achieve peace? No. Should they learn it? Yes. I think history should be learned by children and it should be the truth. Unfortunately, everyone country has their version of the truth, so who knows what they will be teaching the Gaza school children at the end of this debate.

  5. 6 Jennifer
    October 5, 2009 at 13:21

    Are Hamas right to refuse to teach children about the Holocaust?

    No. I assume they are afraid that they will have to confront their hatred and do not want to acknowledge it.

    Do you think that children in Gaza should learn about the Holocaust and will it help achieve peace in the area?

    All children should (in a discerning way). In particular, I think curriculum segment would be beneficial to the peace process in Middle East.

  6. 7 anu_d
    October 5, 2009 at 13:22

    If UN is running the school…they will propogate the versions of history and moralities under as they see fit.

    When Palaestinians are capable of running their own schools, they won’t batter an eye-lid in dropping the versions of history that are not aligned with theor religious/ politcial or social agendas…such as Holocast.

    Until then they have to digest the lessons handed out by UN schools, even if they see it as a propoganda…else they can sit their kids at home.

  7. 8 VictorK
    October 5, 2009 at 13:43

    *Hamas undoubtedly have a right, as the representatives of the Palestinians, to determine what should be taught in schools.
    *The UN & its agencies aren’t neutral. They do have an ideology
    through which they view & act in the world: liberalism. Non-liberal Hamas are entitled to reject that view, & initiatives reflecting it.
    *And why is the Holocaust privileged above many other genocides, some exceeding it in terms of the number of lives lost, in being taught in Palestinian or other schools?
    *The fact of the matter is that the Holocaust has become as much about propaganda as about history (see Norman Finkelstein). Hamas have correctly identified this as a front in their conflict with Israel. Did children in Allied countries learn, during WWII, about the injustices Germany suffered as a result of the treaty of Versailles? So why expect the Palestinians to do what no other people has ever done, & propagandise on behalf of their enemies?

  8. 9 Dinka Aliap Chawul-Kampala,Uganda
    October 5, 2009 at 13:53


    Does students of Gaza themselves accept history of Holocaust to be taught in their schools? i think the choice here belong to students in controversial issue like this, but to be base on UN,Israel & the Hamas dogma.

    • 10 JanB
      October 5, 2009 at 14:13

      How about we ask children if they want to learn maths at school? And if they say no, take math out of the curriculum, do you see the problem?

      • 11 Dinka Aliap Chawul-Kampala,Uganda
        October 5, 2009 at 15:19


        Yes, i did.But in accordance with my analysis,i do believe that though Hamas & UN come into conclusions without taking students notions,it will soon end in failure.Comeback to the Israeli-Palestine history & their bad wishes against each other,also the Hamas-IDF Gaza’s war of last year.

        Maths talks about numbers whereas history deal with events that took place recently & were recorded down.That’s my fact finding…………Aren’t to you?

        Thanks U,

  9. 12 saad baloch. Pakistan occupied Balochistan.
    October 5, 2009 at 13:55

    Learning about the holocaust is not bad but this learning might give favor to Israel and weaken then Hamas.

  10. 13 gary
    October 5, 2009 at 14:05

    All history is relevant to all children because it takes a world to raise a child. However, nowhere on Earth is any child presented an objective history, even of his or her own people. Had we learned how better to do this single task, perhaps there wouldn’t have been a Holocaust about which to teach.

  11. 14 scmehta
    October 5, 2009 at 14:20

    What is the use of writing and reading history, if we do not learn from our past. All about the good and the bad, our humanity had gone through, must be taught and be known to all the children in the world, so that they become capable of independently analyzing the important historical events and consequently using their rationale to make better citizens and change the world for the better.

  12. 15 Isaac Kipkoech
    October 5, 2009 at 14:26

    Well,of what importance is the holocaust anyway? why not include the Rwanda genocide,Vietnam war, Sudan war,Iraq invasion into the school curriculum? you can put it in the curriculum but what happens if kids refuse to listen to it? teach them more important things like how to grow vegetables

    • 16 Mohammed
      October 6, 2009 at 15:06

      Yes, intelligent people should indeed know about all of these events, Isaac, taught by other intelligent people, from a position of empathy for those with views that are different than their own.

  13. October 5, 2009 at 14:40

    I do not believe that you need to learn about something that you’re already experiencing to a large extent on daily basis, it’ll be more like teaching Iraqi children about the effect of bombed cars and roadside bombs, something which is totally unnecessary if you guys understand what I mean ! ;)… And yet, may be it’ll be nice to teach both Gazan and Israeli children about the way the Holocaust was brutally exploited by OCCUPIERS over the years, I mean after all it’s yesterday’s victim that has become today’s oppressor eh ?! With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  14. 18 steve
    October 5, 2009 at 14:40

    Wow, I must be having a nightmare. I cannot believe the comments on here. That learning about growing vegetables is more important.. The point is, is that if people learned about the holocaust, there wouldn’t be any Rwandas or Darfurs, because they would know how horrible it is. But stuff like Cambodia and the killing fields still happen because people don’t learn about the horrible nature of humanity.

    • 19 Tara Ballance, Montreal Canada
      October 5, 2009 at 15:51

      People KNEW about the Holocaust. People KNEW about Cambodia’s killing fields. They KNEW about Serbia.

      And people who KNEW about these atrocities disregarded General Romeo Dallaire when he warned them that Rwandans were being incited to commit crimes against humanity.

      It seems to me no matter how much we learn about the horrible nature of humanity, our species continues to strive to surpass its worst qualities.

      • 20 Tom K in Mpls
        October 5, 2009 at 18:14

        Tara, to me it’s more like we show our true nature. All this talk of ‘human ideals’, morality, propriety and such are nice goals. But you can’t take new ideas held by some, force them on others in one generation, and not expect retaliation. I think these ideals are right. They are the only way I can see that mankind will grow. But it will take many small steps, over many generations to become a part of our true nature.

    • 21 Nigel
      October 5, 2009 at 17:16

      You are right…..time to wake up Steve. The horrors of Rwanda and Darfur predate the Holocuast by hundreds of years. Do not believe that every African does not know about the horror of genocide……they do not need the history lessons of WWII to find out.

  15. 22 Bert
    October 5, 2009 at 15:33

    One might argue that Palestinian kids don’t need to be taught about Custer’s Last Stand in school, but the holocaust is sort of key to comprehending their history, is it not?

    This question is similar to asking whether kids should be taught about evolution. Those opposing the idea DO NOT oppose it on scientific grounds. They couldn’t care less about science. They oppose it because it might conflict with some story they want to believe.

    Well, isn’t this exactly the same situation?

  16. 23 Tom K in Mpls
    October 5, 2009 at 15:43

    The two main deciding factors in deciding what to teach regarding history are 1: What has your country done. And 2: What are the key events that influence your neighbors.

    Based on point 2, yes. The fear of the holocaust is one big reason Israel is so inflexible. It is also why Israel still gets such blind support from most other nations. Palestine needs to realize denying known and documented facts will make your related decisions fundamentally flawed.

  17. 24 T
    October 5, 2009 at 16:01

    Yes they should.

  18. 25 Beans
    October 5, 2009 at 16:18

    Of course it should be taught. It is a significant historical event that has ongoing ramifications in the region. And just as a point of fact, I am a product of the public school system in the U.S. This is where I learned of Mohammed, so don’t assume that his achievements are omitted.

  19. 26 Dave in Florida
    October 5, 2009 at 16:21

    You can not teach history without including the Holocaust? Just because some people do not agree with it does not mean it is not important.


    “Where else in the world outside of Israel is the Holocaust taught as part of the school curriculum?” I was educated here in the US, and I was taught about the Holcaust in almost every level of my education. It shocks me to read the comments here and realize that so much of the world does not teach it.

    • 27 Nigel
      October 5, 2009 at 19:18

      I think that knowledge and learning of the Holocaust is very to important to everyone. Not sure why only Gaza Strip in this case? You say that it is routinely taught in US schools then great………I suggest however, that to more people than live in the US, is it not pertinent given the other “today” things they have to worry about………you might remember Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs.”

  20. 28 archibald
    October 5, 2009 at 16:54


    I totally agree with you, though, I am sure that the Israelis currently engaging in and overseeing the conflict in Gaza are well aware of the Holocaust. This knowledge seems to have had little affect on the way Israel has dealt with the Palestinians, however. Gaza currently is very much like a concentration camp.
    If histories were not so at the mercy of the historians and their unavoidably subjective viewpoints, we might all know a lot more and repeat events like the Holocaust, a lot less.

  21. 29 Elina
    October 5, 2009 at 17:38

    Yes, the children in Gaza should learn about the Holocaust; it was part of what happened during World War II. Besides, not only millions of European Jews were killed in Holocaust, but also millions of others — people with disabilities, Romani, homosexuals, ethnic Poles…

  22. October 5, 2009 at 17:41

    The statement by,The Head of Education in Gaza,was crass in the extreme.If you are going to teach history,teach it all,good,bad or indifferent.

    Of course Hamas do not want peace. Israel is surrounded by polical/religeous enemies,who live in hope of Israels demise. Islamist movements,by definition,teach Islamist policy,which is narrow and uninclusive. Education is a way to peace combined with understanding. Reading some of the posts that seems a long way off.

  23. 31 Anthony
    October 5, 2009 at 17:47

    Not to sound like a cynic, but I bet there would be quite a few kids in Gaza that would ENJOY the story of the Holocaust. They should learn though.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  24. October 5, 2009 at 17:52

    yes the history of postww1 was taught in britain and in the usa. they also were
    taught about slavery in Britain and USA

  25. 33 Tom D Ford
    October 5, 2009 at 18:23

    Yes, and this brings up some additional interesting questions.

    Should all children be taught the Convention on the Rights of The Child?

    The US Declaration of Independence?

    The Geneva Conventions?

    The Nuremberg Principles?

    The UN Human Rights agreements?

    What should be included in the absolute minimum basic education of all children?

    Should both or all sides of history be taught, so that they can sort through it all themselves?

  26. October 5, 2009 at 18:55

    The holocaust is a an important part of history for any body living in middle east, in view of subsequent events that have taken place. the holocaust could offer greater objectivity on the younger generation. but how much are jewish children learning about the suffering of the palestinians with no home. the united nations shouldn’t present themselves as trying to couch history in sympathy with the jews, though there is no denying the peculiarity of the jewish people.

  27. 35 Couldn't care less
    October 6, 2009 at 00:03

    Well I suppose it could teach the children of Gaza how to use a traumatic event in thier lives to justify the horrible things they could get up to in the future and if the rest of the world objects, howl them down with self-righteous outrage (sound familiar?). The only thing the palestinians will need after that is a superpower sugar-daddy to prop up their economy, give them advanced weaponry on the cheap and intervene on their behalf in the UN.

  28. 36 Reena Dasani
    October 6, 2009 at 01:43

    Yes, the children in Gaza should be taught about the holocaust, children in Israel should be taught Palestinian history . We should be teaching WORLD history to ALL our children so that they can understand that there are multiple facets to every conflict.. Knowledge is the only thing that can prevent fundamentalism.


  29. 37 rr
    October 6, 2009 at 04:46

    @ steve October 5, 2009 at 14:40

    ” The point is, is that if people learned about the holocaust, there wouldn’t be any Rwandas or Darfurs, because they would know how horrible it is.”

    Really? Has this happened? We all know about the Holocaust, we all know Rwanda, we all know Darfur… Has knowing what had happened in the past helped us move on, stop such violence? Have world leaders lifted a finger against the atrocities that are committed everyday?

  30. October 6, 2009 at 08:33

    This is like asking whether the pope is catholic.Those kids ought to know what happened.

  31. 39 Ibrahim in UK
    October 6, 2009 at 12:49

    “Is acknowledging history the way to peace in the Middle East?”

    Neither Gaza nor Hamas were involved in the history of the Holocaust. The creation of Israel was decided before the Holocaust in the 1917 Balfour Agreement. How did the Holocaust and the suffering of the oppressed come to an end? With the complete and utter destruction of the Nazi regime. Is that going to be part of the history lesson?

    I doubt learning about European conflicts will pave the way to peace in the Middle East. It is far more important to acknowledge their own history, such as the Nakba, which Israel has banned from their history books.

  32. 40 VictorK
    October 6, 2009 at 13:55

    @Ibrahim: good points, especially about the teaching of Palestinian history in Israel (which I’d forgotten about)
    *Historical facts don’t exist in a vacuum. They’re susceptible to being given a moral spin, & therefore serving propagandistic ends. The Israelis recognise that, which is why they practice ‘nakba denial’. So why the outrage when the Palestinians defend their interests against what they regard not as a historically false event, but one that serves the non-historical end of justifying their dispossession? Hypocrisy.
    *In the same vein, the UN’s human rights curriculum is deeply propagandistic & based on all sorts of liberal assumptions that people can legitimately dispute & deny. But human rights propaganda is so effective that hardly anyone cares to challenge it, or the right of an unaccountable trans-global agency to direct the lives of others.

  33. October 6, 2009 at 16:30

    @ Ibrahim & VictorK. Have the palestinians also banned the Jewish nakbar from history,see the Arab League,especially after 1948. In most Islamic countries that participated in the Jewish nakbar the are fewer than 100 Jews left in those countries. I don’t hear any complaints about the Jewish nakba,or their restoration. History has two sides

  34. 42 josef taufer
    October 6, 2009 at 17:49

    assuming am a Palestinian, why should you teach me anything sympathetic to my oppressor?

  35. 43 Corinna
    October 6, 2009 at 18:14

    Seems to me all we have learnt from history is that we have learnt nothing at all.
    Saying that history MUST be taught for history sake alone – if it happened teach it – you cant condense it or delete it. What should be taught along side teaching the mere historical facts including the numerous genocides is also to get children to debate history. To make sure they understand how genocides happen and can it possibly be avoided. We humans can be beastly – we are beastly – horrors are going on as I write this. The question is how do we teach our children to rid ourselves of our inner beast.

  36. 44 viola
    October 6, 2009 at 19:39

    No. Hamas is not right to deny Palestinian children a true history of the world. Anything less shows clearly Hamas’ desire not to educate their children but to brainwash them and use them in inhuman ways.

    • 45 Jennifer
      October 7, 2009 at 12:24

      This makes me curious seeing as I don’t think that the actual truth of something that happened is brainwashing. On the other hand, it may be an end to brainwashing on the part of Hamas….you know that people are blood drinkers or want to sell them killer candy.

      I see this as HAMAS showing that they are more concerned about their overall goals/motives than the education of their children.

  37. 46 viola
    October 6, 2009 at 19:43

    If true events are denied, there is no possibility, ever, of learning any lesson. Denial is the road to insanity.

  38. 48 Josiah Soap
    October 6, 2009 at 21:23

    If they don’t want to teach the holocaust then that should be their decision, not big brother UN. I am tired of hearing about the holocaust as if it was the only attrocity that has ever been committed and the term Nazi used over and over for anyone whose opinion you don’t like. Why don’t they teach the students about the mass genocide in Rwanda. Some of the foul and vile things that were done to people make the holocaust look like a walk in the park (I know it wasn’t and not implying it was). Or what about Pal Potts regime in Cambodia, millions killed and tortured. If they want an education lets show how all ethnicities can be equally evil. Lets start using the word Hutu for a person who people think is bigoted or a fascist. Ultimately though let countries choose their own path, I detest this global thinking where a central control unit decides what’s best for the world population.

  39. 49 Corinna
    October 6, 2009 at 23:59

    @ josef taufer
    The only people oppressing the Palestinians are their own people – they are crippling them with hatred. They want everything handed to them – they have had so many opportunities to prove themselves and yet thru their hatred – blind stupid hatred they are killing themselves. Achieving nothing in their lives. Didnt and doesnt have to be like that. But when your faith dictates that there is no other room for other faiths living side by side with you then what chance is there.

  40. 50 Ibrahim in UK
    October 7, 2009 at 09:27


    I agree. The eviction of Jews from Arab countries in “revenge” for the creation of Israel should also be taught (not aware that it was banned, if it is, it shouldn’t be). It would be far more relevant for the region than the Holocaust.
    If all sides are not even acknowledging their injustices, then how can the peace talks address them.

    • October 7, 2009 at 12:19

      Ibrahim: If they do not teach history as was, to the best of their abilities,perhaps it should be left off the curriculum altogether. In both camps,lies will become truths in a few generations,which will add to the antagonism. I could be ashamed of things that my country has done,but I was never denied that knowledge. You are right,peace talks will not address the problem,at least not this side of a few years.

  41. 52 Corinna
    October 7, 2009 at 13:44

    What exactly are the arabs revenging the Jews about? Going back to their land and making the desert bloom? What exactly have arabs got against Israel – could it possibly be Jealousy! could it possibly be they dont want a democratic country so close to them – showing up their governments for the dictatorships that they are! Doesnt any rational person ask oneself what the hell is wrong with the world for condeming a country the size of Wales for nothing! Is it Israel that is threatening the world? Is it the Israelis that are blowing themselves up crippling and maming innocent people (mainly muslims I might add) by the 100 of thousands!!!! I just dont understand how people of the free world so easily sleep with the devil – Israel is the canary in the mine! Freedom and democracy is the most precisous gift – how dare you treat it with such little respect and distain. Shame on you world! Wake up and stand up for what is good and right!

  42. 53 Ibrahim in UK
    October 7, 2009 at 17:00

    “What exactly have arabs got against Israel”

    The creation of Israel involved evicting the Arabs from Palestine, destroying the Arab villages and creating a new Jewish state in it’s place populated by Jewish immigrants, and forbidding the Arabs from returning home. The earlier Zionists also dreamt of an Israel that expanded into parts of Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon. Then there is the daily suffering of Arabs living under Israeli occupation today, Israel’s disregard for international law.
    That Israel is a successful advanced state does not elevate them above the law nor sanctify their crimes. By the “free worlds” own standards, Israel is violating their laws.

    • 54 Corinna
      October 7, 2009 at 22:23

      I replied to your post here but for some reason it wasnt posted. I wonder why – I put a lot of effort into my post and I would like at least to know why it wasnt included. If the moderators could answer me please it would be appreciated.

  43. 55 Corinna
    October 9, 2009 at 17:44

    The creation of Israel to my understanding and from which seems to be well documented – is that the land was split into two parts initially. One for the Jews and one for the arabs, The arabs living here at the time refused to accept this and accepted the call from neighbouring arab countries to leave whilst they destroy the Jewish State. Israel won. Now why should the Jews who had wanted to initially to live side my side with the arabs but who chose to leave and have their neighbouring Jews slaughtered, owe these arabs anything? Would you? And yet again and again Israel offers to share the land. A point that always seems to be lost is it seems to me the only people that have ever discussed a Palestinian state is Israel. Before 1967 no one heard of a Palestinian State.
    Israel didnt just dream of a larger Israel she was promised it and yet gladly accepted much much less. Israel judges itself harder then the rest of the world can ever do. The fact that the Palestinian leaders have so little regard for their own is nothing to do with Israel. The Palestinians have been given Billions!! and what have they done with it? NOTHING and why? because they are being used as a weapon against Israel. No one in the arab world cares if there is a Palestinian State or not. Most arabs care little for Palestinians – look how they are treated in Lebanon for example.

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