Ramallah: Israeli police have begun distributing colouring books in Palestinian schools inside the Green Line in a move that has been described as a propaganda effort targeting young children.
The books appear aimed at encouraging young Palestinian citizens of Israel to join the Israeli forces in the future.
Palestinians who live inside the Green Line do not join the Israeli law enforcement authorities nor are they drafted to the Israeli occupation forces. Palestinian citizens of Israel are the indigenous people of Palestine who were not expelled or forced to flee by the invading Jewish militias in 1948. After almost two decades of living under military rule, they were given Israeli citizenship, but continue to face what they say is systematic discrimination as a minority.
The books were distributed in schools in the predominantly Palestinian town of Umm Al Faham.
The Palestinian Higher Follow Up Committee inside the Green Line has categorically rejected the actions of the Israeli police, stating that it was not right of the Israeli police to sneak into elementary schools in the town and distribute the booklets to the students. The committee vowed to take all necessary measures to ensure the Israeli police do not continue this initiative in other Palestinian schools inside the Green Line.
The Yaffa 48 website highlights the themes included in the colouring book, which is all about the story of two policemen (Amir and Reem) who joined the Israeli police and have a bright future as a result.
The Parents’ Committee in Umm Al Fahem said in a statement that the Israeli police has been working on a program to encourage Palestinian citizens to join the Israeli police and get involved in the civil service, which are both rejected by Palestinians inside the Green Line who constitute more than 20 per cent of Israel’s entire population.
“We announce this crystal clear that we do not allow our children to have such suspicious booklets in their hands and that the Israeli police do not have the right to distribute materials that encourage our children to join the Israeli police,” reads the statement of the Parents’ Committee.
“We will stand up against all the attempts and activities of the Israeli police and we will stick to all ways at our disposal to ensure the Israeli police do not succeed.”
Last week, the Israeli police held a public conference in the village of Al Azeer inviting all those above the age of 18 to attend under the theme of engaging further with the Israeli police and encouraging them to join this force.
“Israel only cares for taming the Palestinian youth and making them join the Israeli police,” said Haneen Al Zoabi, a Palestinian lawmaker at the Israeli parliament, the Knesset.
On the surface, she said, the Israeli police seek to introduce the Palestinian youth to their work, but deep down they want to expand their forces at the expense of the Palestinian citizens. “We fully understand the police work as par with their behavioural attitude on the ground, not by their empty claimed slogans,” Al Zoabi said on her Facebook page. “Israeli police do not serve the Palestinians [inside the Green Line] at all. The Israeli police should initially change their mentality, attitudes, missions, values and performance and should meanwhile fight their enmity and rivalry with us.”
She stressed that it is not a matter of the number of police stations but it is basically the attitude of the Israeli police who had killed 13 Palestinian citizens of Israel in the Second Palestinian Intifada along with tens of others, last of whom was Ya’aqoub Abu Al Qeean. “We will never serve a mentality that sees our sole existence as a threat that should be tackled violently.”