Having read the UNRWA official response to their critics, UNRWA declares that they found some 3% of the total pages inconsistent with UN values of neutrality, gender equity and age-appropriateness, but they do not say what they have done with those pages. UNRWA says that they issued some additional materials for the teachers with no reference to their actual use in class vis-a-vis the books.
In other words, the shocking textual paragraphs, pictures, maps, poems, exercises, etc. are still widely used in UNRWA schools, as before, and the same goes for second semester books that came out recently .
Examples of items that need specific answers from UNRWA for each case are as follows*:
- A terrorist attack on an Israeli civilian bus by molotov cocktails is described in a story as “a barbecue party [haflat shiwaa in Arabic] – Arabic Language, Grade 9, Part 1 (2017) p. 61.
- A verse in a poem describes the fate of the Jews in the country following its supposed liberation: “I swear! I will sacrifice my blood to water the land of the noble ones, to remove the usurper [code name for Israel] from my land and to exterminate the remnants of the foreigners…” – Our Beautiful Language, Grade 3, Part 2 (2017) p. 64.
- A picture of Dalal al-Mughrabi, who led the terrorist attack on an Israeli bus on the Coastal Highway in 1978, in which over thirty civilians – men, women and children – were murdered, appears alongside a text describing her as a martyr who “painted with her struggle a picture of challenge and heroism which has made her memory eternal in our hearts and minds.” – Arabic Language, Grade 5, Part 2 (2017) p. 51.
- The refugees will return to their former places of residence which will be part of sovereign Palestine: “We shall return to hoist Palestine’s flag… on our green hills.” – Arabic Language, Grade 5, Part 1 (2017) p. 82.
- A cartoon appears in one of the books showing an Israeli bulldozer digging beneath the mosque on the Temple Mount thus explicitly accusing Israel of planning to destroy it – Social Studies, Grade 7, Part 1 (2017) p. 64.
- A poem describes the Jews as the Devil’s aides in the context of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem – Arabic Language, Grade 7, Part 1 (2017) p. 66
- The Hebrew inscription is erased from a coin of the British Mandate period – Mathematics, Grade 6, Part 2 (2017) p. 63.
- Another piece denies the Jews’ share in Jerusalem’s history: “Jerusalem is an Arab city built by our Arab forefathers thousands of years ago. Jerusalem is a holy city for Muslims and Christians.” – National and Social Upbringing, Grade 3, Part 1 (2017) p. 28.
- An assignment next to a map of the whole country under the name “Palestine” presents Israel’s pre-1967 territory as occupied Palestine: “We will distinguish between the Palestinian cities occupied by the Zionists in 1948 and the ones that they occupied in 1967.” – Social Studies, Grade 7, Part 1 (2017) p. 56.
- The whole country appears in one color with the name “Palestine” next to it and with the Palestinian flag flown above – National and Social Upbringing, Grade 4, Part 1 (2017) p. 7.
And these are only few examples out of many. There are cases in which Israeli cities such as Ramleh are described as occupied Palestinian cities and other pieces exalt Jihad and martyrdom in the Palestinian context, etc. Moreover, the whole attitude in the 2017 books used by UNRWA has turned into war indoctrination “for the liberation of Palestine” with almost complete avoidance of the use of the name “Israel”, even within its numerous demonizing descriptions, and the use, instead, of the term “Zionist occupation”. This war indoctrination is intensified by inserting remarks about various aspects of the conflict into non-related school subjects such as biology, physics, mathematics, chemistry, and in non-related historical subjects such as the opposition to Prophet Muhammad in Mecca, the destruction of Carthage by the Romans, the French Revolution, etc.
In short, UNRWA’s response is far away from answering the acute problems raised in the questions directed to it by its critics.
* Dr. Arnon Groiss, who holds a PHD in Islamic Studies from Princeton, researched these findings.
Film by Dr. Deborah Soffen, Pediatrician from Princeton,, NJ:
UNRWA POLICY OF CHILD ABUSE