ith the launch of the new school year in the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA education system, it pains me to report that US funds flow to these schools, without constraints to UNRWA/ PA schools – funded in great part by US AID , which allocates $359 million a year to UNRWA, representing thirty percent of the $1.2 billion UNRWA budget. which emanates from 68 donor nations. 54% of these donor funds educate 492,000 students in UNRWA schools in Judea, Samaria, Gaza & Jerusalem.
Considering the fact that President Trump was the first US President to personally see and react to the PA/UNRWA textbooks, it is even more disturbing that the US would simply fund the books as a matter of business as usual.
As the director of the agency which conducted the first comprehensive study of Palestinian Authority text books used by UNRWA, underwritten by Simon Wiesenthal Center, it is imperative to address a false statement issued by UNRWA that the U.S. and EU approved text books which “made significant updates in 2016 to address concerns” raised by these text books. This UNRWA statement provided the basis for a positive NSC (National Security Council) assessment of UNRWA education.
Having covered UNRWA education for thirty years, at no time have the US or the EU ever been given the opportunity by UNRWA or the PA to review or approve textbooks used in any PA or UNRWA school. We have received letters on record from US AID, which reports that, as a matter of policy, US AID will not examine texts in PA or UNRWA schools.
The following points address the issues that UNRWA raised concerning the first comprehensive study of PA/UNRWA textbooks.
- This is the new study:
- Newsworthy items taken from those new PA/UNRWA textbooks:
- Analysis of the UNRWA role in the education of Palestinian Arab children
- UNRWA dismissed the study out of hand:
- Refutation of UNRWA statement by author of the study of PA/UNRWA texts.
- Statement from The Center For Near East Policy Research to the UNRWA response
- Short Investigative films of UNRWA, filmed on location:
Where do we go from here? Urge donor nations to adopt the “UNRWA Reform Initiative” to condition funds on reforms consonant with UN values: