Most recently, a constituent of Sen. James Risch (R-IDAHO), the chairman of the US Senate Near East Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, asked the GAO (Government Accountability Office) about the status of the GAO investigation of Palestinian Authority school books now used by UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, texts which are now rife with war indoctrination. (1)
Senator Risch had ordered the GAO study after his Idaho constituent introduced the Senator to the findings of the Center for Near East Policy Research, which purchases, translates and evaluates all schoolbooks that Palestinian Arab children learn in all UNRWA schools.
In September 2017, the Center for Near East Policy Research brought Senator Risch a new study of the 2016 -2017 schoolbooks, financed in part by the Simon Wiesenthal Center and published by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center. (2)
In February 2018, the Center for Near East Policy Research completed an updated study of the newest PA school books provided to UNRWA, and determined that the 2018 PA schoolbooks provided for UNRWA continued to prepare a new generation for war. (3)
Chuck Young, managing director of public affairs of the GAO provided the answer for Senator Risch: “I checked with our team doing the work on Palestinian textbooks that you inquired about… the State Department indicated the report will need to be classified and cannot be released publicly. GAO must follow such classification decisions so we do not expect to issue a public report at this point. It would be available only to those with the necessary secret security clearance and a need to know, such as Members of Congress”
This leads to several unanswered questions: Why would the US State Department not want to disclose what half a million students study in US funded UNRWA schools? These schoolbooks reach half a million students of UNRWA and are publicly disseminated. Why should the content of schoolbooks paid for in part by the US government not be disclosed? After all, The US donates 30% of the $1.2 billion UNRWA budget. 54% of the UNRWA budget is allocated to UNRWA education.
On May 3, 2018, in official correspondence, Mr. Young of the GAO confirmed that their report on UNRWA education was completed. In the next sentence, Mr. Young affirmed that the US Government had classified the report and that it would not be shared with the public.
A theory: Since all indications are that the GAO will document that Palestinian Authority school books used by UNRWA indeed work against peace and reconciliation, publication of such an official GAO report will make it impossible for the US government to maintain its policy that the nascent Palestinian Authority constitutes a bona fide peace partner.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, issued a statement that “We urge this decision be reversed,” he said. “UNRWA needs reform. Even UN Secretary General Guterres said so. The idea that a study about what the Palestinians teach their children in textbooks should be withheld from the public is unconscionable and unacceptable. When textbooks reflect a rejection of the reality of Israel and the legitimacy of Israel as a neighbor, we will see another generation offered up by their leaders as cannon fodder and unable to accept a peace offer.”