Two US government entities in Tel Aviv will not respond to continued Hamas involvement with UNRWA, which would raise questions about the legality of continued US assistance to UNRWA, since it is illegal for the US to aid any entity which engages the services of those who are affiliates of FTO’s- foreign terrorist organizations.
Our news agency and research center, which provides news coverage of US funded UNRWA facilities in the Middle East, posed reasonable questions to the representatives of US AID and the US embassy in Tel Aviv, in which our office asked if the US government will demand that UNRWA dismiss employees affiliated with Hamas, which has been designated by US law as an FTO- a foreign terrorist organization.
We have also asked if the US embassy or US AID will ask UNRWA to delete aspects of the UNRWA curriculum learned by 492,000 students, which incites thousands of children to violence.
We have also asked US AID and the US embassy if they will ask UNRWA to stop paramilitary training in the UNRWA schools, which is provided by Hamas.
Our agency has not received an answer to these questions despite numerous queries, both in writing and on the phone.
Perhaps your staff can look into this subject.
Here is a link to our comprehensive news coverage of UNRWA education for your perusal.
Below are the documents of unanswered queries to the US embassy and the US AID.
(Unanswered) query to Press section of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv.
September 30, 2014
Over the past 26 years, our agency has conducted extensive news investigations of UNRWA, and we have documented that the vast majority of UNRWA employees in Gaza are affiliated with Hamas, defined under US law as a FTO, a foreign terror organization.
Why does the US State Dep’t and US AID not condition further aid to UNRWA on the dismissal of all UNRWA employees who are affiliated with Hamas?
We note that the US allocates new funds to UNRWA without such conditions.
unanswered letter to US AID
Jerusalem, July 4, 2013
Mr. Bruce Gelband
US Embassy Tel Aviv, USAID
71 Hayarkon Street,
Re: Incitement against Israel and encouragement to take violent means against Israel in the textbooks of the schools in the refugee camps in Eastern Jerusalem, schools which are supported by “UNRWA”
On behalf of my client, “The Center For Near East Policy Research Ltd.”, I hereby wish to inform you as follows:
- Within its framework, the Center has undertaken, in addition to its other activities, thorough research into the contents of the textbooks of the “Sho’afat” and Kalandia” refugee camp schools in Eastern Jerusalem, which were established and are to date still supported, by the “United Nations Relief and Works Agency” – “UNRWA” (hereby known as: “The Schools“).
- As proven clearly in the research undertaken by my client, the textbooks, which are taught in the schools and which were prepared, in fact, by the Palestinian authorities, incite against Israel, undermine its existence, encourage “The Right of Return” of the Palestinians by violent means, among others by “jihad” and blood, a process which is meant to bring about the destruction of the State of Israel (hereby known as: “Hostile Content“).
- Moreover, the textbooks used in UNRWA-funded schools never acknowledge any Jewish rights in “Palestine”, nor any Jewish past in the Land of Israel. Israel is almost never shown on any map and no city is ever identified as a Jewish city. Israel is delegitimized, and demonized in these texts and no peaceful solution to the Arab-Israel conflict is ever discussed. Attached please find an article written by Dr. Arnon Groiss on behalf of the Center, which speaks for itself.
- The following are a few quotations from the textbooks:
– “The number of the Palestinians in the world is close to nine millions… Four and a half millions live in the Diaspora outside of Palestine… Most of them are refugees who wait to return to the motherland after having been expelled from it…” National Education, Grade 4, Part 1 (2011) p. 43
– “The [refugee] camp is not considered an original home for the Palestinian refugee. Rather, it is a temporary place where he has been forced to live. All the Palestinians wait for the return of every Palestinian to his city or village from which he was made to emigrate.” Islamic Education, Grade 6, Part 1 (2011) p. 69.
- The “Right of Return” is part and parcel of the discussion of the conflict. It appears in poems and stories, such as the one in which a father is showing to his son the ownership deeds of the land they owned in the coastal plain and “the keys of our house which we were forced to leave by the Israeli 1948 occupation”, and the son promises to keep it.
- Besides, there are language exercises using this theme such as the following one:
“Activity 2: Let us fill in the empty space with the appropriate noun…
The …[refugee]… dreams of returning to his homeland.”
Our Beautiful Language, Grade 5, Part 1 (2011) p. 91
- Especially interesting in this context is the use of poems in order to strengthen among the students the sense that the return is inevitable. The poems add an emotional dimension to the issue and reveal one of its characteristics that is not usually evident in other forms of discussion of the “Right of Return:We Shall Return
Tomorrow we shall come back and the ages shall listen
To the footfalls during the return
We shall return with the resounding storms
With the sacred lightening and the star
With the winged hopes and the songs
With the soaring vulture and the eagle
Yes! The thousands victims shall return
Victims of oppression shall open every door”
(Our Beautiful Language, Grade 7, Part 1 (2002) p. 3)
“We Shall Return
Return, return, we shall return
Borders shall not exist, nor citade
“We Shall Return
Return, return, we shall return
Borders shall not exist, nor citadels and fortresses
Cry out, O those who have left:
We shall return!
We shall return to the homes, to the valleys, to the mountains
Under the flag of glory, Jihad and struggle
With blood, sacrifice [fida’], fraternity and loyalty
We shall return
We shall return, O hills; [we] shall return, O heights
We shall return to childhood; [we] shall return to youth
To Jihad in the hills; [to] harvest in the land”
(Our Beautiful Language, Grade 5, Part 1 (2011) p. 50)
(Emphasized by the undersigned)
- The terms Jihad, struggle and blood imply that the implementation of the “Right of Return” does not stand alone but rather comes within the wider context of the liberation struggle against Israel, which necessitates a few references to this latter issue
- In the light of the above quotes and as summed up by Dr. Groiss in his article:
“The manifestations of the “Right of Return” in the PA textbooks taught in UNRWA’s schools are not nostalgic literary pieces. Rather, as presented to the Palestinian students and shown here, the “Right of Return” plays a prominent role in the Palestinian political vision of a continued struggle against a delegitimized and demonized Israel until its eventual destruction. The educational services provided by UNRWA to Palestinian students thus help to propagate this non-peaceful line, in absolute contradiction to the Agency’s declared mission”.
- Therefore and given the fact that your country economically supports UNRWA, we hereby wish to make the following request of you:
1.- To demand that the schools immediately erase from the textbooks any content which denies the existence of the State of Israel or undermines it, and/or encourages, directly or indirectly, “The right of return”, and/or the use of any violence of any kind.
2.- To condition the continuation of the economic aid which your government gives to UNRWA on the erasing from the textbooks any hostile content as described above and to demand that the schools, without derogating from the above, do not and will not transmit to the pupils any hostile material orally or by any other including electronic means.
3.- If, despite the above, a school, some of the schools or all of them do not act in accordance with the above, your government will immediately stop the economic aid which is given them.
4.- To demand towards the end of every school year ( around May-June), as a precondition of the continuation of the economic aid which your government gives to the school, a written confirmation from the Ministry of Education of Israel that the textbooks of the following school year follow the criteria as specified above.
This letter does not constitute a waiver of any claim and/or exhaust any claim of my client.
Chenia Schorr-Stolberg, Adv.