Why does the State Department block the publication of the congressional investigation of Palestinian texts taught in schools run by the United Nations? That is the question two years after the chairman of the Senate’s Near East subcommitee, James Risch, asked Congress’s Government Accountability Office to look at the schoolbooks now used by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

Senator Risch ordered the study after Idaho constituents introduced him 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. The project is financed in part by the Simon Wiesenthal Center and published by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.

UNRWA is an American issue because, among other reasons, America is the agency’s largest funder, donating 30% of the $1.2 billion UNRWA budget. Some 54% of the UNRWA budget is allocated to UNRWA education.

The GAO completed its comprehensive report on UNRWA education at the end of April. Sources at the GAO confirm that the GAO study documents that Palestinian Authority school books used by UNRWA work against peace and reconciliation, and insert war indoctrination throughout the PA school books.

However, on May 3, the director of public affairs of the GAO, Chuck Young, issued a statement that the State Dept not allow the report to be released to the US Congress which had ordered the report in order to provide a guide to further US funding of UNRWA.

Why? Mr. Young referred that question to the State Department.

I wrote to America’s Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman. No answer. I wrote to the new Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo. No answer. I flew to New York and met with the staff of Ambassador Nikki Haley at the United Nations. No answer.

A perfunctory answer emanated from an official of State Department, who referred the question to the GAO. The GAO repeated that this was a US State Department decision, not theirs.

So the decision obtains. The GAO report on UNRWA education is officially blocked from the press, the Congress, and even from the Trump administration.

Why would the State Department not want to disclose what half a million students study in UNRWA schools that America itself funds?

After all, these schoolbooks reach half a million UNRWA students and are publicly disseminated. The books all appear on the internet. Why should the content of UNRWA school books not be disclosed?

Publication of such a GAO report would make it difficult for the government to maintain its policy that the nascent Palestinian Authority constitutes a bona fide peace partner. Perhaps that is the reason that education is not being mentioned in the reports that have surfaced concerning the new American peace initiative.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, issued a statement about the refusal of the State Department to disclose the GAO investigation of UNRWA education. “We urge this decision be reversed,” he said. “UNRWA needs refordm. 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.”

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

1 COMMENT

  1. This is a policy of the nabobs of the State Department, the ‘Deep Government’ that runs things in the absence of specific Administration orders to the contrary. Another example is the passports that STILL list Jerusalem rather than Israel on those passports.
    Only direct Administration efforts can or will reverse this.

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