As President elect Donald Trump launches his transition team, he will undoubtedly take a good look at US Middle East Policy. The new President will have to cope with the fact that the US government pays for one third of the 1.2 billion dollar budget for UNRWA, an agency which perpetuates the refugee status of five million Palestinian Arabs for perpetuity. Even worse, the US Funded UNRWA school system runs the Palestinian Authority war education curriculum, which indoctrinates students to take up arms for the “right of return” to villages where their  grandparents left in 1948. 

Since the motto of UNRWA is: “PEACE STARTS HERE”, the new Trump administration may now wish to finally introduce a peace curriculum into UNRWA schools. Here is how President Trump can accomplish that goal. 

Stop De-legitimization of the State of Israel and of the Jewish Presence in the Country

  • Every map that shows today’s political boundaries in the region should mark Israel’s pre-1967 territory by the name “Israel”. Such a territory must not be left un-named and certainly should not be named “Palestine”, as that constitutes a distortion of the present situation on the ground.
  • Israel should be presented as an ordinary sovereign state in every text mentioning the region’s states currently.
  • Every reference to a region, settlement or site within Israel’s pre-1967 armistice lines must not describe such a region, settlement or site as exclusively Palestinian.
  • Every discussion within the books of the holy places in the country should refer to the Jewish holy places alongside the Muslim and Christian ones. Any reference to a place which happens to be sacred to Jews (such as the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem) should state that fact.
  • Any discussion of subjects related to population and demography issues in the country should include the number of Jews living there (6.3 million in 2016). Any map that shows cities in the country should include the important Jewish cities as well (such as Tel Aviv, Eilat, Ashdod, etc.).
  • The books should not use circumlocutions such as “the lands of 48”, “the Interior” or “the Green Line” instead of the phrase “Israeli territory”.
  • Historical documents should not be falsified (the British Mandate stamp, for example, that has been reproduced in one of the schoolbooks).

Cease Demonization of Israel and Jews

  • Schoolbooks should not include pieces which virulently demonize Israel/Jews, or de-humanize them, or any description that goes beyond the presentation of Israel and/or the Jews as an ordinary adversary with its own rights, interests and positions.
  • It is much desired to add to the books the still non-existent material that deals with Israel and the Jews objectively (for example, pieces that talk about the Israeli government structure, economy, science and technology, the Hebrew culture, Jewish history, etc.), which might balance the enormous anti-Israeli critical material in the books.
  • It is important to stress in the books that, in spite of the conflict, the Jewish/Israeli individual is also a human being, apart from being an adversary, and should be treated accordingly.

Advocacy of Peace Instead of War, Jihad and Martyrdom 

  • The books should emphasize that peace with the State of Israel is a strategic choice and that negotiations are the only way to achieving a solution to the conflict.
  • The books should refrain from any presentation of an armed or violent struggle as a means for solving the conflict.
  • The traditional Islamic ideals of Jihad and martyrdom should be mentioned in historical contexts only and not as part of a future endeavor within the conflict.
  • The territorial struggle against Israel should be restricted to the areas of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip alone and not include Israel’s pre-1967 territories
  • Any discussion of what is termed “Nakbah” should stress the fact that the Nakbah was a direct result of a war initiated by the Palestinian side itself and not of a Jewish aggression, contrary to what is said today in the books.
  • Within this context, Palestinian children should be taught to recognize their own party’s shared responsibility for past events and not restrict that to the adversary alone. An example: the so-called “Separation Wall” which was built for defending the Israeli population against suicide bombing attacks by Palestinians.
  • The so-called “Right of Return” should be presented as a demand representing the Palestinian party’s position regarding the solution of what is termed “the Refugee Problem”, while the solution itself will be achieved in the framework of the negotiations between the two parties and on the basis of mutual agreement only.
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.

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