Published on June 10, 2010
Hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars are sunk annually into the coffers of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), an organization which uses much of the funding for classroom education that promotes terrorism and the obliteration of Israel, representatives of the Jerusalem-based Center for Near East Policy Research, Ltd., said at a Capitol Hill film screening Wednesday.
The screening was the premier public showing of “For the Sake of Nakba,” a documentary commissioned in part by the center and filmed last month in the UNRWA refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to expose the radical indoctrination in UNRWA schools, Center for Near East Policy Research Bureau Chief David Bedein said.
The screening was scheduled to coincide with the Wednesday meeting between President Obama and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Mr. Bedein said his organization was prompted to make the film after being asked how it could prove there was terrorism- and martyrdom-promoting curricula in schools run by UNWRA, an agency created as a temporary measure to provide for the Palestinian refugees in the wake of Israel’s War of Independence in 1948 – an event many Palestinians call “the Nakba,” or catastrophe.
The vast majority of the day-to-day UNRWA operations are run by Palestinians hired by the agency. Many of these people are members of various terror groups, according to Mustafa Sawaf, editor-in-chief of Hamas-associated daily Felesteen. Mr. Sawaf wrote as much in an April letter to UNRWA Director of Operations John Ging.
The documentary, which was shot over a period of several weeks in May by a team of Americans led by a Palestinian cameraman, shows school children of various ages, UNWRA employees and Palestinian politicians either parroting back the martyrdom-glorifying education they are receiving in school or extolling the virtues of the Hamas-backed education used in UNRWA schools.
UNRWA students are taught that all of Israel is occupied Palestinian land and that only through violence can the “liberation” of Palestine be achieved, according to the film. One 12th grade textbook compares martyrdom – dying in the course of waging war in the name of Islam – to taking a wedding vow.
One clip shows an UNRWA student no older than 12 or 13 standing next to his teacher on a stage and giving a speech to his classmates on May 15, Independence Day in Israel but “Nakba Day” in UNRWA schools. He is talking about the importance of liberating Palestine from the Jewish “pigs”; his teacher nods approvingly.
No UNRWA school teaches students about Israel, Palestinian Education Minister Lamis al-Alami confirms in the documentary.
“I must say that in the first place it’s a Palestinian curriculum and we are free to do whatever we want, “ Ms. al-Alami says.
Later in the film she later compares “the Nakba” to the Holocaust.
“To the Palestinians, the importance of this Nakba have the equal impact on the Palestinians that the Holocaust have on the Israelis,” she says.
The European Union and the United States each contribute $230 million to UNRWA yearly. Of that, approximately $500 million is spent on education – and as it is the policy of the agency to adopt the host entity’s teaching plans, this money goes to fund Hamas-backed curricula.
Rather than work toward a final solution of relocation for the Palestinians, UNRWA, the annual budget of which is more than $1 billion, and the Palestinian Authority encourage those in the West Bank and Gaza “to remain refugees… [to] create a state that would essentially replace the state of Israel,” the film’s narrator says.
Unlike all other U.N. refugee agencies, UNRWA does not come under the mandate of the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees.
UNRWA “should have been folded in” to the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees once the latter agency was created, Ms. Kushner said. “UNRWA has a policy of keeping [Palestinians] refugees. Unless they’re back in Israel, they’re still [considered] refugees.”
In January the Canadian government cut its annual $10 million in funding to UNRWA, saying it was concerned about the lack of transparency in the use of the money. Representatives from the Center for Near East Policy Research hope their visit to Washington this week will go some way toward inspiring the Obama administration to do the same