Following the renewal of the UNRWA mandate, whether or not UNRWA donors will demand policy change remains a huge question mark
Israel Hayom recently reported that the UNRWA war curriculum continues unabated to date. And according to a recent report in the Middle East Monitor, the UAE just increased their contributions to UNRWA despite this. This comes after Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Japan and Qatar did likewise in response to the US withdrawing their funds from the organization. None of these increased contributions are accompanied by demands that UNRWA end their anti-Semitic war curriculum and educate children to support peace.
In fact, in an exclusive interview with an EU spokesperson, the European official refused to say anything critical about UNRWA: “The EU is currently the biggest donor to UNRWA. We reiterate our full support to the work of the Agency and are working with UNRWA as it faces the challenge of filling the still outstanding financial gap. The EU remains a staunch and predictable supporter of UNRWA, both politically and financially. On November 15, the members of the UN 4th Committee overwhelming voted in favor of the resolution to extend UNRWA’s mandate for 3 years. It is a clear sign that the EU and EU Member States stand united in its strong support for UNRWA, recognizing its unique and vital role in providing essential services to Palestinian refugees and contributing to stability in the region.”
When pressed on the anti-Semitic war indoctrination presently being taught in UNRWA schools, the official declared: “The EU does not finance the conception, production or distribution of Palestinian textbooks. The European Union supports the Palestinian Authority by contributing to payments of salaries and pensions for over 30,000 teachers, channeled through the PEGASE mechanism. The issue of the Palestinian curriculum has recently been discussed in the European Parliament, which stressed the importance of values such as peace, freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination within education.”
“The EU is funding a study that is carried out by an independent and internationally recognized research institute,” the official added. “The study is intended to provide a comprehensive, non-biased and objective analysis of the current Palestinian textbooks…”When the EU official was informed that 54% of the UNRWA budget goes to education which includes getting the PA to produce schoolbooks that include anti-Semitic war indoctrination, the EU official was speechless and had nothing to say in response.
Other Western UNRWA donor nationsc continue their commitment to support UNRWA despite the anti-Semitic war curriculum in the UNRWA schools. As a German Federal Foreign Office spokesman stated, “Germany welcomes the extension of the UNRWA mandate. We continue to be in active dialogue with UNRWA including on issues such as neutrality. In cases of non-compliance, Germany calls for clarification and appropriate measures within the UN rules and regulations. As an important donor to UNRWA, we expect that UNRWA continues to implement UN neutrality standards including peace education…” However, when Dr. Felix Klein, the German Government envoy who monitors antii-Semitism, was asked to comment on the anti-Semitic war indoctrination in UNRWA schools, he declined to speak about anti-Semitic indoctrination financed by the German government outside of Germany.
Just like the German government, the British government is also in denial about UNRWA: “The UK Government has a zero-tolerance approach towards incitement of any kind. Our support to all partners – including UNRWA – is dependent on their neutrality and commitment to peace, and we take breaches of this extremely seriously. Where allegations against staff are made, we will raise these directly with partners to ensure that appropriate action is taken. UNRWA schools use the curriculum of their host country. Under its curriculum framework, UNRWA routinely reviews textbooks in line with UN values including neutrality. The Palestinian Authority has committed to adhere to the principle of non-violence and to take action against incitement to violence. The UK is committed to supporting the Palestinian Authority to ensure that the two state solution is viable and that children in the Occupied Palestinian Territories have access to quality education.”
“UK aid to the Palestinian Authority’s health and education sectors is exclusively used to pay the salaries of specially vetted teachers, doctors, nurses and midwives,” the official added. “This is subject to rigorous scrutiny, with each salary payment independently verified. UK aid has enabled over 26,000 young Palestinians to get an education through this support.” The British official also denied that they fund the production of the UNRWA schoolbooks. When the British official was informed that 54% of the UNRWA budget goes to education, which includes getting the PA to produce schoolbooks that include anti-Semitic war indoctrination, the British official had nothing to say in response.
Although the Center for Near East Policy Research conducted a thorough briefing for the Swiss embassy in Israel concerning the current UNRWA war curriculum, the Swiss embassy issued an evasive a statement that “Switzerland supports programs to promote good governance and respect for human rights…”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper,Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says that he is greatly disturbed that UNRWA donor nations are not doing more to promote reform: “I told a press conference at the UN some months ago that the Simon Wiesenthal Center calls for the end of UNRWA and for the UN and donor nations to create a new entity that would be free of corruption and would develop curriculum that would be pro-peace, teach Israel is a legitimate neighbor and stop venerating terrorists. The US was right to stop funding this agency. I have lobbied the German and Japanese governments who have increased their support to at least demand these fundamental changes in Palestinian education textbooks, teacher’s guides and curriculum.”
The US State Department concurred with Rabbi Cooper: “The fundamental business model and fiscal practices that have marked UNRWA for years – tied to UNRWA’s endlessly and exponentially expanding community of beneficiaries – are simply unsustainable and the organization has been in crisis mode for many years. The United States will not commit further funding to this irredeemably flawed operation. We are very mindful of, and deeply concerned with, the impact upon innocent Palestinians, especially school children, resulting from the failure of UNRWA and key members of the regional and international donor community to reset the way UNRWA does business.”
Former Israeli Communications Minister Ayoob Kara added: “If UNRWA’s money went to building homes for the refugees, all of the cities in Gaza and the West Bank would look different. They would have nice Palestinian cities, just as Israel which absorbed all of the Jewish refugees from the Arab world managed to build nice cities. But instead, all of their money goes to supporting terror indoctrination. Because of that, I am very happy that there is increased international support for stopping this, which is necessary for the free world.”
In conclusion, Yaakov Hagoel, Head of the Department for Countering Antisemitism. of the World Zionist Organization, liked the idea of calling upon the donor nations to make their continued contributions to UNRWA dependent upon reforms that will lead to an end of the anti-Semitic war indoctrination that is presently occurring in their schools: “UNRWA is one-sided against Israel. Everyone who harms the Jewish people and the State of Israel and does anti-Semitism, we must do everything against this. We will check into the option of applying pressure onto the donor countries.” The time has come for UNRWA donor nations to wake up and smell the coffee, and recognize that there is a true problem that must be dealt with. The time has come for UNRWA to be comprehensively reformed and to stop indoctrinating Palestinian children to support terrorism.