The appointment of Swiss diplomat Phillipe Lazzarini as the new head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency is a window of opportunity for donor nations, which oversee UNRWA policy, to demand a reform of the agency. This is especially true regarding the its schools, which for the past 20 years have used the Palestinian Authority curriculum to indoctrinate Palestinian Arab children to conquer all of Palestine by force of arms, a goal hardly appropriate to a UN agency.
Here are 15 policy challenges which the new UNRWA commissioner will now have to grapple with.
1. UNRWA textbooks which do not match UN values of peaceful reconciliation. The agency has introduced a new schoolbook which features Dalal el Mugrabi – whose terror squad commandeered a bus and murdered 38 passengers, including 13 children – as a role model for UNRWA pupils. In the new UNRWA text, Dalal is portrayed in full terror garb, followed by a lesson plan which presents her life story for adulation and emulation. In another new text, UNRWA pupils are taught to chant and sing a poem which encourages children to “exterminate the usurpers” after the Arabs return to control of Palestine. The new commissioner could confiscate such textbooks.
2. UNRWA contracts for exclusive use of Palestinian Authority schoolbooks in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and Gaza. Like all UN agencies, UNRWA is supposed to run schools based on the UN slogan “Peace Begins Here.” PA education, however, runs schools based on the ideology of the Palestine Liberation Organization: Conquest of Palestine by force of arms. The new commissioner can cancel the UNRWA-PA contract.
3. UNRWA schools are adorned with posters and murals of “martyrs” who died while murdering Jews. The new UNRWA commissioner can order the removal of all violent images in agency facilities.
4. El Kutla youth clubs in UNRWA schools inspire pupils with the mantra of the armed struggle from a young age. The new UNRWA commissioner can order El Kutla clubs to cease and desist from violent incitement.
5. Military parades frequent UNRWA premises. The new commissioner can order an end to military parades in any UNRWA facility.