At a time when news of renewed aid to UNRWA from the US, Canada, the UK, Saudi Arabia, Norway and Germany now dominate the headlines, the time has come for a dispassionate perspective from the vantage point of a social work professional who has studied UNRWA for more than 33 years, producing monographs, studies, articles and films, in cooperation with Jewish and Arab experts, advised by academics who hold PHD’s in Islamic studies.
UNRWA does not create policies on its own.
Meeting on six occasions with the staff of the United Nations Secretary General in New York, it has become clear that the pedagogic guidelines for UNRWA emanate only from donor nations who mandate that text and teachers for UNRWA will be supplied by the “host governments”:.
UNRWA recognizes the Palestine Liberation Organization as the host government in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Jerusalem , which oversees a school system run by the nascent Palestine Authority.
Having met with the head of the PA Ministry of Education. Dr. Nayim Abu Hummus, on the day that the new PA school books were issued, on August 1, 2000, Dr. Abu Hummus was proud to say that the PA would now supply UNRWA with PA school teachers and PA school books as the exclusive textbook source to be used in UNRWA schools which operate in the 59 UNRWA refugee facilities in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Jerusalem, acting under the authority of COGAT, also known as the Israel Civil Administration of the Israel Defense Forces.
Today, with continuing endorsement of the Israel security establishment, UNRWA spends 58% of its 1.5 billion dollar budget on education, with donations that emanate allocations from more than seventy diplomatic missions and more than thirty international humanitarian organizations .
It would seem like a perfect logistical arrangement.
After all, the PA represents the first autonomous Palestinian Arab entity to produce its own school books and its own teachers, and the 321,000 students in these UNRWA educational facilities are assured free education, from nursery school until the tenth grade, with finance assured from a plethora of donor nations,.
Yet there is a fly in the ointment, like an elephant in the room which you cannot ignore: PA education does not adhere to peaceful principles of the United Nations,
With no objection raised from the government of Israel, the PA has created a new school curriculum for UNRWA schools which indoctrinates the next generation to believe in “right of return by force of arms” to villages that existed before 1948.
Having commissioned academic examinations of all 1000 texts that the PA supplied to UNRWA, having directed 24 films on the premises of UNRWA schools which use PA teachers, the only conclusion that you can reach is that the powers that be in Israel must not allow unsupervised PA education to continue, even if continues under the aegis of a recognized UN agency.
UNRWA policies do not only represent an affront to Jews.
Speaking as a social work professional, is it y appropriate for a humanitarian agency to coerce millions of these descendants of Arab refugees from the 1948 war to live in the indignity of refugee facilities, under the false premise and promise that they will be one day be repatriated to homes and villages that no longer exist.
The authority for the PA to control education rests with one country: Israel. With a new knesset and a new government in formation, the time has come for the citizens of Israel to stand up and be counted.
UNRWA indoctrination of the next generation for war will continue so long as Israel allows the PA to run its schools without a veto from the COGAT and the government of Israel.
Full disclosure: After earning a Master’s Degree in Social Work forty years ago, my ambition was to work for UNRWA, to help Arab refugees to get on with their lives, instead of enduring the sentence of refugee life for perpetuity.
Solve the refugee issue, you take the fire out of the PLO.