Since 1987, the Nahum Bedein Center for Near East Policy Research Ltd., located in Jerusalem and headed by David Bedein, has stood at the forefront of advocacy for UNRWA (United Nations Refugee Works Agency) policy change, addressing alleged misuse of donor funds and breaches of the UNRWA mandate “to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to registered Palestine refugees pending a just and lasting solution to their plight.”
Bedein, an MSW, has examined the Palestinian Authority school system since the first day that the PA began to issue its own textbooks (August 1, 2000), the time UNRWA adopted the PA school curriculum.
Having met with and received personal authorization from Yasser Arafat (PLO Chairman 1969-2004) to review all textbooks issued by the Palestinian Authority (used by UNRWA schools in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Gaza), Bedein engaged a journalist and scholar of Arabic education, Dr. Arnon Groiss, to review more 1,000 schoolbooks issued by the PA and used by UNRWA.
Groiss, who is fluent in Arabic, holds a PhD in Islamic Studies and served as deputy director of the Arabic division of the Israel Broadcasting Authority.
The following is a partial list of serious violations of the UNRWA mandate to help the 6.7 million descendants of Arab refugees from the 1948 war now registered with UNRWA:
• Terror advocacy conveyed by new Palestinian Authority textbooks used by UNRWA
• Hamas infiltration into the UNRWA schools and youth clubs
• Prolonged manipulation of Arabs to dwell as “refugees for perpetuity” in 59 UNRWA squalor camps, as pawns in the unresolved Arab Israel war
• UNRWA works with the PA to “erase” Israel from their maps, rather than using standard UN maps, which depict all UN members in good standing, including Israel
• Deliberate financial misrepresentations to international donors
I.) Current UNRWA Policy: Part of the Problem, Not Part of the Solution UNRWA continually requests more and more funds, with a budget that has swelled to $1.6 billion in less than three years.
Established with a “temporary” mandate by the UN General Assembly in 1949, UNRWA has done nothing to help Arab refugees and their families move on with their lives or seek a better future for themselves or their families.
Instead, UNRWA enshrines the “right of return by force of arms,” which envisions the elimination of Israel by flooding it with millions of Arab refugees.
II.) No UNRWA Support for a Two-State Solution Our review of more than 1,000 official textbooks of the PA, used by UNRWA, finds that both UNRWA and the PA reject the two-state solution because UNRWA and PA education are based on three fundamentals:
1. De-legitimization of Israel’s existence and the Jews’ very presence in the country, which includes denial of their history and the existence of any Jewish holy places there.
2. Demonization of both Israel and Jews, also religiously – with implications regarding the Jews’ image in the eyes of children who hail from a traditional Arab society.
3. The absence of a call for peace with Israel. Instead, there is a call for a violent struggle for the liberation of the whole country, including pre-1967 Israel. This struggle is given a religious color and terror is made an integral part thereof, encouraging the murder of Jews.
1. Israel’s Jewish citizens are considered foreign colonialists. (Social Studies, Grade 8, Part 2 , p. 34)
2. The country’s Jewish history is denied, including the existence of archaeological items proving it: “The conqueror has built for himself an artificial entity that derives its identity and the legitimacy of its existence from tales, legends and fantasies and has tried in various ways and means to create live material evidence for these legends, or archaeological architectural proofs that would determine their truth and authenticity, but in vain.” (Arabic Language – Academic Path, Grade 10, Part 2 , p. 68)
3. Existence of Jewish holy places in the country is denied, including the Western Wall in Jerusalem. In Arabic: “Al-Buraq Wall:” “The Al-Buraq Wall has been named after Al-Buraq [the divine beast] that carried the Messenger [of God, i.e., Muhammad] during the Nocturnal Journey [from Mecca to Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, according to Islamic belief] and the Ascension [to Heaven]. The AlBuraq Wall is part of the western wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque. Al-Aqsa Mosque, including the wall, is Palestinian land and an exclusive right of the Muslims.” (Islamic Education, Grade 5, Part 1  p. 63)
4. Having been considered foreign settlers, Jews in the country are not counted as legitimate inhabitants and the cities they built there, including Tel Aviv, are absent from maps in the texts used in PA schools. The PA school map, titled “Map of Palestine”, does not show any Jewish city, except the southern city of Eilat, which appears under its Arabic name, a desolate place where it was later built up – “Umm al-Rashrash”. (Social Studies, Grade 6, Part 1 , p. 6)
5. The Jews’ historical and religious ties to Jerusalem are ignored. According to the PA textbooks, Jerusalem was built by the Palestinians’ Arab ancestors (i.e., the
“Arabized” Canaanites and Jebusites) and is holy to Muslims and Christians alone. Jews are not mentioned in this context: “Jerusalem is an Arab city built by our Arab ancestors thousands of years ago. Jerusalem is holy only to Muslims and Christians.” (National and Social Upbringing, Grade 3, Part 1 (2020) p. 29)
6. A short historical description of the city’s names features a huge gap of 1,000 years between the Jebusites and the Romans, that is, the Jewish historical period. The name “Jerusalem” with its various forms that is used in hundreds of languages around the world is completely absent: “The city of Jerusalem was known as ‘Jebus’ after the Arab Jebusites who built it 5,000 years ago. When the Romans occupied it, they named it ‘Aelia’. Later on, it came to be known as ‘AlQuds’ or ‘Bayt al-Maqdis’, after the Muslims had conquered it at the hands of
Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab in 637 CE…”(Geography and Modern and Contemporary History of Palestine, Grade 10, Part 1 (2020) p. 43)
7. The woman commander of an attack on an Israeli civilian bus in 1978, which ended in the murder of over 30 Israeli civilians – men, women and children, transforms into a role-model for Palestinian children in a text introduced in the UNRWA schools in 2017 and republished each year. https://israelbehindthenews.com/2021/11/30/dalal-al-mughrabi-a-murderous-terroristas-a-role-model-in-palestinian-authority-schoolbooks-used-by-unrwa-2/
IV.) US Middle East Policy Recommendations to the House Foreign Affairs Committee and its Middle East Subcommittee
• Cancel the new UNRWA curriculum, which incorporates jihad, martyrdom and “right of return by force of arms” in UN schools that are supposed to promote the UN principle of “Peace Starts Here.”
• Cease paramilitary training for UNRWA students contiguous to UNRWA schools. UNRWA must demonstrate its commitment to UN principles for “peace education.”
• Insist that UNRWA dismiss employees affiliated with terror-affiliated groups, in accordance with laws on the books in Western nations, which prohibit the provision of aid to any agency that employs members of terror groups.
• Demand that UNRWA cancel connections with the informal UNRWA “youth ambassador” Mohammad Assaf who travels the world encouraging violence.
• Ask for a thorough audit of funds that flow to UNRWA via cash and bank transfer. This would address widespread documented reports of wasted resources, duplicity of services and flow of cash, especially the terror groups that have controlled UNRWA operations in Gaza since 2007.
• Introduce UNHCR standards to UNRWA to advance the resettlement of Arab refugees. UNRWA policy is that refugee resettlement would interfere with the “right of return” to Arab villages that existed before 1948. While UN rules will not allow UNHCR to replace UNRWA, nothing stops UNRWA from adopting the constructive working principles of UNHCR.
Note: Mr. Bedein had asked the US State Department if it would demand a change in the PA or curriculum, to advocate a two-state solution. To date, no response to this query.
UNRWA schools in Jenin and in Gaza have become virtual arsenals, leading us to ask the US State Department whether the US will ask for a weapons and ammunition inspection of UNRWA facilities. To date, no response to this query.
V.) Responding to Request for Information on UNRWA to the British Parliament To: A Senior Parliamentary Assistant at The House of Lords SW1A 0PW Parliament
Pleased to respond to your request to raise UNRWA policy issues at the UK Parliament.
Context: The UK is a major donor to UNRWA and can influence UNRWA policy.
The following questions challenged UK lawmakers to ask UNRWA to act in accordance with the values of the United Nations.
1. In 2017, UNRWA introduced a textbook which features a woman named Dalal el Mugrabi – whose terror squad commandeered a civilian bus and murdered more than 30 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. Why does the UK not ask for the removal of this and other such texts taught at United Nations schools?
2. UNRWA contracts for exclusive use of Palestinian Authority schoolbooks in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and Gaza. Like all UN agencies, UNRWA administers its schools under the UN slogan of “Peace Begins Here.” PA education, however, runs schools based on the ideology of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which is “the conquest of Palestine by force of arms.” In
another new text, UNRWA pupils are taught to sing a song which encourages children to “exterminate the usurpers” after the Arabs return to control of Palestine Why does the UK not ask UNRWA to instead offer a curriculum based on peace and reconciliation?
Current UNRWA curriculum:
3. El Kutla youth clubs in UNRWA schools, affiliated with Hamas, inspire pupils with the mantra of the armed struggle from a young age.
Why does the UK not ask UNRWA to demand that youth clubs on UNRWA premises cease and desist from violent incitement?
4. UNRWA now presents 125 new maps in their schools with Arab names that delete the Jewish names of all Jewish communities. Meanwhile, Israel is wiped off the UNRWA maps. Since Israel is a member state of the United Nations, why does the UK not insist that Israel be included on UNRWA maps?
5. UNRWA schools in Jenin and in Gaza have become virtual arsenals. Why does the UK not ask for a weapons and ammunition inspection of UNRWA facilities?
6. At this point in time, UNRWA holds out the “right of return” as the only option for the future of 6.7 million descendants of Arab refugees from the 1948 War who dwell as “refugees for perpetuity” in the indignity of 59 “temporary” refugee camps since 1949. However, the UNHCR, which protects the rights of refugees all over the world, has enforced the most important human right for all refugees to be settled in permanent homes, with dignity. Why, then does the UK not endorse a plan for Arab refugees for the voluntary resettlement of UNRWA residents who wish to leave the squalid conditions of UNRWA refugee camps?
7. In light of the continued incitement at UNRWA facilities, the US and UNRWA signed an accord in July 2021 that requires UNRWA to eradicate incitement from its educational system as a condition for receiving funds. When UNRWA refused to make such changes in the UNRWA curriculum, the US placed funds for UNRWA education in escrow. Will the UK also condition funds for UK education until UNRWA makes the relevant changes in its schools?
8. Hamas, defined by the UN as an illegal terrorist group, controls UNRWA facilities in Gaza. Since the UK defines Hamas as a terrorist group, why does the UK not demand the removal of Hamas from UNRWA?
9. Following murders committed by thirteen- and fourteen-year-old children from UNRWA, along with the widespread militarization of Palestinian Arab youth, will the UK seek to stem the violent indoctrination of UNRWA youth, which violates the UN statute on the rights of the child? https://www.terrorism-info.org.il/app/uploads/2023/02/E_039_23.pdf
10. UNRWA schools are often adorned with murals of “martyrs” who died while killing Jews. Will the UK ask UNRWA to remove these murals? https://israelbehindthenews.com/wpcontent/uploads/2021/11/UNWRA-OCT-21-02.jpg