UNRWA uses the school textbooks of the Palestinian Authority in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and Gaza.
That policy in itself raises a serious ethical problem, since the PA books contain crude anti-Israeli, anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic expressions – clearly contradicting UNRWA’s defined neutral character as a UN organization
Since UNRWA uses the PA schoolbooks with no omissions or amendments, it actually becomes full partner of the PA anti-Israeli and, sometimes, anti-Semitic indoctrination. The Center for Near East Policy Research, of which I am the director, has taken upon itself to check attitudes to war and peace which appear in the Palestinian Authority schoolbooks used by UNRWA, ever since the PA issued its new school books in the August 2000, when we met with the PA minister of Education and received the first set of new PA schoolbooks to be used in the UNRWA schools. The Center for Near East Policy Research has acquired new PA schoolbooks ever since, and now have access to the entire PA curriculum, which the Center for Near East Policy Research publishes through the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, located at the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC).
The Center commissioned the study of new PA schoolbooks used by UNRWA to Dr. Arnon Groiss, a scholar of Middle Eastern studies who holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from Princeton University, as well as an MPA degree from Harvard University, who worked as a journalist for 42 years at the Voice of Israel Arabic Language Service until his recent retirement. Over the last 19 years Dr. Groiss has analyzed all 364 schoolbooks of the Palestinian Authority and compared them to their Israeli parallels.
These 364 schoolbooks of the Palestinian Authority for Grades 1-12 in various school subjects that were published in the years 2013-2018 were thoroughly checked and were found to be devoid of any hint of education for peace and co-existence with Israel.
Now a new element has been introduced into PA school books – the call for an armed struggle for the liberation of the whole of “Palestine,” including Israel’s pre-1967 territory. A textbook for Grade 3 features a poem that mentions the necessity of exterminating the foreigners and the “ scattered remnants”, namely, the country’s Jewish inhabitants, following the removal of Israel (the “ usurper” is the terminology used for Israel in PA textbooks ). Another book, for Grade 5, presents the terrorist Dalal al- Mughrabi, who led the terrorist attack on a civilian bus on Israel, Coastal Highway in 1978, as a role model for the students.
These two books were published in 2017 and both are used in all Palestinian schools today, including all UNRWA schools. It is obvious that this kind of education is actually war indoctrination which must be changed if any semblance of peace between the two peoples is to be achieved. Instead, UNRWA schoolbooks are characterized by…
- De-legitimization of Israel & the presence of Jews in the country.
- Denial of the existence of any place are sacred to Jews
- Demonization of Jews
- In the latest UNRWA texts, Israel, a member of he UN, no longer exists – it is only referred to as a Zionist entity.
In addition, the Center for Near East Policy Research has been publishing studies ever since 2003 which have documented the takeover of the UNRWA workers union and UNRWA teachers union by Hamas. To verify facts on the ground, the Center for Near East Policy Research has produced 24 short films which document the reality of UNRWA indoctrination towards the “right of return by force of arms”.
*David Bedein is a community organization social work professional and journalist who launched the Israel Resource News Agency in 1987 and who became the director of the Center for Near East Policy Research in 2005. Both entities work with the media and diplomatic corps in Israel to provide in-depth news and research coverage of The Middle East. David, whose web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com, has produced more than 3000 news stories, 18 short films and two books: Genesis of the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA: Road Block to Peace.