Over the past week, UNRWA spread the word that UNRWA intends to introduce a new curriculum for peace and tolerance in the UNRWA school system.
However, UNRWA reports widespread popular opposition to such an initiative. (1)
The fact that UNRWA admits that there is a problem in their schools represents a newsworthy development in itself.
However, the Center for Near East Policy Research checked all public and private sources in UNRWA. No intention, initiative or program exists in the UNRWA Department of Education for any change in the UNRWA curriculum.
UNRWA curricula in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and Gaza remain under the supervision of the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Education, which makes it clear that no plans are afoot for any change in the Palestinian Authority Education System.
Successive PA Ministers of Education have made it clear that the PA Ministry of Education runs schools with a unified curriculum for UNRWA, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. The current war curriculum of the Palestinian Authority used by UNRWA speaks for itself. (2)
The presence of Hamas in UNRWA schools speaks for itself. (3)
Why, then, does UNRWA spread the word they intend to introduce a new curriculum?
This serves UNRWA image with a new US administration at the helm. The US, indeed, pays for 33% of the UNRWA budget, which has reached $1.2 billion. (4)
UNRWA presents the US government with good intentions of UNRWA, blaming popular opinion, which would not allow UNRWA to act in a noble fashion.
UNRWA has used this PR approach in the past.
Between 2008 and 2010, UNRWA spread the news that it was going to introduce holocaust education. UNRWA dispatched professional fundraisers to raise the finance needed to teach the holocaust to the next generation of Palestinian school children.
Yet UNRWA expressed regret in 2011 that it could not implement the holocaust education program because of “popular opinion”.
However, The Center for Near East Policy Research checked out this development with Michael Kingsley-Nyinah, then the director of the executive office of UNRWA in New York, who replied to our query: “I am writing to clarify that there is no ‘Holocaust curriculum’ as such in UNRWA schools and there are no plans to introduce one.”(5)
However, UNRWA earned praise in the Jewish community because of their “intention” to introduce holocaust curriculum for the next generation of Palestinian Arab children, although such a curriculum was never planned in the first place.