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February 19, 2014 11:25 am

Hamas and UNRWA Try to Manipulate the Media

avatar by David Bedein


Palestinian boys raise their hands in a school run by the UNRWA. Photo: UN Photo/Shareef Sarhan.

At a time when the U.S. Congress, the UK Parliament, and the Israeli Knesset are examining reports of incitement that emanate from UNRWA schools for Palestinian children, Western reporters and pundits are publicizing Hamas’ attack on UNRWA for not supporting terrorism in its human rights curriculum.

My news agency acquired and studied  the texts of this  new UNRWA human rights curriculum. UNRWA had not shared these texts with the U.S., Canadian, and Israeli governments. UNRWA did share its human rights curriculum with Norway.

It was a Norwegian news agency that commissioned my agency to translate and evaluate the UNRWA human rights curriculum.

The gist of what our staff discerned was that the new UNRWA human rights curriculum did not recognize human rights nor any juridical status for anyone other than Muslim Palestinian Arabs – not for Israelis, Westerners, Jews, or Christians.

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This UNRWA human rights curriculum makes no mention of civil rights leaders as role models for Arabs to emulate. The focus of the curriculum is how to protect Palestinians from seemingly intrusive Israelis

Friends of UNRWA, a lobbying group in Washington, did organize a tour for visiting UNRWA students to see the birth place and grave of Dr. Martin Luther King – a tour that is featured on the American Friends of UNRWA web site but not on the UNRWA web site.

Ever since the Hamas terrorist organization took over the UNRWA workers and teachers unions in Gaza more than ten years ago, UNRWA has faced the possibility that its two greatest funders – the U.S. and the EU – might cut off funds to UNRWA because they forbid aid to any entity taken over by Hamas, legally defined by the U.S. and the EU as a terrorist organization.

Therefore, UNRWA has tried to nurture an image that they are worlds apart from Hamas. UNRWA gets Hamas to attack UNRWA through the media, and then UNRWA spokespeople earn “distance from Hamas” when they are attacked by the terror group.

Manipulating Hamas to attack UNRWA is a method that UNRWA successfully engineered four years ago.

At the time, UNRWA spokespeople spread a false rumor that UNRWA had initiated curriculum to teach the Holocaust, but that Hamas had stopped them from doing so.

We asked the UNRWA administrative office in New York whether there was indeed a plan to teach the Holocaust in UNRWA schools.

We received an immediate, clear, and definitive response that there had never even been any plan to teach the Holocaust through UNRWA in Hamas schools. However, UNRWA accomplished its mission of distorting the truth about its relationship with Hamas.

A case in point: When I screened videos of UNRWA school classroom incitement at a Chicago synagogue three years ago, I was told by congregants that UNRWA spokespeople had raised funds from Jewish concentration camp survivors only the week before, in that very same neighborhood.

A lecturer from UNRWA had made a  passionate speech promising that UNRWA would  teach Arab refugees about the Holocaust that had befallen the Jews during World War II.

No one had bothered to check and discover that UNRWA never planned any curriculum like this. But  UNRWA got itself condemned by Hamas, as if it was going to teach this. UNRWA gave the impression of “distance from Hamas,” and successfully warded off funding cutbacks.

And that is what UNRWA is trying to pull off now.

Journalist David Bedein is available for lectures via Skype from Israel.

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