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July 31, 2018 4:28 pm

UNRWA: Free Education Paid for by the World Is a Human Right

avatar by Elder of Ziyon

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Palestinian employees of UNRWA in Gaza City demonstrate against the US decision in Jan 2018 to cut contributions to the agency. Photo: Reuters/Mohammed Salem.

I received this fundraising email from UNRWA USA:

Due to the US government’s holding back of $300 million to UNRWA, as of this week UNRWA has been forced to cut jobs in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank (including East Jerusalem).

UNRWA is a lifeline for 5 million Palestine refugees, providing food, healthcare, education, and jobs. In fact, 99% of UNRWA’s doctors, teachers, and other staff, are refugees themselves.

Despite relentless efforts to attain new funding from other countries and donors, UNRWA still needs $217 million to sustain its work for 2018. As a result, UNRWA’s 700 schools may not open this September.

And why would that be a bad thing?

Education is the single biggest budget item for UNRWA — more than $400 million in 2017, triple the budget for health services.

And it is largely unnecessary.

For Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, the regular public school system should include so-called “refugees.” Treating them differently from other Palestinians is absurd and discriminatory. It is abhorrent that the Palestinian Authority government believes that it doesn’t have to educate hundreds of thousands of children simply because they get their education for free from UNRWA. This is the PA’s responsibility, not the world’s.

Similarly, in Jordan, the vast majority of Palestinians are citizens. Why on earth should the government of Jordan treat them like anything other than citizens?

In Syria and Lebanon, while there are obviously problems, children born in those countries should be able to access local education systems. But even if we say that UNRWA should provide education for them, they are a small percentage of the total number of Palestinian children being taught by UNRWA.

It is way past time that we should consider the “UNRWA education is a human right” idea to be the absurd premise that it is. And if this mandate were to disappear, so would UNRWA’s funding shortfall.

Elder of Ziyon has been blogging about Israel and the Arab world for a really long time now. He also controls the world, but deep down you already knew that.

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