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European Parliament Becomes First Legislature to Censure UNRWA Over Antisemitic Hatred Taught in Palestinian Schools

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

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

The European Parliament on Wednesday passed a resolution expressing concern at the “hate speech and violence” taught in Palestinian schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) — the UN refugee agency dedicated exclusively to the descendants of the original Palestinian refugees from Israel’s 1947-48 War of Independence.

The resolution was part of the European Union’s annual budgetary procedure which scrutinizes how European taxpayer funds have been spent through projects carried out by the EU.

Among the demands of the resolution was that “UNRWA acts in full transparency and publishes in an open-source platform all its educational materials for teachers and students, as well as its reviews of host country textbooks used to ensure that content adheres to UN values and does not encourage hatred.” It urged that EU funding “be made conditional on educational material and course content complying with UNESCO standards of peace, tolerance, coexistence, and non-violence.”

IMPACT-se, an Israeli research organization that monitors school curriculums throughout the Middle East, said in a statement on Wednesday that the legislation had been spurred by its recent reports on the hateful antisemitic content taught in UNRWA schools.

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The organization’s CEO, Marcus Sheff, said that “the European Parliament has shown the way for all those who do not want to write blank checks to this deeply flawed organization.”

“It is crystal clear that an external audit of UNRWA’s teaching materials is necessary before millions of taxpayer dollars are transferred to finance the daily radicalization of children,” Sheff said.

Sheff also noted that the European Parliament’s resolution was “the very first time a legislature has stepped up and said to UNRWA, ‘enough’.”

One parliamentarian who campaigned for the resolution’s passage declared that the EU’s legislative body had sent an unmistakable signal to UNRWA and to Palestinian leaders.

“I think it is important that the European Parliament sent a clear message today that it firmly rejects the presence of hate speech and violence in Palestinian school textbooks, taught and used by UNRWA,” said Miriam Lexmann, a representative of the European People’s Party (EPP) and a member of parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

“A peaceful resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict can only be achieved through educating societies to live in peace with one another and with cultural tolerance,” Lexmann said.

Wednesday’s vote followed a separate decision on Tuesday night by the European Parliament that no EU funds can be allocated or linked to any cause or form of terrorism or religious and political radicalization. In another first, it called on the European Commission to ensure the EU funds are proactively recovered, and that recipients involved in terror are excluded from any future EU funding.

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