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July 7, 2022 5:01 am

UNRWA Palestinian Textbooks Still Inciting Antisemitism and Jihadi Violence, Concludes New Report


avatar by Dion J. Pierre

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.

Educational material for Palestinian students provided by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) promotes jihadi violence and incites antisemitism, according to a new report by Israeli education watchdog Impact-se.

Released on Thursday, the Review of 2022 UNRWA-Produced Study Materials in the Palestinian Territories found that the UNRWA curriculum describes Jews as “impure and inherently treacherous” and teaches that murdering Israelis leads to glory and martyrdom. The findings were made after UNRWA’s maintaining several times that its curricula was purged of antisemitism.

Examples included in Impact-se’s findings include a grammar lesson that uses the sentence, “The Palestinians sacrifice their blood to liberate Jerusalem,” and “Arabic Drill Cards” for 9th graders that say, “When the [Muslim] nation is negligent in protecting al-Aqsa, then the Jews will dare to defile it.” Neither does Israel appear on any maps.

Much of the material is “UNRWA branded,” Impact-se continued, but it cannot be accessed through its online education portal and is essentially hidden from public scrutiny.

“After a similar scandal last year, UNRWA promised that all offending material produced by them would be removed. It seems that UNRWA has interpreted this as removal from the website, where it can be scrutinized, rather than removed from actual classrooms,” Impact-se CEO Marcus Sheff  said in a statement. “UNRWA was again made aware of our concerns just two months ago.”

He observed that the US “is currently financing UNRWA to the tune of $338 million annually, the majority of which goes to education. Sadly, it is clear that hate teaching in UNRWA schools is increasing rather than abating since US funding was restarted. Surely, the will can be found to enforce policy, given that red lines are being crossed so egregiously.”

The report comes just one week after six UNRWA teachers were placed on administrative leave for uttering hate speech. Last Wednesday, UN Watch, a Geneva-based NGO, said it had identified “more than 120 UNRWA teachers and other staff who praise Hitler, glorify terrorism and spread antisemitism.”

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