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September 16, 2022 3:54 pm
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House Foreign Affairs Committee Unanimously Passes Bill to Examine Antisemitic Palestinian School Curricula

avatar by Andrew Bernard

Palestinian schoolchildren sit inside a classroom at an UNRWA-run school, on the first day of a new school year, in Gaza City, Aug. 29, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Mohammed Salem.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday unanimously passed the Peace and Tolerance in Palestinian Education Act, setting the bill to be considered by the full House of Representatives.

The bill requires that the Secretary of State publish a report on Palestinian school curricula in the West Bank and Gaza that promote violence and intolerance and to determine whether US funds are being used to disseminate such curricula.

The bipartisan bill, introduced by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA-30), was prompted by textbooks used by the Palestinian Authority that, among other issues cited in the legislation, “include graphics portraying violence against Israeli soldiers, positive portrayals of individuals who have committed attacks against citizens of Israel, and references to Palestinian efforts to target the ‘Zionists.’” 

These textbooks were then used at schools sponsored by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

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“For decades, the United States and the American people have been the top donor to the Palestinian people, including to the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA – but this is not a blank check,” Sherman said. “American dollars must be spent in a way that reflect American values of tolerance and peacebuilding. Unfortunately, the current Palestinian Authority curriculum, used by both Palestinian Authority and UNRWA schools, falls short of reflecting those values.”

In January, the Biden administration announced $99 million in funding for UNRWA. The Trump administration had cut all US funding to UNRWA in 2018.

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