As UNRWA tries to justify its existence, it reveals a lot about the people it defends.
From a letter to Jewish Journal by Elizabeth Campbell, Director, Washington Representative Office, UNRWA, in the context of teaching Palestinian children:
UNRWA is a humanitarian institution. The agency’s mandate, as determined by the U.N. General Assembly, is to provide essential services — including health, educational and humanitarian assistance — to promote the well-being and human development of Palestine refugees until there is a just and lasting solution to the conflict. If UNRWA isn’t there to teach Palestine refugee children, and instill key values of neutrality, human rights, tolerance and nondiscrimination, who will be?
Keep in mind that the Palestinian Authority has a school system. Every child who is a citizen can go to their schools. There is no reason that UNRWA needs to have an entirely parallel school system – paid for by the world. (There is also no reason why Palestinian Arabs should be in “refugee camps” when they live in a land that is administered by their own leaders in what they consider their own land.)
UNRWA knows this, so they try to justify their massive school system – by saying that the Palestinian school system teaches hate and intolerance and antisemitism, and therefore UNRWA is necessary to counteract that for the kids who are falsely considered “refugees.”
There are a number of problems with this excuse. First of all, UNRWA uses the same textbooks as the Palestinian Authority. UNRWA promised to use supplemental materials that teach human rights and other values, but they were never implemented. So, today, there is no difference in what the kids are taught.
Secondly, we know from the amazing work by David Bedein, UNRWA students are still taught violence and to destroy Israel.
But the important thing is that UNRWA is not only admitting, but basing their argument on, the fact that 25 years after the Oslo process, the Palestinian government is teaching their kids to hate Jews in schools funded by the international community.
Shouldn’t state-sanctioned antisemitism – admitted by an UN agency – be a red flag in funding the PA altogether?
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