The Australian government is looking into the United Nations agency supporting Palestinian refugees after a report revealed school materials it produced contained incitement to violence and hatred and glorified terrorism.
Australia’s Department of Foreign Trade and Affairs said it is “making further inquiries into this matter.”
It says the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) “has a fundamental obligation to remain unbiased and impartial while it delivers its humanitarian mandate.”
Last week the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), an Israeli watchdog that analyzes Palestinian textbooks, found UNRWA-produced material “to be rife with problematic content that contradicts stated UN values.”
IMPACT-se’s full report can be read here.
The report concludes that “the unavoidable impression is that UNRWA, as a UN organization, knowingly teaches material that is inconsistent with UN values in its Gaza Strip and West Bank schools. In addition, UNRWA’s lack of transparency to address such problematic issues make it impossible to evaluate the effectiveness of these efforts”.
UNRWA is the United Nation’s run agency to help Palestinian refugees. Over half its budget is spent on educating children with more than 533,000 Palestinian children being taught in UNRWA run schools, most of whom live in Gaza and the West Bank (Judea and Samaria).
The UN agency says it uses textbooks from the host country’s education curriculum and that it is unable to edit any problematic materials, especially in the Palestinian Authority, as UNRWA says it will impede the PA’s “national sovereignty”.
This stance is unacceptable. UNRWA’s budget comes from UN member states including the United Kingdom who is one of the main donors to the agency. This means that British taxpayers are funding incitement against Israel and the Jewish people and the glorification of terrorism to children in UNRWA schools because the agency is unwilling to challenge the problematic textbooks the PA uses.
The UK should join Australia in demanding that all textbooks used in UNRWA run schools do not incite violence, but instead promote peace between Israel and Palestinians. It is vitally important for children to be taught love instead of hate.