The European Parliament this week adopted a resolution condemning the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for the incitement against Israel contained with the schoolbooks it produces. The resolution includes legislation to defund the organisation until this issue is addressed.

UNRWA is the UN agency that oversees aid to the Palestinians, with its primary function being providing education in Palestinian schools, and has for a long time been criticised for teaching Palestinian children to hate Israel and fuel incitement rather than promote peace with the Israelis.

The resolution expresses concern “about the hate speech and violence taught in Palestinian school textbooks and used in schools by UNRWA” and insists that financial aid be conditioned on the removal of educational materials that promote hatred and incitement to violence.

IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff said the resolution is an “important step in the fight to prevent UNRWA from inciting many thousands of children every school day to violence, extremism and anti-Semitism.”

“It is the very first time a legislature has stepped up and said to UNRWA, ‘enough,’ ” he added. “Today, 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.”

The legislation passed despite lobbying efforts against it by UNRWA and the Palestinian Authority, including Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh appearing in front of the parliament’s Committee of Foreign Affairs a week before the vote.

Last year, the EU passed three similar resolutions calling out the PA for not removing hateful materials from its textbooks used by UNRWA in the Palestinian education system.

Norwegian lawmakers in December 2020 voted to cut the financial assistance to the PA over antisemitic outbursts and incitement to violence in its educational materials.

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