UNRWA SPENDS MORE THAN HALF OF ITS BUDGET ON EDUCATION. World Education Blog
As its website tells us, and as we heard from its director of education on this blog site last year, with the help of these funds, the UNRWA/UNESCO education programme operates in no fewer than 677 elementary and preparatory schools, providing free basic education for around half a million Palestinian refugee children (54%) .
Quite apart from just giving these children seats in classrooms, we showed that most children in UNRWA schools perform as well as, or better than, those in host country schools in Jordan, Gaza and the West Bank.
UNRWA also provides TVET training for 7,000 Palestinian refugees in all fields and for 2,100 students in two educational science faculties and teacher training institutes (one in the West Bank and one in Jordan). UNRWA students’ literacy and levels of educational attainment are among the highest in the Middle East.
(Information is from the UNRWA Annual Report, 2017)
In Gaza, 252 UNRWA schools serve over 240,400 students. These children grow up in bleak conditions, frequently surrounded by poverty and violence. School provides them with one place where they are able to learn the skills for a better future.
Years of underfunding have left the education system in Gaza overstretched, with 94 per cent of schools operating on a double-shift basis, hosting one 'school' of students in the morning and a different group in the afternoon. As a result, children’s education is severely truncated. In 2006 examinations, nearly 80 per cent of students failed mathematics, and more than 40 per cent failed Arabic.
In the West Bank, UNRWA provides only preparatory education; secondary students matriculate into national schools. Nonetheless, we operate 97 educational facilities in the field, which reach over 50,000 students. The Agency also operates two vocational training centres, where over 1,000 students are trained in skilled trades and manufacturing.
The 2011/12 academic year saw a significant decrease in violence in and around UNRWA school premises. This was matched by an increase in achievement, with UNRWA West Bank schools outperforming Palestinian Authority (PA) schools in nationally and internationally administered scholastic achievement tests.
Young Palestine refugees, many of them students, have been especially vulnerable to the effects of the conflict in Syria. Because the majority of UNRWA schools are located within the Palestine refugee camps themselves – in areas that have suffered serious violence – one of the most pernicious of these effects has been a disruption in their education.
Before the outbreak of the conflict, all of the 118 UNRWA schools in Syria were running on double shifts to provide around 67,300 students with primary and secondary education, following the Syrian curriculum. Violence, damage, closures and other factors, however, have left only 42 of those 118 schools operational as of March 2014. Some of these schools are now operating three shifts. We are also educating some of our students at 43 government schools, which the Ministry of Education has agreed to let UNRWA use in the afternoons.
Lebanon is the only field where we offer secondary education. In total, we serve 38,173 students at 68 schools throughout the country. UNRWA also operates one vocational training centres, which reach 1,143 students.
In Jordan, UNRWA provides basic education to over 118,500 students at 174 UNRWA schools. Students in the fourth, eighth and tenth grades take national quality-control tests in the core subjects – Arabic, English, science and maths – and consistently achieve better results than students from private or government schools.
We are also excited to be able to provide university education in teaching, Arabic and English to about 1,200 students through the Faculty of Educational Sciences and Arts. We plan to add a fourth specialty, geography, in the 2013/14 academic year.
UNRWA’S ANTI-PEACE CURRICULUM VIOLATES UN CHARTER UN Watch, January 15 2018
In the wake of U.S. threats to cut aid to the U.N. relief agency for Palestinians, a look at UNRWA textbooks—which deny Jewish rights in Palestine and erase Israel from the map—shows that the agency is violating the basic tenets of the U.N. Charter by fostering conflict instead of maintaining peace and harming Palestinian children.
More than half of UNRWA’s budget—54%—is devoted to education for 500,698 students at 692 schools supported by 21,571 educational staff. Recent media about UNRWA praises its work in education.
But while providing education to underprivileged youth seems like a laudable endeavor, in the case of UNRWA one has to ask: What is being taught? Is the curriculum consistent with the U.N. Charter?
TEXTBOOKS ARE ANTI-PEACE
According to a September 28, 2017 study by the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Middle East Forum, UNRWA textbooks show that there is “no hope for peace in the region.” The study reviewed 150 Palestinian Authority textbooks for grades one to 12, half of which were published in 2016-17. Among other things, the textbooks claim Jews have no rights in Palestine, deny the existence of Jewish holy places there and delete Israel from the map. The books also promote violent struggle as the path to liberation.
This is one of the ways UNRWA, to borrow Prime Minister Netanyahu’s words, “perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem, and also the narrative of the so-called right of return, whose goal is the elimination of Israel.”
UNRWA Spokesperson Christopher Gunness criticized the study as “inaccurate and misleading” because only 23 of the books were being used in UNRWA schools. He further asserted that these books had been “reviewed rigorously under our curriculum framework, which aims to ensure that our curriculum is in line with U.N. values. In the small number of instances where issues of concern were found, we have created enriched complementary materials for use in our classrooms…”
However, Gunness’s statement is inconsistent with reports from April 2017 about a falling-out between UNRWA and the PA over UNRWA’s proposed curriculum changes. That controversy ended with UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl emphasizing that “UNRWA is completely committed to the Palestinian curricula, and that no change will be made in these curricula.”
In November 2017, after Gunness issued his statement, the PA Ministry of Education again reiterated that it categorically opposes any attempt by UNRWA to make any change to the curriculum that would contradict the philosophy of the PA with respect to Palestinian national identity and heritage, i.e., the belief that Jews have no rights in Palestine and that Palestinians will one day return to their former homes in Israel.
The Ministry added that any “enrichment” materials UNRWA might add must “be committed to the contents of the schoolbooks and their basic assumptions, and…must be complementary and consistent with all of the contents of the [PA] schoolbooks…” and that, by law, such materials can be added only by the PA’s Curricula Center, not by UNRWA.
ONLINE INCITEMENT TO HATE BY UNRWA TEACHERS
Regrettably, inflammatory textbooks aren’t the only problem with the education being provided by UNRWA. UN Watch published detailed reports in February and April 2017, exposing 60 new examples of UNRWA educational staff preaching anti-Semitism and jihadi terrorism to their impressionable students.
In typical UNRWA fashion, rather than tackling the issue head-on by firing the anti-Semitic and terrorist supporting teachers, UNRWA provided them training in what not to post on social media and how to keep social media profiles “private” so that inflammatory social media posts are not publicly viewable. Significantly, UNRWA has never expressed concern about the core underlying problem of students being exposed to anti-Semitism and jihadi terrorism.
The very first purpose of the U.N. listed in Article 1 of the U.N. Charter is “to maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace…” The second is “to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principles of equal rights and self-determination of peoples…”
Clearly, supporting a curriculum which teaches Palestinians that Jews have no rights in Palestine, that the map of Palestine includes present-day Israel, and that violent struggle is the only way to liberation encourages conflict instead of promoting “international peace,” fosters hatred against Israel rather than “friendly relations,” and fails to respect the Jewish people’s right to “self-determination.” Thus, it goes against the most basic principles of the U.N. Charter. It also violates UNRWA’s neutrality as a U.N. Humanitarian agency.
It further goes against Article 29 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which provides that education should be directed to “[t]he development of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and for the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.”
It is beyond Orwellian for an agency under U.N. auspices to be using the imprimatur of the U.N. to raise funds ostensibly for humanitarian purposes, and then to use those funds to promote an anti-peace agenda — one that fosters conflict and instability, in complete contravention of the U.N. Charter and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The U.S. is right to question the benefits of such funding.
ENCOURAGING CHILDREN TO ENGAGE IN ACTS OF WAR: STRUGGLE, JIHAD AND MARTYRDOM IN SCHOOLBOOKS TAUGHT IN UNRWA SCHOOLS IN THE WEST BANK AND GAZA
Palestinian Authority (PA) schoolbooks used by UNRWA in its schools in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip promote the goal of a violent struggle for the liberation of Palestine. That struggle, which is never restricted to the territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip alone, is made more compelling in the books with the help of the traditional Islamic ideals of Jihad and martyrdom (Shahadah) aided by the description of the violent return of the refugees. Thus, the Palestinian child in UNRWA schools is exposed to an atmosphere of violence and is mentally prepared for his or her actual participation in that armed struggle in the future.
The following examples taken from recently-published PA schoolbooks that have been in use in UNRWA schools during the current school year (2013/14) clearly attest to this phenomenon. One could find the spiritual foundation of the behavior expected from the prospective martyrs in the following text appearing in an Islamic Education textbook for grade 6:
“Jihad in the cause of God for raising the flag of Islam and preventing oppression and corruption on earth: … When a Muslim man believes that God is the one who gives life and death, gain and loss, and that victory and power are in His hand, he then liberates himself from others’ control, and bravery and a desire to seek martyrdom in God’s cause are enlivened within his soul.”
UN SCHOOLS IN GAZA CAUGHT USING ANTI-ISRAEL TEXTBOOKS New York Post, by Fox News, January 6, 2017
Students attending United Nations-run schools in the West Bank and Gaza use textbooks that ignore the existence of Israel, according to a new report sure to fuel renewed claims about anti-Semitism within the world body.
The schools, which teach mainly Palestinian children, are funded by the UN’s Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and use texts from the Palestinian Ministry of Education. The books convey the ministry’s refusal to recognize Israel, as well as the message that holy sites like the Western Wall and the Cave of the Patriarchs are exclusively Muslim sites, according to the report.
“It is despicable that a UN agency is teaching Palestinian children racism and lies about Jews and Israel,” Roz Rothstein, co-founder and CEO of StandWithUs, an international Israel education organization, told FoxNews.com. “There will be no peace and no justice as long as Palestinian leaders, backed by the UN, continue to deny the history and rights of the Jewish people in their ancestral homeland.”
Use of the textbooks was discovered after an investigation was completed by Arnon Gross, who translated the books, and Ronni Shaked from the Harry Truman Research Institute at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem according to Ynet News.
In their translations, the pair discovered that not a single mention is made of the historical connection of Jews to the land of Israel or the city of Jerusalem and that the UNRWA schools also make no mention of Jewish holy sites in their materials. Instead, the textbooks contain learning materials that say that these are all Muslim holy Sites that the Jews are trying to illegitimately control.
Children at the schools are also taught to negate the existence of the Hebrew languages, according to the report. One text has a picture of a stamp used during the British Mandate period which has Hebrew, English and Arabic writing. The image of the stamp in the book has been altered to remove all the Hebrew writing.
The researchers also discovered that maps accompanying the books contain no reference to the presence of Jews in Israel, with all Jewish cities and towns established after 1948 erased. Tel Aviv is even renamed “Tel al-Rabia.”
Hillel Neuer, executive director of Geneva-based UN Watch, said that the UNRWA is in breach of a recent agreement with the State Department.
“By teaching hatred and intolerance, UNRWA is in breach of the UN Charter, and of its just-signed agreement for 2017 with the U.S. State Department,” he said in a statement to FoxNews.com. “UNRWA schoolbooks that erase Israel and Jews from the geography and history of the region constitute a gross violation of the neutrality requirements applicable to all humanitarian agencies, and specifically negates provisions of UNRWA’s just-signed agreement for 2017 with the U.S. State Department.”
The research into the schools and textbooks was commissioned by the Center for Near East Policy Research, and was published less than two weeks after passage of a UN Security Council resolution declaring construction and settlements in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem illegal.
Officials for the UNRWA say that they are following a mandate put in place in the 1950s.
“Pursuant to a practice agreed by UNESCO and the Host countries in 1954, students in UNRWA schools are taught the curriculum of the Host country, which facilitates refugees’ access to Host country secondary schools and enables them to take state examinations and to transition to upper secondary and university,” Christopher Gunness, of the UNRWA, said in a statement provided to FoxNews.com. “UNRWA does not have a formal role in the development of the PA curriculum, something all governments view as a matter of national sovereignty.”
Gunness was careful to also point out that new books for pupils in first through fourth grade were released by the Palestinian Authority and that they are currently under a stringent review before they are circulated to UNRWA schools.
NEW UNRWA TEXTBOOKS FOR PALESTINIANS DEMONIZE ISRAEL AND JEWS Jerusalem Post, DANIELLE ZIRI SEPTEMBER 28, 2017
According to the Palestinian schoolbooks, Jews have no rights whatsoever in the region but only "greedy ambitions." The books also say that Jews have no holy places.
NEW YORK – Schoolbooks used in UNRWA in Gaza and the West Bank display extreme anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiments, according to a review.
In the study released on Wednesday by the Center for Near East Policy Research, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Middle East Forum, it also found that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency books showed there was no hope for peace in the region.
The research, authored by Arab-textbooks expert Aaron Groiss, in collaboration with leaders of each of the involved organizations, examined 150 textbooks of various school subjects, taught in grades one to 12. Seventy-five of the books checked were published in 2016 and 2017 as part of a project initiated by the Palestinian Authority, which provides its curriculum to UNRWA schools.
The contents of the books were analyzed focusing on the depiction of the Jewish/ Israeli “other,” which revealed three fundamentals: delegitimization, demonization and indoctrination to violent struggle instead of peace.
According to the Palestinian schoolbooks, Jews have no rights whatsoever in Palestine but only “greedy ambitions.” The books also say that Jews have no holy places there either – the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem are all presented as Muslim holy places threatened by Jews.
The study also shows that cities established by Jews in modern times, including Tel Aviv, are sometimes not shown on maps either.
“Israel is not a legitimate state according to the PA schoolbooks studied at UNRWA schools,” the study said. “The name ‘Israel’ does not appear on the map at all.”
In many cases, “Palestine” appears instead and covers Israel’s pre-1967 territories as well.
The almost complete erasure of the name “Israel” from the schoolbooks is “a disturbing development,” the researchers wrote. “Including the numerous demonizing descriptions of the Jewish state and its replacement by the expression ‘Zionist occupation.’ “Even the former expression ‘the Arab-Israeli conflict’ is now spelled ‘the Arab-Zionist conflict,’” they added. “This change signals an intensification of the nonrecognition attitude regarding Israel on the part of the Palestinian educators.”
While demonization of Jews is less evident in the PA schoolbooks compared to books of some other Arab governments, Jews are still demonized as opponents of Islam’s revered prophets, namely, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.
“The first group of Jewish settlers came to Palestine from Russia in 1882 and the second group was in 1905,” one of the books reads. “The arrival of the Jewish throngs to Palestine continued until 1948 and their goal was taking over the Palestinian lands and then replacing the original inhabitants after their expulsion or extermination.”
Israel is also presented as an enemy who aims its weapon at Palestinian children.
“The Palestinian child stood facing the enemy’s bullets like a brave soldier,” one book included.
When it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict and possible solutions, peace is not advocated in the schoolbooks used in UNRWA schools. Instead they promote a violent struggle of liberation against the “occupation.”
A book of the 2016 edition emphasizes a poem with the motif of the struggle for the liberation of al-Aksa Mosque and of the whole country, beyond the territories Israel took over in 1967, namely, Haifa and Jaffa.
The study also pointed out that the violent liberation is further intensified in the books published in 2016 as they now include, for the first time in the history of the PA curriculum, a reference to the fate of the 6 million Jews living in the country after its supposed liberation. According to the texts, they will endure expulsion from the land and “extermination of its defeated and scattered remnants.
A 2017 text even reveals a shocking attitude to Israelis by describing a Molotov- cocktail attack on an Israeli civilian bus as a “barbecue party,” and another such text exalts a Palestinian female terrorist responsible for the killing of more than 30 civilians in an attack on another Israeli bus.
“This list of items taught in UNRWA schools is incriminating,” the researchers concluded. “UNRWA, in fact, not only does propagate a non-peaceful line contrary to UN resolutions on the Middle East, and not only does allow the presentation of Israel and its Jewish citizens as illegitimate with heavy layers of demonization. UNRWA also betrays its moral obligation toward the Palestinian children and youths’ human rights and well-being, by letting the PA preparing them for a future war with Israel.” Using these textbooks, they added, is the UN agency’s contribution to perpetuating the conflict.
“It is now high time that UNRWA change its policy of nonintervention in the contents of local curricula taught in its schools,” they added. “An international organization of this caliber committed to the ideal of peace and relying in its funding on democratic countries mostly, should have a say in this matter, especially in view of its relatively large share of Palestinian educational activity.”
The authors of the study made clear they strongly believe that a meaningful peace must start with education and that “there are things that UNRWA must not teach.”
About half of UNRWA’s total regular budget is dedicated to education. The agency offers also health and social services. UNRWA provides free-of-charge basic education to children of Palestinian refugees in the Palestinian Authority-controlled West Bank, theGaza Strip and east Jerusalem, and in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
UK HAS GIVEN $427 MILLION N AID TO UNRWA IN PAST FIVE YEARS COUNT THE MARTYRS: UK TO REVIEW FUNDS FOR PALESTINIAN SCHOOLS WHOSE BOOKS INCITE
LONDON SAYS IT’LL LOOK AT TENS OF MILLIONS GIVEN TO UN REFUGEE AGENCY; ONE PHYSICS BOOK DISCUSSES USE OF SLINGSHOTS AGAINST IDF SOLDIERS, OTHERS PRAISE TERRORISTS Times of Israel, TOI Staff. 22 February 2020
An image said to be from a Palestinian school textbook covering physics which shows a Palestinian boy shooting a slingshot at Israeli soldiers. The caption, according to the Daily Mail, reads: 'What is the relationship between the elongation of the slingshot's rubber and the tensile strength affecting it? What are the forces that influence the stone after its release from the slingshot?' (Courtesy IMPACT-se)
British officials have pledged to urgently review the tens of millions of dollars in aid the UK provides to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, after an investigative report found that a majority of the funds have been going to schools in the West Bank and Gaza Strip which use textbooks that incite violence against Israelis.
According to a Friday report in the UK-based Daily Mail, the Department for International Development and its secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, vowed to raise the issue with the Palestinian Authority, adding that London was working to carry out an independent review of the Palestinian textbooks.
“The UK Government has a zero tolerance approach toward incitement to violence,” a spokesman for the department told the Daily Mail.
The Daily Mail report included several examples of alleged incitement uncovered in textbooks used at schools funded by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). In one math textbook for nine-year-olds, students are asked to add up the number of martyrs from Palestinian uprisings, accompanied with images of their funerals. In another, 11-year-olds are taught Newton’s Second Law of Physics with a depiction of a boy pointing a slingshot at Israeli soldiers.
Other photos showed Palestinians using slingshots against Israeli forces and quizzed students on their potential use and effectiveness, as well as precautions to employ while using them.
An image said to be from a Palestinian school textbook shows Palestinians using various weapons against Israeli soldiers. The caption, according to the Daily Mail, reads: ‘During the Palestinian Stone Uprising of 1987, the youth of Palestine used a slingshot or the ‘shu’ba’ to confront the bullets of the Occupation army soldiers who were breaking into Palestinian towns. The Palestinians had no other means of defending themselves. Answer the questions: 1. Have you seen a slingshot in your environment? What are its uses? 2. What is its usefulness for shooting stones? How does it work? 3. Examine the forms of energy transformations of the stone, from the moment it is set in the slingshot position until its launch toward the target. 4. Formerly, bows and arrows were used as a means of self-defense. Explain the principle of how it [the bow] works in launching an arrow toward the goal and compare it with the principle of how slingshots worked in the Palestinian stone uprising. 5. What safety precautions should be taken into account when using the slingshot?’ (Courtesy IMPACT-se)
Textbooks were found to praise Palestinian “martyrs,” including Dalal al-Mughrabi, who led the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre during which Palestinian terrorists hijacked a bus and murdered 38 Israelis.
The materials revealed by the Daily Mail and their translations were provided to the paper by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se).
The UK has given some $427 million in aid to UNRWA over the past five years with another $84 million pledged for the coming year. Roughly 62 percent of that funding goes to schools in the Palestinian territories, which could be using such textbooks.
Responding to the Daily Mail report, UNRWA said in a statement that it “cannot alter host government curriculum as this is a matter of national sovereignty, but it does have robust systems in place to ensure education delivered in its schools reflects UN values.”
An image said to be from a Palestinian school textbook praises Palestinian terrorist Dalal al-Mughrabi, who took part in the 1978 massacre of 38 Israelis (Courtesy IMPACT-se)
Last May, the European Union announced that it would conduct an examination of new Palestinian school textbooks following a study that found them to be more radical than in the past and containing incitement and rejection of peace with Israel.
The development came after the European Parliament in April 2018 passed legislation geared to prevent hateful content in Palestinian textbooks. In October of that year the parliament’s budgetary committee recommended freezing more than $17 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority over incitement against Israel in its textbooks.
The EU hands the PA 360 million euros ($404 million) per year, with most earmarked for its education ministry. In addition, the European body donates $178 million to UNRWA, much of which goes to its schools that teach the PA curriculum.