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UNRWA Under Pressure: Swiss Diplomat Faces Calls For Overhaul In Wake Of War

Donor Nations Push for Sweeping Policy Changes in UNRWA, Focusing on School Curriculum and Militarization

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A view of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) building in Rafah in the Gaza Strip on July 26, 2018. (Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90 via JNS)

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In the aftermath of the recent conflict, Swiss diplomat Philippe Lazzarini, the head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), is set to encounter a wave of pressure from donor nations. The call for change is particularly directed towards UNRWA schools, which have been utilizing the Palestinian Authority curriculum for the past 25 years, raising concerns about the indoctrination of Palestinian Arab children with goals inconsistent with the UN’s principles.

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Looming challenges for the UNRWA commissioner include: 

  1. Mismatched Textbooks: UNRWA textbooks deviating from the values of peaceful reconciliation, featuring controversial figures like Dalal el Mugrabi, known for leading a terror attack that resulted in the deaths of 38 individuals, including 13 children.
  2. Exclusive Use of Palestinian Authority Schoolbooks: Contracts binding UNRWA to use Palestinian Authority schoolbooks, which promote the ideology of the Palestine Liberation Organization, conflicting with the UN’s “Peace Begins Here” slogan.
  3. Violent Imagery: UNRWA schools adorned with posters and murals of “martyrs,” promoting violence against Jews.
  4. El Kutla Youth Clubs: Inspiring armed struggle from a young age, these clubs within UNRWA schools contribute to violent incitement.
  5. Military Parades: Frequent military parades in UNRWA premises, a practice that could be halted to promote a more neutral environment.

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Addressing these concerns requires decisive action, including the removal of violent images, cancellation of contracts, and a ban on any UNRWA employee affiliated with Hamas. Additionally, the fiscal transparency of UNRWA’s budget, the content of exported school textbooks, and the recognition of Israel on distributed maps are among the critical issues demanding attention.

There is also positive development in U.S.-UNRWA relations, where the U.S. imposed conditions on funding, specifically requiring a revision of UNRWA’s war education curriculum. This marked a significant step in ensuring that aid dollars contribute to humanitarian needs and not activities that may perpetuate violence or conflict.

As the pressure intensifies, the new UNRWA commissioner must navigate a complex landscape to bring about the necessary reforms, promoting a more neutral and peaceful educational environment for the children under UNRWA’s care.

David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist. In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post. Bedein’s work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site, unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

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