Photo Credit: U.N. Photo/Shareef Sarhan
Gazan students in a UNRWA supported school in Gaza. (September 2011)

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) must change the anti-Israel curriculum taught in its schools or lose funding from the European Union.

The European Parliament’s Budget panel approved on Tuesday an amendment to withhold 20 million Euros in aid to UNRWA if immediate changes are not made to promote coexistence with Israel.

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“The reserve of EUR 20 million will be released by the next academic school year if substantive positive changes are made in the Palestinian Authority curriculum that promote coexistence and tolerance with the Jewish-Israeli ‘other and peace education with Israel in alignment with the goals of the two State solution,” the approved amendment 4083 said.

“Should there be no change, appropriations in reserve shall be used for funding Palestinian NGOs that have a proven track record of promoting educational initiatives in school settings for children designed to foster tolerance, coexistence and respect towards the Jewish-Israeli ‘other,’” the amendment adds.

“Hate speech, anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in Palestinian Authority and UNRWA textbooks have still not been removed. The EP decisions insisted that EU funded salaries of education civil servants who draft Palestinian textbooks must be made conditional on material reflecting values of peaces, tolerance, coexistence,” the justification for the amendment noted.

The EU is the Palestinian Authority’s largest donor.

In April, for the first time in history, the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning UNRWA for inciting hatred in its curricula and demanding that the content be “removed immediately.”

The rare decision came after activity by the Israeli IMPACT-se research, policy and advocacy organization which published extensive studies on the negative and anti-Semitic nature of UNRWA’s teaching materials. The studies show that UNRWA is teaching Arab students in its schools to reject the peace negotiations with Israel while promoting anti-Semitism, encouraging jihad, and glorifying terrorists and terrorism.

IMPACT-se has researched Israeli educational materials and has found that while they promote peace and underrating, the texts used in the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) promote war and Jew-hatred.

An IMPACT-se report from January showed that PA school textbooks have “consistently shown a systematic insertion of violence, martyrdom and jihad across all grades and subjects.”

UNRWA’s schools have long been exposed as a system in which virulent anti-Israel incitement is taught. Surveys of new textbooks issued by the PA and used by its schools show that they continue to express delegitimizing of the state of Israel, encouraging violence and omitting any trace of encouragement for peace.

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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.