Teachers at schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) are complaining they are unable to praise Hamas terrorists on social media, according to a report in the anti-Israel news outlet, “The Electronic Intifada.”
“I used to publish stories for some international websites,” Ahmed, 28, told the news outlet. His name is an alias, because he did not want to use his real name, The Electronic Media explains.
“I also used to express my support for the Palestinian resistance through Facebook, especially during the previous three Israeli attacks on Gaza and in many other events in all Palestine,” he said.
But since his employment began with UNRWA, he added, he has “effectively been silenced” because the agency is under scrutiny from international donors.
“As long as I am working in this agency, I am forced to stop myself from likes, shares, or creating posts on any political issue, fearing for my job,” he said.
UNRWA employees are required to maintain a neutral stance.
On its website, UNRWA says “humanitarian actors must not take sides in hostilities or engage in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.”
It is not an unusual requirement for employees of a diplomatic international organization, but it is one that some teachers in Gaza, despite their good salaries, are having a hard time with, according to a report in August by UN Watch called Beyond the Texbooks.
The report revealed 22 recent cases of UNRWA staff incitement against Israel.
“As revealed in the report, UNRWA staff stationed in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan have publicly incited antisemitism and terrorism,” the agency said in a release at the time.
“Among the educators who have used their personal social media channels for such propaganda are UNRWA Gaza math teacher Nahed Sharawi, who shared a video of Adolf Hitler with inspirational quotes to “enrich and enlighten your thoughts and minds.”
“Husni Masri, an UNRWA teacher in the West Bank, posted antisemitic conspiracy theories according to which Jews control the world, created the coronavirus and seek to destroy Islam.
“UN Watch’s report lists a total of 113 cases that it managed to capture from UNRWA employees’ public pages alone, all celebrating and promoting violence, even among young children. The watchdog group only examined a sample of Facebook users who publicly identified themselves as UNRWA employees, and estimates that the actual number of UNRWA staff who incite violence and hatred includes many more of the agency’s 30,000 staff.”
Of those who were accused, 10 were suspended without pay, pending the results of an investigation, an UNRWA spokesperson told The Electronic Intifada.
UN Watch called on governments that fund UNRWA to take action “to stop the vicious cycle of generations being taught to hate and violently attack Jews,” UN Watch Director Hillel Neuer said in a statement.
“We demand that UNRWA address the core problem, and demonstrate its genuine commitment to basic norms of education in its schools, by publicly condemning UNWRA employees who incite terrorism and antisemitism, removing them from their positions, and creating an independent and impartial investigation of all of its staff.”