Today’s New York Times reports that the Biden administration plans to restore hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians. That’s a good thing, right? Well, not entirely. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says $150 million of that aid will be provided through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The problem is that UNRWA schools systematically delegitimize Israel. Those schools use the curricula of their host countries. In the West Bank and Gaza — where UNRWA operates 370 schools serving more than 300,000 students — that means UNRWA uses the curriculum established by the Palestinian Authority (PA).
In a recent study of 89 teachers’ guides published by the PA, Dr. Arnon Groiss found that students are indoctrinated according to three “fundamentals”: (1) “delegitimization of Israel’s existence and of the Jews’ very presence in the country on the basis of the perceived Palestinians’ exclusive right to the country and the rejection of any rights Jews might have there,” (2) “demonization of both Israel and the Jews,” and (3) “call for a violent liberation struggle instead of advocacy for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.”
Students are taught that because Palestine belongs exclusively to the Arabs, the illegitimate Zionist occupation extends to the whole land between the Jordan River and the sea — not just the West Bank. There is no mention of the Jews’ historical ties to the land. Nor is it explained that Arabs tried to expel the Jews by starting an unsuccessful war in 1948. Rather, Palestinians are portrayed only as victims of the Nakba, perpetrated by “Zionist gangs.”
According to the UNRWA curriculum, Israel does not exist. There is only an entity called “Palestine.” Tel Aviv does not appear on a map of the region. Jerusalem is said to have been established by Arabs, and there is no mention of Jewish ties to the city. Fifth graders are taught that the Western Wall — referred to as the “Al-Buraq Wall” — is part of the western wall of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Only Muslims have the right to worship there. Therefore, it must be liberated from the Jews, who are called “the Devil’s aides.” As early as the first grade, UNRWA schools call for a war of liberation, resulting in the elimination of Israel. This war is to be based on the so-called “right of return.” Third graders are taught that the Jews are to be exterminated.
It wasn’t always this way. Originally, UNRWA was founded to rehabilitate Palestinian refugees. But after years of Arab non-cooperation, it abandoned that task. Nevertheless, its mandate, supported by American funding, was extended. UNWRA’s emphasis then shifted to vocational training and education. There it became a proponent of Palestinian resistance to a two-state solution. As Adi Schwartz and Einat Wilf have documented, “students were primarily indoctrinated with claims of exclusive Palestinian rights over the entire land, the illegitimacy of the Jewish state, and the unprecedented injustice that befell them.” “UNWRA’s schools repeatedly emphasized the idea of a violent return to the territory of the state of Israel.” Thus, “UNWRA’s education system effectively became an instrument for the mobilization of the population of the camps for the Palestinian armed struggle.”
And once again, Americans step up to pay for it all.