David Bedein

Stop UNRWA War Education : What You Can Do

Showing CAMP JIHAD at  the House of Commons

Jonathan HaLevi, David Bedein, MP Bob Blackman and Dr. Arnon Groiss at the House of Commons at the British Parliament

The collapse of talks with the Palestinian Authority leave an agency in tact which is capable of galvanizing nearly half a million Palestinian students into violent, direct action against Israel, under the slogan of the “right of return”.

That agency is UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

During the second week of March, 2014, education experts Dr. Arnon Groiss and Mr. Jonathan HaLevi provided academic presentations at venues in the US Congress and the British Parliament concerning  lethal aspects of UNRWA education:

* UNRWA schools in Gaza – a greenhouse for Hamas and anti Israeli radicalism

* UNRWA’s Problematic Educational Role in the Middle East Conflict

Concerning US AID and UK DFID funding of UNRWA education, our agency asked US AID and UK DFID if either entity would conduct an evaluation of UNRWA education, which prepares half a million Palestinian students in UNRWA schools to engage in a war to liberate all of Palestine, under the slogan of “the right of return” to Arab villages which were abandoned during the 1948 war.

US AID and DFID have not responded that that inquiry.

This is the letter sent, concerning incitement in schools hosted by UNRWA:

On February 24, 2014, our agency arranged for a briefing on UNRWA education at the Israel Knesset Parliament for all diplomatic missions that fund UNRWA

All major government agencies that fund UNRWA were invited. 16 funders showed. DFID was there. US AID would not attend.

An official of US AID wrote that US AID is “not involved” with UNRWA education, despite US AID press releases which clearly state that that US AID funds UNRWA schools.

At all briefings, Dr. Groiss displayed the newest Palestinian Authority textbooks in use in the UNRWA schools, and mentioned that there are objective ways to evaluate the new textbooks.

It is important to mention that the Vatican conducted the first evaluation of new Palestinian school books of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in September, 2000.

The Vatican PA textbook report concluded that new PA school books promote war, and not peace. That report caused the Italian government to withdraw funds from Palestinian Authority education at the time. Legislators from donor nations can ask the Vatican to share their report the new PA school books that the late Archbishop Pietro Sambi, former Papal Nuncio in Jerusalem, initiated at the time.

With the UNRWA mandate set to expire on June 30, 2014, the US, the biggest funder of UNRWA, could ask fellow donors to demand that the renewal of UNRWA’s mandate be premised on a reform of UNRWA:

 1. To not use school books that encourage children to engage in acts of war.

 2. To stop support for designated foreign terrorist entities such as Hamas.

 3. To cease promotion of the “right of return” through “armed struggle.”

 4. To adopt internationally accepted UNHCR definitions of refugee status, and not to bequeath refugee status on descendants of refugees from 1948.

 The good news is  that you do not have to go through the UN General Assembly to change UNRWA.

 UNRWA is an autonomous body which operates under support from donor nations, who could ask that the UNRWA operation reflect an agenda of peace and reconciliation.

Citizens of donor nation could take the initiative to reform UNRWA, by asking elected their democratically elected officials to ask that UNRWA be true to its slogan: PEACE STARTS HERE.

MP Bob Blackman, a member of the British Parliament who listened intently to the UNRWA education briefing at a House of Commons briefing room with Dr. Gross and Jonathan HaLevi, stressed how important it is that citizens write to elected representatives, on the inappropriateness of a United Nations humanitarian agency which hosts a war education curriculum.

MP Blackman stressed that elected officials who receive such individually written letters of concern will take the issue very seriously.

About the Author
David Bedein, who grew up in Philadelphia and moved to Israel in 1970 at the age of 20, is an MSW community organizer by profession and an expereinced investigative journalist. In 1987 he established the Israel Resource News Agency, with offices at the Beit Agron Int’l Press Center in Jerusalem, where he also serves as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research. In 1991, Bedein was the special CNN middle east radio correspondent. Since 2001, Bedein has contributed features to the newspaper Makor Rishon. In 2006, Bedein became the foreign correspondent for the Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. He is the author of " The Genesis of the Palestinian Authority" and "ROADBLOCK TO PEACE- How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict: UNRWA policies reconsidered"and the director and producer of the numerous short films about UNRWA policy which can be located at: