David Bedein

Why Does the US Continue to Fund UNRWA Schools?

At a time when leaders of the Palestinian  Authority curse out the US Ambassador to Israel, it  would seem  counterintuitive to criticize the US embassy for its continuing support UNRWA education, which is based on the newest PA curriculum.

And yet as I recently outlined in The Algemeiner, the UN’s Palestinian relief agency — UNRWA — continues to promote hatred, antisemitism and jihad in its education materials.

The Palestinian Authority — with the help of UNRWA — now train their children for war, making  future peace deals with Israel impossible.

On ​January 1, 2018, UNRWA incorporated another new set of school books — which it obtained from the Palestinian Authority — to educate a new generation of 500,000 children, who live in UNRWA refugee camps.

But as my post in The Algemeiner detailed, these new books are no different from the old ones.

Now here is the rub: When I questioned the US Embassy in Israel as to why the US continues to fund UNRWA schools that use such a war curriculum, I received no response.

When asked the same question, a State Department spokesperson responded by saying: “[We take] such reports seriously. We are in regular contact with UNRWA to ensure any allegation of inflammatory, biased, or inciteful content in education materials is thoroughly investigated and addressed.”

However, when asked if the Americans were monitoring textbook content, the spokesperson would only say: “The US government has supported UNRWA in the development and integration of educational materials that promote human rights, conflict resolution, and tolerance.”

Yet new UNRWA school books don’t reflect State Department reassurances.

This is an American issue — because the US remains the most important funder of UNRWA, to the tune of $360 million a year — out of a total $1.2 billion UNRWA budget. And UNRWA reports that 54% of the UNRWA budget goes to education.

So why does the US continue to fund such a curriculum?

Someone should ask the US Congress and Mike Pompeo — should he be confirmed come the new US Secretary of State.

Meanwhile, we have learned that the new head of US AID, Mr. Mark Green, is open minded and responsive to criticism. US AID acts as the American funding arm of UNRWA.  Mr. Green should be swamped with feedback.

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: