UNWRA donors must do more to stop incitement and promote peace

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The Israeli-Palestinian conflict exists to the detriment of both parties. While peace with our neighbors has always been the goal, that does not prevent mistrust and, in some cases, hatred, from being directed to the other side. Towards the end of high school, Israeli children do not discuss which university they want to enter, but which army unit. It is a sad reality that has plagued Israeli society since before its founding.

The consequences of the conflict are no less felt in the West Bank or Gaza, where the heartbreaking presence of the Israeli security forces is both traumatic and necessary. Ever since Israel built its security wall as a necessary response to the fervent wave of Palestinian terrorism of the Second Intifada, innocent Palestinians have paid the price. The world recognizes the hardships both sides face as a result of the conflict and regularly calls for a long-term peaceful solution. What they ignore, however, is the role that the school curriculum – which they fund and which indoctrinates Palestinian children to hate and violently resist the “Zionist Jewish occupation” – plays as one of the greatest obstacles to peace.

An unpublished report from the European Union analyzed more than 150 textbooks and teacher’s guides used between 2017 and 2020. The findings highlight common tropes in the Palestinian school curriculum, such as the glorification of terrorists and the promotion of terrorism. blatant anti-Semitism. For example, the report found “a conscious perpetuation of anti-Jewish prejudices, especially when embedded in the current political context.”

In another example, Dalal al-Mughrabi, a Palestinian woman involved in a 1978 bus hijacking that resulted in the murder of 38 Israelis, 13 of whom were children, is repeatedly presented as a prime example of women’s empowerment. It is important to note that these textbooks were created and are taught by educators whose salaries are funded directly by the EU. Sadly, these are far from the only example of this kind of hate education funded by the West.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which has been specially mandated to resolve the Palestinian refugee crisis, no longer serves but to perpetuate it by publishing its own educational materials that casually wipes Israel off its maps and regularly makes praise of terrorism.

UNRWA DONORS, which in the past were mainly EU Member States, not only allow this damaging type of education, but encourage it through their funding. While the administration of US President Joe Biden plans to resume funding the agency by around $ 250 million, Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently confirmed that the transfer of this aid would be conditional on reform of the agency. ‘education. While this is a good step, it is unlikely to lead to change as the rest of the world continues to fund the organization regardless of what it teaches Palestinian children.

Some other examples are even more horrific. An internationally funded kindergarten in Gaza hosts a simulation roughly every year in which its five-year-old children dress up as terrorists from the Palestinian Islamist Jihad terrorist organization. The children claim to kidnap and murder an Israeli soldier and an Israeli Jewish civilian to the applause of an audience of parents, teachers and others.

How can Israelis and Palestinians create peace when this is what is taught? The problem, however, goes beyond the education system. Terrorists are glorified at the societal level, with schools, streets and sports grounds often named after the most successful shahids (“martyrs”). The Palestinian Authority’s Pay for Kill program directly and shamelessly promotes terrorism, this month paying $ 42,000 to the family of a terrorist who killed two Israelis and injured woman and child two years of one of the victims.

To illustrate the depth of this situation, about half of the $ 693 million the Palestinian Authority received in foreign aid in 2017, some $ 345 million, was paid out in grants to terrorists. and their families. While the PA is the one writing the checks, the world is responsible for storing its bank accounts. How can the world call for peace while turning a blind eye to what its funding supports?

It should be clear that there is no chance for peace when hatred is pervasive in the Palestinian education system. It should also be intuitively understood that there is absolutely no incentive for Palestinians to make these necessary changes when the status quo is generously funded by a myriad of countries, international government organizations and NGOs. It is a complete oxymoron to advocate for a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while at the same time funding programs and policies that encourage violence. If the world is truly for peace, then it should put its money where its mouth is.

The writer is a former commander of the IDF, a current student at IDC Herzliya and a policy researcher for the Pinsker Center.

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