UNRWA will not go away just because it loses US funds
UNRWA will not go away just because it loses US funds

Sometime during the month of February, the General Accounting Office (GAO), the investigative arm of the US Congress, is scheduled to issue a massive report on the indiscretions of UNRWA during the month of February. That report will create even more calls for the US to cut its aid to UNRWA, since the GAO is expected to produce real evidence of UNRWA ties to terror.

However, just because the US may suspend assistance equal to $369 million to UNRWA, that does not mean that this agency and its $1.2 billion budget will soon disappear.

What too many people do not address is the question of which country will replace US aid to UNRWA? 

2016 donor records show that Saudi Arabia became the number three donor to UNRWA donating $123 million, after the US and the EU

2017 Saudi donor figures, when published, will show an even greater Saudi increase of funds, which may replace the entire US budget.

The Saudis may not represent a positive development when it comes to UNRWA. While Riyadh shows a willingness to cooperate with Israel on matters of security and economy, thanks to Saudi antipathy to Iran, the Saudis have quietly become the mainstay of newly radicalized UNRWA education.

A new comprehensive study of all school books, commissioned by the Center for Near East Policy Research, underwritten by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and published by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, shows that UNRWA textbooks have deteriorated from incitement of children into a systematic school curriculum of indoctrination for 515,000 UNRWA students, encouraging them to engage in total war.

So UNRWA will not go away.

It  will remain ensconced as an agency whose continuity is protected by its mandate from the UN General Assembly.

Because UNRWA will continue, no matter what, Mr. Netanyahu’s deputy foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely, has stated in an interview with journalist Rachel Avraham that all funds to UNRWA should be dependent on a total reform of UNRWA education.

All this presents an opportunity for the 68 UNRWA’s donor nations to work in unison to adopt a “UNRWA Reform Initiative”, with reasonable demands:

Ask for an audit of donor funds that flow to UNRWA.This would address widespread documented reports of wasted resources, duplicity of services and the undesired flow of cash to terror groups, which gained control over UNRWA operations in Gaza ​and great influence over UNRWA throughout the region over the past 18 years.

Introduce UNHCR standards to UNRWA, to advance the ​final settlement of Arab refugees, after 67 years. Current UNRWA policy is that refugee resettlement would interfere with the “right of return” to Arab villages that existed before 1948.

Cancel the new UNRWA curriculum, which incorporates principles of Jihad, martyrdom and “right of return” by force of arms, in UN schools which are supposed to promote the UN slogan of “Peace Starts Here.”

Cease paramilitary training in all UNRWA schools. UNRWA ​could demonstrate commitment to UN ​peace education principles ​by cancelling all paramilitary activities in UNRWA schools which have been continuing for more than a decade, preparing children age 9 to 15 for war.

Insist that UNRWA dismiss employees who are affiliated with ​terrorist organizationsin accordance with laws on the books in ​the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and the EU, which forbid aid to any agency that employs members of a terrorist organization.

Insist that UNRWA cancel its contract with “​singing ​youth ambassador” Mohammad Assaf to travel the world encouraging violence. Would this not be the appropriate time for donor nations to ask that UNRWA cancel that contract with a harbinger of war?  

​Once such a reasonable “UNRWA Reform Initiative” is endorsed by mainstream members of the United Nations,  then UNRWA may simply  implode on its own when it refuses to reform its policies..

*David Bedein, MSW, has devoted 30 years of research into examining UNRWA policies, producing numerous articles, books and films on the subject, while making presentations at the UN, the US Congress, the Canadian Parliament, the British Parliament and the Swedish Parliament. He directs Israel Resource News Agency and administers the Center for Near East Policy Research and is the author of “Roadblock to Peace – How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict: UNRWA Policies Reconsidered” and “The Genesis of the Palestinian Authority.”