They talk, advertise, appear in the media - and none of the changes they announce so convincingly can ever come to pass.

David Bedein

OpEds לבן ריק
לבן ריק
credit David Michael Cohen

In February 2011, the producers of the Center For Near East Policy Research's  short film, "FOR THE SAKE OF NAKBA, exposing the anti-Israel incitement in the UNRWA school system in the Palestinian Authority, presented that movie at a synagogue in Chicago.

Only a few weeks later,  UNRWA dispatched a speaker to that same synagogue to raise funds for a new UNRWA Holocaust curriculum that the agency announced it was about to implement. 

This news of an UNRWA Holocaust curriculum seemed rather odd to Arab and Jewish journalists  who had covered UNRWA for many years, because they had never heard of any such thing in UNRWA.  However, as news spread of the initiative, US Jewish groups showered praise on UNRWA for its reported desire to sensitize Arab youth to the Holocaust. Israeli intelligence also praised UNRWA for the same reason.

The UNRWA rep toured the US at the time and raised an undetermined amount of funds for the UNRWA Holocaust education initiative.   However, as reported at the time, there was widespread Palestinian Arab opposition to the UNRWA Holocaust education initiative in the UNRWA communities, and the program  never came to fruition.

Yet  funds raised by UNRWA remained with UNRWA and were allocated to the UNRWA Ministry of Education, which works together with the Palestinian Authority - to supply schools with all of their textbooks.

Arab and Jewish experts at the  Center for Near East Policy Research reviewed all PA school books used in UNRWA schools, and  concluded that the UNRWA/PA school system is based on full scale war indoctrination of the 492,000 students who are being educated in those schools in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Jerusalem. 

What  became of the UNRWA Holocaust Education Initiative? We asked  that of a senior official in the UN  who supervises UNRWA. His answer, in writing was that there was never any plan by UNRWA to implement any Holocaust education initiative  

In other words, UNRWA raised funds for a program that never existed and never would exist, using the fundraising to improve its image in the Jewish community and in Israel.      

Between 2011 and 2016, the Center for Near East Policy Research dispatched experts to conduct a briefing each year for staffers and members of the US Congress about  the UNRWA war curriculum. 

Since the US donates  $400 million of the $1.2 billion UNRWA budget, UNRWA was not happy with these briefings and sent a representative to each of these briefings to passionately state that UNRWA runs no war curriculum in its schools, and that UNRWA was devoid of incitement.

The Obama administration kicked in with its own statements on the record that denied the very existence of incitement in the PA/UNRWA schools. 

Now UNRWA has changed its tune, after President Trump, very early in his administration, made it known that he would no longer tolerate the current Palestinian school books which promote incitement to war. 

Fearful that  the new US Administration would cut the US contribution to UNRWA, UNRWA suddenly changed its message, sending out information claiming that it has created a peace education curriculum to eradicate the incitement - which UNRWA had been saying for years did not exist. 

UNRWA went to the trouble of circulating the precise changes that it intended to implement to overhaul the UNRWA curriculum. However, the Palestinian Authority, contracted by UNRWA as  the exclusive supplier of school books to UNRWA, objected to any changes that UNRWA was reportedly offering. 

So there will be no  PA UNRWA peace education curriculum. Just like there is no Holocaust education initiative.

International and Israeli media are still reporting unchangedly that UNRWA is about to implement a peace education curriculum.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

As it did regarding the non-existent UNRWA Holocaust Education Initiative, UNRWA is spreading the story of a peace education curriculum  -  with no basis in reality.