Report: Anti-Israel bias in 3 percent of Palestinian textbooks

State Department report on UNRWA uncovers cases of anti-Israel and other bias in 3.1 percent of Palestinian Arab textbooks.

Arutz Sheva North America Staff ,

UNRWA Textbooks
UNRWA Textbooks
Miri Tzachi

A State Department report on the UN agency for “Palestinian refugees”, UNRWA, uncovered cases of anti-Israel and other bias in 3.1 percent of Palestinian Arab textbooks, JTA reported Friday.

UNRWA delivers relief as well as education to Palestinian Arabs. The report in question is dated April 2018 and was declassified this week at the request of two Republican congressmen, Reps. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Lee Zeldin of New York.

The State Department report on UNRWA covers the 2015-17 period and faults the agency and a previous State Department report for saying that UNRWA had successfully disseminated complementary materials and had completed teacher training.

It cites a review by the UN agency itself, identifying 203 issues covering a total of 229 pages out of 7,498 pages reviewed, or 3.1 percent. The issues are examples of material that did not comport with UN values of tolerance, neutrality, equality and nondiscrimination, and human rights relating to race, gender language and religion.

An annex detailing the problematic passages did not appear in the report posted by Zeldin and Perry, but the report said that “more than half of the neutrality/bias issues it found” were related to maps, the status of Jerusalem and other cities, “for example, regional maps that exclude Israel, and refer to Israeli cities as Palestinians.” Other neutrality issues had to do with gender.

The UNRWA review did not find any cases of incitement, the report said.

UNRWA, whose duties include running a school system, developed alternate materials and training to counter the biased material, but it was not extensively used, in part because of Palestinian objections to the UNRWA corrective measures, according to JTA.

Palestinian Arab teachers also refused to attend training sessions during a strike because of teacher union reactions to the material and the Palestinian Authority suspending ties with UNRWA over its issuance of the complementary materials. The report did not say what the objections were by the Palestinian Authority and the teacher unions.

The 2018 report faulted a State Department report from a year earlier for saying that UNRWA had successfully disseminated the complementary materials and completed teacher training.

Created in 1949, UNRWA supplies aid to more than three million of the five million people who are registered as “Palestinian refugees” in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and territories assigned to the Palestinian Authority.

However, it is also notorious for its anti-Israel activities. During the 2014 counterterrorism Operation Protective Edge, Hamas rockets were discovered inside a school building run by UNRWA.

Likewise, a booby-trapped UNRWA clinic was detonated, killing three IDF soldiers. Aside from the massive amounts of explosives hidden in the walls of the clinic, it was revealed that it stood on top of dozens of terror tunnels, showing how UNRWA is closely embedded with Hamas.

The United States, the largest single contributor to UNRWA, announced last August that it would end its $350 million a year funding for the agency, describing the organization as an “irredeemably flawed operation”.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)