Dry Bones - EU defunding UNRWA due to textbooks
Dry Bones - EU defunding UNRWA due to textbooksY. Kirschen

The European Parliament has threatened to block €20 million in aid to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) – unless “substantive positive” changes are made by the next academic school year to Palestinian Authority (PA) textbooks used in UNWRA schools.

EU funding will instead go to organisations that “have a proven track record of promoting educational initiatives in school settings for children designed to foster tolerance, coexistence and respect towards the Jewish-Israeli 'other'."

UN security guards prevented Ambassador Gilad Erdan from showing evidence of UNRWA anti-Semitism at a meeting on October 4, 2021 during which the Commissioner-General of UNWRA spoke and in which a report was presented by the Committee "Investigating the Human Rights Violations of Palestinians by Israel".

The truth is brought below.

Many PA textbooks currently:

  • incite Jew-hatred,
  • prefer Jihad to peaceful resolution of the Jewish-Arab conflict and
  • do not recognize Israel on any of their maps

The May 2021 Report of the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) has highlighted hundreds of examples of intolerance and hatred in current PA textbooks – pointing out:

“Schools are one of the most powerful tools to mitigate extremist influences. They are key to achieving the tolerant and open-minded societies of the future. But they can also be where negative influences—skewed historical narratives, hatred of others, gender inequalities and even political violence–can take root.”

The Report looked at 222 textbooks used in the 2021 Palestinian School Curriculum Grades 1-12. Of those - 105 textbooks had not changed at all and remained as they were in 2019 – finding:

  • there were no substantive positive changes made to the current Palestinian curriculum
  • the curriculum had moved further from meeting UNESCO standards and
  • newly published textbooks were more radical than those previously published

The Report concluded:

“There is a systematic insertion of violence, martyrdom and jihad across all grades and subjects. Extreme nationalism and Islamist ideologies are widespread throughout the curriculum, including science and math textbooks. The possibility of peace with Israel is rejected. Any historical Jewish presence in the modern-day territories of Israel and the Palestinian Authority is entirely omitted from the textbooks.”

UNRWA Textbooks
UNRWA TextbooksMiri Tzachi

Some specific examples provided in the IMPACT-se Report substantiate:


An eleventh-grade Palestinian Arab history textbook implies that Jews control the world, using imagery of an arm with a Star of David holding a globe

Grade 10 students are taught that Jews control money, the media, and politics and use them for their own benefit

Jews are characterized in a Grade 5 textbook as sinful liars and fraudsters for turning their backs on the Prophet in early Islam

Rejection of Peace

All peace agreements, summits and proposals with Israel post-1993 Oslo Accords - previously included in PA textbooks - have been completely removed from the curriculum.

Peace advocacy as a universal ideal appearing in a 2018 social studies fifth grade textbook was deleted from the 2019 edition and not reintroduced for 2020.

The peace treaty with Jordan is absent after appearing in pre-2016 editions of a Grade 12 textbook.

Encouragement of Martyrdom and Jihad

A fifth grade textbook chapter glorifying Palestinian martyrs describes dying as better than living

A tenth grade textbook presents Jihad “for the liberation of Palestine” as a “private obligation for every Muslim”

Absence of Israel on Maps

Out of more than two hundred maps across the PA textbook curriculum - not one mentions the name “Israel”.

Most maps illustrating "Palestine"’s current borders show the word “Palestine” written across the entire territory - without demarcation lines - entirely disregarding Israel’s existence.

"Palestine"'s territory is mostly described as from the “river to the sea”


Third-graders learn that Jerusalem is an Arab city holy to Muslims and Christians alone - without learning about its historical connection to Jews or Judaism

In conclujsion, any peaceful resolution of the 100-years old Jewish-Arab conflict seems further away than ever whilst PA textbooks inciting Jewish-Israeli hatred continue to poison young peoples’ minds.

David Singer is an Australian lawyer who is active in Zionist community organizations in that country. He founded the "Jordan is Palestine" Committee in 1979.

Author’s note: The cartoon — commissioned exclusively for this article — is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators — whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades.