Israel ousting UNRWA schools from Jerusalem

January 21, 2019 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Israel’s National Security Council (NSC) has decided to step up its battle against UNRWA’s presence in Jerusalem and will now move to shut down its schools in the capital.

Nir Barkat Photo: Esty Dziubov/TPS

After stopping sanitation services provided by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in Jerusalem in October, Israel will now act to shut down the agency’s educational operations in the city.

Nir Barkat, who until recently served as Jerusalem mayor and who initiated the plan to oust UNRWA from Jerusalem, stated Saturday that he welcomed the move, and that “for decades UNRWA has been disseminating hatred against the State of Israel and the Jewish People through its schools – its removal is a display of sovereignty.”

UNRWA’s schools have long been exposed as a system in which virulent anti-Israel incitement is taught. A recent survey of new textbooks issued by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and used by Palestinian students, shows that they continue to express the same basic principles that appeared in previous textbooks: delegitimizing the state of Israel, encouraging violence and omitting any trace of encouragement for peace. The books, which are strongly hostile to Israel and the Jewish people, are also used by UNRWA-run schools.

Speaking in October at a Knesset Internal Affairs Committee meeting on the plan to remove UNRWA from Jerusalem, Barkat said that ”the time has come to remove UNRWA from Jerusalem and replace their failing education, welfare, health and cleaning services with municipal services. This is also the desire of the Arab residents themselves.”

He noted that President Donald Trump’s decision to cut support to UNRWA earlier last year “created a window of opportunity for implementing a plan and putting an end to this historical distortion.”

”The time has come to stop this lie about refugees in Jerusalem,” Barkat said. ”They are not refugees, but residents who need to receive services from the municipality like any other resident. Money is not an excuse. It costs us two percent of the city’s total budget.”

”UNRWA strengthens terrorism,” Barkat charged. He showed the committee a textbook taught at UNRWA schools that praises notorious Palestinian terrorist Dalal Mughrabi.

Mughrabi led the most lethal terror attack in Israel’s history, known as the Coastal Road massacre in 1978, during which she and other Fatah terrorists hijacked a bus on Israel’s Coastal Highway, murdering 37 civilians, 12 of them children, and wounding over 70.

MK Yehuda Glick said that Barkat’s decision “to begin a process of removing the trash from Jerusalem must include this trash that is called UNRWA, a body which deals solely in incitement rather than education.”

“They take people who want to integrate into Israeli society in Jerusalem, want to be a part of Israeli society, and encourage them not to integrate, not to move forward academically and stay behind. They teach them that Israel is the enemy,” he added.

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