Australia’s $90 million gift to UNRWA “a blunder”

June 5, 2012 by David Bedein
Read on for article

The May 28th 2012decision of the Australian government to increase its allocation to the United Nations Relief and Works agency, UNRWA, the agency that serves Palestinian Refugees and their descendants – by 450% – from $19 million to $90 million, with funds geared for the most part to the UNRWA educational system, warrants careful examination…writes David Bedein.

David Bedein

The educational approach taught by UNRWA to half a million Palestinian Arab pupils is that their purpose in life is to reclaim villages from 1948 which no longer exist.

Every aspect of Palestinian Authority education in the UNRWA refugee camps, is oriented around the realization of the “right of return” for Palestinian Arab refugees from the 1948 war.

Yet only about 1 percent of the UNRWA residents are real refugees who fit the original UNRWA definition of “people whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict.”

In 1950, UNRWA defined a refugee as someone who had “lost his home and his means of livelihood” during the 1948 war launched by Arab countries to destroy Israel

Fifteen years later, UNRWA decided – against objections from western nations – to include as refugees the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of those who left Israel.

In 1982, UNRWA extended eligibility to all subsequent generations of descendants – forever.

The UNRWA school system which stresses the right of return as its theme is hardly inculcated through peaceful means.

In 2009, the European Parliament commissioned a study of the UNWRA teachers and workers union elections that were held at the time. The results of that report were that Al-Kutla al-Islamiya, ( the Islamic block) became Hamas’s official arm operating in the educational institutions run by UNRWA in Gaza.

In each UNRWA school, Hamas appoints a student to head an al-Kutla local branch, who operates as point of contact for Hamas. This point man is responsible for recruiting students to the Kutla and organizing activities inside the UNRWA school and after-school activities.

Dr. Arnon Groiss, who sits on a US-Norwegian-Israeli-Palestinian panel whose task it is to review incitement in the middle east, has reviewed all of the 200 new school books used by UNRWA and presented the “right of return” curriculum used by UNRWA

Most recently, Dr. Groiss provided special briefings for senior staff members and elected officials of the the Canadian Parliament and the US government

In his presentations, Dr. Groiss noted that “Israel does not exist on any map.” in any UNRWA schools

The textbook for Grade 9, Reading and Texts, asks students to “reconcile between the following poetical lines and the feelings they express”: “The morning of glory and red liberty watered by the martyrs’ blood… the hope for the Liberation of Palestine.”

The 8th-grade version of Reading and Texts reads: “Your enemies killed your children; split open your women’s bellies, took your revered elderly people by the beard, and led them to the death pits…”

The 7th-grade textbook, Our Beautiful Language, features a poem entitled “The Martyr”: “Hearing weapons’ clash is pleasant to my ear and the flow of blood gladdens my soul/ as we as a body thrown upon the ground skirmished over by the desert predators/…By your life! This is the death of men and whoever asks for a noble death – here it is!”

The 5th-grade version of Our Beautiful Language includes a poem entitled “We Shall Return,” which inculcates the “Right of Return”- by force “Return, return, we shall return/ Borders shall not exist, nor citadels and fortresses/ Cry out, O those who have left:/ we shall return!/ [We] shall return to the homes, to the valleys, to the mountains/ Under the flag of glory, Jihad and struggle/ With blood, sacrifice [fida], fraternity and loyalty/ We shall return/… To jihad in the hills; [to] harvest in the land.”

Other language in the texts appears to justify terrorism. A sentence from the 8th-grade Reading text exhorts, “O brother, the oppressors have exceeded all bounds and Jihad [Holy War] and sacrifice [fida] are imperative…”

In all these school books used by UNRWA, all Israeli cities – Haifa, Ramle, Jerusalem, Acre – are depicted Palestinian Arab cities.

Currently, both the US Congress and the Canadian parliament are considering legislation that would condition any further aid to UNRWA education on a reform of the UNRWA curriculum

US Rep. Chris Smith, a 32 year veteran congressman, and a senior member of the US Congressional Middle East Subcommittee. has declared that all future aid to UNRWA must be“based on a certification where the president would have to certify that the UNWRA textbooks are completely excised of all antisemitic hate,” adding that “zero tolerance on hate in those textbooks” should be the benchmark.

“And so, if you teach kids to hate when they’re very, very young and just keep feeding them that kind of formula for violence, why are we surprised when they strap on dynamite and other kinds of explosives to kill themselves and think they’re doing a good thing?” Smith said. “They’ve been taught. And we have to be much more emphatic – zero tolerance on hate in those textbooks.

“Peace starts here,” is the key phrase which UNRWA uses to introduce all of its videos, pamphlets, posters and other marketing and material. UNRWA video clips produced by “American Friends of UNRWA” depict smiling Palestinian children competing in sports games in UNRWA school yards, leaving the impression that UNRWA has instilled a message of peace into the young Palestinian generation that has been under UNRWA’s care since the agency’s inception in 1950.

The reality on the ground is far different.

However, Australia has provided a grant to UNRWA education -with no strings attached – without paying any heed to the reality on the ground of UNRWA education.

The decision makers in Australian foreign policies are not aware of serious investigations of UNRWA that now ensuing in Brussels, Ottawa, and Washington?

The question remains: Who is responsible for such a “Blunder Down Under?

*David Bedein is the Director of Israel Resource News Agency and the Center for Near East Policy Research, located at the Beit Agron International Press Center in Jerusalem Israel

The writer has conducted research studies and news stories about UNRWA for the past 24 years: and has produced three films about UNRWA

and is the author of “Where has all the Flour Gone: The Whims and Waste of UNRWA Arab Refugee Policy.”


One Response to “Australia’s $90 million gift to UNRWA “a blunder””
  1. While David Bedein’s advice is most pertinent, it must be added that all his information has been a well known fact. Politicians “specialised” in foreign afairs, let’s say the Minister himself, ought to have known all that was “revealed” here. Yet, in spite of all this, the Australian dedcision went ahead ! How such a blatant defiance of impeding realities could result in the logic of support for a most undemocratic, uncivilised, mosr aggressive society could be tolerated in OUR , Australian, society is a major question which has not been posted at the Minister’s feet with suficient persuasive poweres.
    And here comes the second most important question. Why did the collective leadership” of our community visit Carr well after the horse has botled, after the signing and finalistation of this major blow to our community and to common sense in general. This reflects directly and without any possible excuse on the quality of our leadership.
    A lot can be said about the effects of solid financial support to a “peace partner” to Israel, one that has been undermining any possible peace chance by the simple evidence of the educational content it prommotes to its current and future citizen/soldiers. Fact is that Australia has been providing material support for the active undermining of any chance to a civilised resolution of the conflict.
    Arguments of the most absurd tone abound with those who are obviously on the intent of not respecting any logic, any basic tenets of civilised conduct. Whatever Carr says, fact is that OUR money will end up in propping an ideology and its pernicious mechanism in actions which are completely the opposite to what our society should prommote.
    Carr is acountable to the entire Australian society for this blatant defience , our communal leaders are accountable to us for this failure – once again – to contain a perillous wave of anti Israel, indeed anti Jewish tangible realities. Our men have failed miserably again !!!
    C’mon boys, another 30 page letter to SBS or you have not finished yet your cup of hot chocolate !!

Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published

Got something to say about this?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.