UNRWA continues with its old tricks again. If it’s not allowing terrorists to hide rockets in their schools, they are poisoning the minds of Palestinians, young and old.
In case anyone had any doubt about the teaching methods in UNRWA, an Israeli investigation into UNRWA’s schoolbooks (via Reality) shows that their schoolbooks erase the presence of Israel:
These textbooks—written by the Palestinian Ministry of Education—are used in schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in both Gaza and the West Bank.
However, the most shocking discovery is that the UN schools don’t teach Palestinian children to recognize Israel as a country—not within the 1947 borders, nor any borders at all.
The research was presented by Dr. Arnon Gross who translated the books, and Dr. Ronni Shaked from the Harry Truman Research Institute at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
In one of the history books, Zionism is defines as a colonialist movement that was founded by European Jews in order to gather Jews from all over the world and to put them in Palestine along with in other neighboring Arab countries. The textbooks argue that the Zionists do this via methods such as immigration and forcing the Arab population off their land.
No mention is made of the religious or historical connection of Jews to the Land of Israel or to Jerusalem in these textbooks used by UNRWA. The schools also make no mention of Jewish holy sites anywhere in their materials—no Western Wall, no Cave of the Patriarchs, and no Rachel’s Tomb.
Instead, the textbooks teach that these are all Muslim holy sites which the Jews are trying illegitimately to take control of.
Also, children at UNRWA schools are taught that the Arab massacres of Jews in 1929 (specifically in Safed, Hebron, and Jerusalem) was called the “al Buraq revolt,” and was carried out to keep the Jews from conquering and occupying these holy cities.
Over 130 Jews were murdered by their Arab neighbors during these massacres.
The textbooks used by the UN to teach Palestinian children even negate the existence of Hebrew. One of the books has a picture of a stamp used during the British Mandate Period upon which is written Hebrew, English, and Arabic. However, the textbooks written by the Palestinians erase the Hebrew, leaving only the English and the Arabic.
Additionally, there is no reference to the presence of Jews in Israel, with Jewish cities and towns established after 1948 erased from the maps given to Palestinian children. Tel Aviv, originally named after the Hebrew title of Theodor Herzl’s book Altneuland, is re-named “Tel al-Rabia.” The word al-rabia means the season of spring in Arabic.
Incitement in Palestinian textbooks is well known and documented. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has spoken about the issue several times, and has agreed to be a part of a joint Israeli-US–Palestinian committee to design new textbooks. However, this committee has yet to meet.
For anyone following Israeli-Palestinian news none of this is a surprise. It is however infuriating and outrageous that this state of affairs is allowed to continue. Why is the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Defence Ministry or even Education Ministry not bringing this up in international forums (forget the UN, they are funding UNRWA after all) and protesting to the foreign governments who fund UNRWA and thereby abet this incitement?
Beyond the educational system, UNRWA perpetuates the “refugee” status of millions of Palestinians who would otherwise be gainfully employed and permanently settled in new homes. The American Jewish International Relations Institute (AJIRI) writes in a recent report that Fatah relies on the UN to deliver an Arab state “from the river to the sea”. UNRWA of course plays a prominent role in this respect:
At the end of World War II, there were millions of refugees in Europe: Germans who fled or were expelled by the Soviet Union from East Prussia, by Poland from Pomerania and Silesia, by Czechoslovakia from the Sudetenland. They settled in Germany. Poles were expelled from areas annexed by the Soviet Union and settled in Poland. […] Hundreds of thousands of Jews emigrated or were expelled from Arab countries. All of these refugees were resettled, many of them with UN assistance.
The exceptions to this generally accepted policy were the Palestinian refugees. Their fate was entrusted to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which adopted a policy opposing resettlement. These refugees were to be kept in reserve for the effort to end the existence of the State of Israel. To make sure that this threat to the continued existence of Israel would be maintained, UNRWA arranged for “refugee” status to be inherited. That is why the current number of Palestinian refugees on the UN rolls is 5,300,000. Today, UNRWA’s non-resettlement policy is the principal obstacle to an Israeli/Palestinian peace agreement.
What distinguishes all of the “Palestinian refugees” from all other refugees is that they are encouraged by UNRWA personnel to continue to claim the right to migrate to the State of Israel, usually referred to as the “right of return”. It is UNRWA’s deliberate policy to inspire those it serves, particularly school children, with the claim of a “right of return” and to discourage them from considering their current places of residence their permanent homes or to consider settling in another country.
The solution of course is obvious – obvious to all but those who wish for the destruction of Israel:
It is thus quite clear how the problem of the Palestinian refugees can best be resolved: by placing UNRWA under the auspices of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees with a mandate to proceed with the resettlement of the small number of real refugees and the millions of descendants of Palestinian refugees. It would be a humanitarian solution to the problem and would greatly advance the cause of peace.
But how do we fight this insidious delegitimization and incitement, when some of our own journalists (I’m looking at you Haaretz) participate and even promote this false narrative?
Petra Marquardt-Bigman addresses this issue in “Who wants to be a Palestinian?” in her article at Elder of Ziyon:
When the Israeli journalist Noga Tarnopolsky posted a tweet announcing the heartbreaking news that a young Israeli woman was among the victims of the New Year’s eve terror attack in Istanbul, Haaretz World News Editor Asaf Ronel insisted that the victim should be described as “Palestinian.”
Tarnopolsky responded by pointing out that not all of Israel’s Arab citizens identify as Palestinians; indeed, a relevant recent poll she posted showed that only 12% chose “Palestinian” as their preferred identity, while 24% chose Arab, 25% Israeli, and 29% preferred to be identified by religion, i.e. Muslim, Christian or Druze. Tarnopolsky also noted correctly that irrespective of the victim’s preferred identity, Israeli authorities would provide the family with the same assistance that every Israeli family receives in these terrible circumstances.
However, in the course of the exchange it quickly turned out that Ronel couldn’t care less about how Israel’s Arab citizens prefer to be identified. He insisted that designating the victim as Palestinian was “more accurate since it’s factual.” Preposterously, he even insisted that if the victim’s family preferred to identify as Israeli Arabs, “they are Palestinians w Israeli citizenship that define themselves as Israeli-Arabs.”
Following is part of the Twitter exchange:
So we know now that it’s progressive and politically correct to ignore the wishes of Israeli Arabs who don’t want to be described as Palestinian.
In this context it’s interesting to consider the poll posted by Tarnopolsky in some more detail. It is taken from the 2016 Israeli Democracy Index, published two weeks ago by the highly respected Israel Democracy Institute (IDI). The relevant poll is on page 78 of the report, and IDI notes [emphasis added]:
“Arab respondents were given the following options to choose from as their primary identity: Israeli, Palestinian, Arab, and religious (Muslim/Christian/Druze). As the figure below indicates, the strongest identity among Arab respondents is religious, followed by Israeli and Arab. Palestinian identity was selected as primary by the smallest share of respondents, bolstering the argument that the Arab population is undergoing a process of Israelization and, at least seemingly, countering the widespread claim that a major process of Palestinization has taken place, or is taking place, in Arab Israeli society”.
But it’s perhaps only fitting that the Haaretz World News Editor would insist that imposing the preference of a tiny minority on everyone is somehow “more accurate since it’s factual.”
This is a prime example of the “fake news” that has been obsessing the media recently – yet they are the main perpetrators. But beyond that, words do have an effect. They buttress the antisemitism and incitement emanating from the Palestinians, perpetuating the war that the media themselves claim to want to bring an end to.
Well, there’s not much chance of peace with the likes of UNRWA and Haaretz egging on the most extreme elements in Palestinian society.