Why the financial crisis in UNRWA? It’s self-inflicted

UNRWA textbook featuring Palestinian terrorist Dalal Mughrabi as a role model for children. (Photo: https://www.bnaibrith.ca/)

by David Bedein

This week, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East discerned that the United States will not allow UNRWA to use $330 million that the U.S. has allocated to UNRWA this year. Suddenly, UNRWA did not have enough cash to pay its 30,000 employees in 59 “temporary” refugee camps that were established for Arabs who left their homes in the wake of the 1948 war.

The reason the U.S. holds back the funds is that UNRWA will not fulfill its side of the U.S.-UNRWA memo of understanding from July 14, 2021, a diplomatic accord which requires UNRWA to excise incitement from its school system as a condition to received renewed U.S. funds, which were stopped on August 31, 2018.

However, the UNRWA spokeswoman made it clear in an interview with a Swiss media outlet that the organization would not make any move to change the UNRWA curriculum, which uses textbooks from the Palestinian Authority. UNRWA has made no pretensions that it will implement any of the commitments that it agreed to in this document.

Therefore, with the bipartisan backing of the U.S. Congress, the U.S. will now not allow for use of U.S. funds by UNRWA.

By coincidence, there is a new development at the Palestinian Authority Curriculum Center, which oversees curriculum for PA and UNRWA schools.

UNRWA, which relies on the PA curriculum, this week republished a new 2023 edition of the 5th grade civics classroom text dedicated to the legacy of Dalal al-Mughrabi, commander of Arab terrorists who landed in a boat on the beach of Maagan Michael natural reserve on Saturday afternoon, March 11, 1978.

Following their landing, the terrorists encountered a nature photographer, Gail Rubin, an American citizen, the niece of U.S. Senator Abe Ribicoff. They shot her dead. They then proceeded toward Israel’s Coastal Highway, took control over a cab and a bus, and later over another bus.

The Arabs gathered all the passengers in one bus and continued southward toward Tel Aviv, while shooting along the way at other vehicles and also at several passengers inside the bus — according to the survivors’ testimony.

Near the Gelilot junction, north of Tel Aviv, the Israeli police managed to stop the bus and shooting started. Some of the terrorists burst out of the bus and shot policemen, while others shot the passengers inside the bus who tried to escape. The terrorists had rigged the bus and during the fighting detonated the explosives which turned the bus into a fire trap in which the passengers who had not managed to escape perished. Thirty-four Israeli civilians were killed, including 13 children.

Nine of the 11 terrorists were killed, including Dalal al-Mughrabi.

Two weeks after the original Dalal al-Mughrabi text was first provided by the PA for UNRWA schools in 2017, I accompanied our staff of translators and analysts to present this book of terror and our comprehensive study of UNRWA incitement to the senior staff of the recently installed UN Secretary General, António Guterres.

The meeting was facilitated by Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center, and a recognized NGO at the UN.

UN Secretary-General Guterres contacted UNRWA in Jerusalem and asked for the removal of the textbook which glorifies Dalal al-Mughrabi. The text was never removed.

The only difference now is that the new publication date is 2023:

A message that UNRWA will not budge.

On the day of the book’s re-publication, our news and research agency appeared at the PA-UNRWA curriculum center and purchased 100 copies. The idea is to provide the UN textbook with the picture of a murderer to every possible decision maker. Seeing is believing.

The U.S. placement of funds for UNRWA in escrow until UNRWA changes its curriculum provides a model that 67 donor nations and 33 donor agencies can emulate.

Does it not make sense that a UN school should ascribe to values of the United Nations, and not to the directives of the Palestine Liberation Organization?

David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist. In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post. Bedein’s work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site, unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.