The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has continued to include hateful rhetoric in its curriculum despite claiming to have dropped such material, according to an IMPACT-se report Wednesday.
According to the report, UNRWA-made material distributed after they promised to drop violent or hateful content still contained rhetoric glorifying jihad and violence and included texts condemning the normalization between Israel and Arab states and frequent references to Israel as “the enemy” or “the occupation.” Likewise, maps of Israel still are completely removed.
The campaign to change UNRWA teaching material came after IMPACT-se pressured the UN to recognize the existence of such hateful content in the March 2020 to September 2020 textbooks. UNRWA later agreed that the material in the book, produced by its staff, was inappropriate. The pressure also came from donor countries who expressed concerns about the material.
“The Federal Government welcomes the fact that UNRWA has independently uncovered the problem and reacted promptly,” read a statement from the largest donor, Germany.
Despite this, James Cleverly, UK minister for the Middle East and North Africa, stated in light of IMPACT-se’s claim, “UNRWA has reported that these materials are no longer circulated and are not used in current lessons. The issue was rectified by November 2020.”However, content found in IMPACT-se’s new report proves this claim is false.
IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff recalled the importance of ending the use of violent rhetoric in textbooks.
“UNRWA promised that it had removed all the hateful content that its teachers had written. Sadly, as this research shows, this is simply not the case. Moving the content to secure platforms, as UNRWA did with such alacrity, is not the same as removing the actual hate.UNRWA’s promises about removing the content have been repeated in good faith by governments around the world. But a cursory inspection shows that its explanations simply do not make any sense.
“It does not appear that the organization is institutionally capable of fulfilling its basic duty of care to the children in its schools. Donor countries need to start asking much more pointed questions of UNRWA if they want to stop financing this ongoing hate-teaching.”