UK government pulls funding to Palestinian education

The funding cuts follow reactions in the government to the EU report on incitement such as antisemitism and encouragement towards martyrdom found in Palestinian textbooks.

A Palestinian teacher conducts a class for students in an UNRWA-run school that reopened after the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions were eased, at al-Fari'ah refugee camp, in the West Bank April 12, 2021.  (photo credit: RANEEN SAWAFTA/ REUTERS)
A Palestinian teacher conducts a class for students in an UNRWA-run school that reopened after the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions were eased, at al-Fari'ah refugee camp, in the West Bank April 12, 2021.
(photo credit: RANEEN SAWAFTA/ REUTERS)

The British government announced on Thursday that it has stopped funneling direct funding to Palestinian education, as revealed by the NGO IMPACT-se.

The announcement was made in response to an inquiry by Labour MP Andrew Gwynne and Secretary of State for Middle East and North Africa James Cleverly to review UK funds allocated to Palestinian education.

This comes following a report from the European Union regarding the content in Palestinian textbooks, which was found to include examples of antisemitism and encouraging Palestinian students to commit terrorist acts of martyrdom.

Cleverly did not link the cutting of UK funds to this report, but stated that the funding of education and health workers in the Palestinian Authority would both be suspended.

In the past, however, Cleverly and other members of the UK government had expressed concern regarding the EU report that Palestinian textbooks were rife with incitement. 

Palestinian children holding textbooks showing the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. (credit: REUTERS/REUTERS STAFF)Palestinian children holding textbooks showing the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. (credit: REUTERS/REUTERS STAFF)

It is estimated that the UK has spent around $137 million over the past five years is paying Palestinian workers responsible for the content in these textbooks, according to IMPACT-se.

However, UK funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which operated schools using these textbooks, has not been impacted by this decision and will continue as normal.