Contradicting assurances to the UK Government that educational material for Palestinian children inciting violence against Israel is no longer circulated, a new report has found that the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has continued to produce content containing hateful material.
Middle East Minister James Cleverly said that the issue “was rectified by November 2020”, yet the report, published this week by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), found that UNRWA-produced self-study material to aid remote learning during the Covid-19 pandemic continues to erase Israel from maps, encourage violence and omit reference to peacemaking.
Materials dated after November 2020 promoting violence have been distributed on online platforms, including “highly problematic content” which is “not compliant with UN values”, according to IMPACT-se.
Last month, IMPACT-se revealed that an estimated 150-200 educational booklets produced by UNRWA were distributed to over 300,000 Palestinian children to supplement the official Palestinian Authority (PA) school curriculum from March 2020.
In the booklets, Israel is frequently referred to as “the Enemy” or the “Zionist Occupation”; a clear violation of the UN’s principles of neutrality. Grammar exercises use the language of “jihad” and “sacrifice” and known terrorists such as Dalal Mughrabi, who killed 38 Israelis including 13 children in the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre, are presented as positive role models.
UNRWA has said the material was “mistakenly included”, though IMPACT-se said that material encouraging violence and intolerance “is present across nearly all sets, subjects and grades”.
IMPACT-se determined that “this UNRWA-created material is, in places, more extremist than PA material it complements”.
Australia and Canada are conducting investigations into the reports.
Cross-party parliamentarians have raised concerns for many years over material inciting violence and hatred of Israel and Jews in the PA school curriculum. A delayed EU review into the curriculum is due for publication shortly.