An alarming new video reveals the extent to which Palestinian children are being indoctrinated to wage jihad against Israel and to hate Jews at United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) summer programs.
“We penetrate into the mind of campers the culture of the Nakba [catastrophe],” one instructor says proudly, “so the children will know where they originally came from.” The “Nakba” refers to Israel’s independence in May 1948.
The video, featuring footage of summer camp classrooms and interviews with instructors, and filmed by local Palestinian cameramen, was produced by the Nahum Bedein Center for Near East Policy and Research.
The message is effective.
“Concerning me and my age group,” one girl says, “our education will guide us. But for those who are older than me, only guns will give us motivation to return to our lands.” Another child chants: “When we die as martyrs we go up to heaven…There is no childhood without Palestine.”
In one class, an instructor urges the children to blame “the Jews” for the loss of an idealized Palestinian past of villas and on beaches: “Isn’t it true that the Jews are the wolf? What did the Jews do to us? They expelled us into exile from out lands! They shot at us and they killed our parents. They expelled us, they arrested us…
“Who expelled us?” she asks. “The Jews,” they answer.
UNRWA is the special UN agency for “refugees” of the 1948 war between Israel and its neighbors–a war started by Palestinians and by Arab states, resulting in the departure of some 700,000 Palestinians, often at the urging of Arab leaders.
A minority of those claiming “refugee” status today were alive in 1948. Most Arab states have refused to absorb them. Israel, in contrast, fully absorbed a similar number of Jewish refugees from Arab states in the years that followed.
The association between UNRWA and terrorist ideologies is not new. Israel has long complained that UNRWA provides space and resources to Hamas activists within the refugee camps. In 2007, Asaf Romirowsky noted the role of radical ideology in UNRWA education programs:
Since many UNRWA teachers are alumni of the UNRWA school system, they often perpetuate the vitriolic curriculum they were taught, vilifying Israel and the West. For example, Suheil al-Hindi, an UNRWA teachers’ representative, openly applauded suicide bombings at a school in the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza in 2003. Instead of a condemnation, al-Hindi received a promotion and was subsequently elected to UNRWA’s clerks union.
The bulk of UNRWA funding comes from the U.S. and the European Union; the U.S. is the single largest donor, giving $239 million in 2011. Islamic states provide a very small proportion of UNRWA’s funding.
In 2009, the Conservative government of Stephen Harper in Canada began cutting funding to UNRWA, providing funds only for UNRWA’s emergency programs, much to the consternation of pro-Palestinian activists.