A cross party group of Members of the European Parliament have written a joint letter expressing their alarm about the UNRWA’s continued use of hateful school materials that encourage violence, reject peace, and demonises both Israel and the Jewish people.
In the joint letter, initiated by the MEP David Lega (EPP, Sweden) and MEP Miriam Lexmann (EPP, Slovakia), 26 MEPs state that ‘it is our shared duty to ensure the legality, accuracy, and sound financial management of all EU and national expenditures. The revelations about incitement in UNWRA education mean that EU taxpayers’ money has been gravely misused in violation of our values.’
The letter also cites the recently adopted 2019 discharge (EU general budget), in which the European Parliament expressed concerns over hate speech and violence taught in Palestinian school textbooks, which are used in schools by the UNRWA. Further to this, the letter criticises the UNRWA’s lack of effective mechanisms of adherence to UN values in educational materials used and taught by the UNRWA staff in its schools, which contain hate speech and incitement to violence.
David Lega said: ‘we demand an independent evaluation of the UNRWA’s functioning and to make those findings publicly available. The UNRWA review system must indeed be robust to prevent misuse of EU taxpayers’ money’. The problem, as Lega further points out, is that despite previous assurances from the UNRWA, the use of hateful and anti-Semitic material by the UNRWA continues to be widespread.
‘A peaceful resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a moral and strategic imperative of both the EU and the UN. This can only be achieved through educating societies to live in peace with one another and with cultural tolerance toward the Other. It is therefore incumbent upon the UNRWA to operate in accordance with these values and objectives, and equally incumbent upon us to ensure that this is implemented in practice by those entrusted with the education of Palestinian children’, said Miriam Lexmann.