(November 17, 2021 / JNS) Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan issued a strong condemnation of the U.N. Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) while an international donors conference for the agency took place in Brussels.
The event opened on Tuesday morning with the goal of raising funds for UNRWA’s education, health and social services. Erdan has spoken recently with representatives of U.N. member states and urged them only to provide financial support to UNRWA if changes are made within the agency.
The watchdog group UN Watch reported in August that more than 100 UNRWA teachers and staffers have promoted anti-Semitism and incitement to terrorism on social media. As a result of the report, UNRWA allegedly suspended several of its employees. UN Watch also discovered that textbooks distributed at UNRWA schools incited violence against Israel.
“UNRWA has long been part of the problem and not part of the solution,” Erdan said in a statement on Tuesday. “Instead of functioning as an agency for humanitarian and educational assistance, the agency functions as a political body that promotes the Hamas narrative, allows incitement and delegitimization against Israel to be written in Palestinian textbooks and whose infrastructure is used by Hamas for terrorist activities.”
Erdan also said UNRWA uses its funds and resources “to disseminate and promote a Palestinian political narrative” and “does not monitor and prevent Hamas’s use of its facilities for terrorist purposes.” He concluded by saying that Israel “supports the provision of humanitarian aid to Palestinians as needed, but UNRWA has become a body that serves the delusional ‘right of return’ of the Palestinians.”
Outside the conference, UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer handed an appeal to government officials before they headed into the conference, saying UNRWA should be held accountable “for its teachers who poison the minds of Palestinian schoolchildren with incitement to anti-Semitism and terrorism.”
He also called on delegations from around the world “to demand that their money to UNRWA—our taxpayer funds—not go to teachers who glorify Hitler.”
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