UN Refugee Fund for Gaza Is Being Used to Finance Terrorism and Anti-Semitism, Experts Say
In the wake of the atrocities perpetrated by Hamas terrorists that killed over 1,400 Israeli civilians on October 7, increased scrutiny is being centered on the ideology that fueled the barbarity that took place. Experts say that funds allocated to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) have not only been funneled to terrorists in Gaza, but have also been used to fund educational materials for Palestinian youth that is rife with anti-Semitism.
UNRWA was established in 1949 by the U.N. General Assembly with the original purpose of aiding the refugees that resulted from the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Since then, the fund has been renewed almost every year and has grown astronomically to a current annual budget of over $1 billion. The Biden administration contributed $153.7 million in U.S. taxpayer dollars to the fund in June, which the UNRWA commissioner claimed would “help us keep over 700 schools and 140 health centres open over the next months.” For decades, however, the fund has been embroiled in controversy, as reviews of the fund’s expenditures showed that a significant amount of money was going to terror-group affiliates.
In 2018, the Trump administration ended funding for UNRWA due to the corruption that was uncovered. A report found that less than 5% of the population that it funded actually met the original definition of a “refugee.” But as experts have observed, this was only the tip of the iceberg. It was found that a number of the UNRWA staff working in Gaza had personal ties to terrorism and that “UNRWA schools in Gaza have been used by Hamas to launch rockets against Israel.”
What has become particularly distressing to observers is how the money is being used to fund schools that indoctrinate Palestinian youth to hate Israel and the Jewish people. On Monday, Itamar Marcus, founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch, joined “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” to discuss the situation.
“Our first report on Palestinian schoolbooks … was in 1998, and they were filled with poison,” he explained. “At that time … [an] American representative said, ‘I read this material and I wanted to vomit.’ It’s just unimaginable.’ Americans condemned it then, and the United States continued funding the Palestinian Authority year after year after year, knowing what was happening already then.
Marcus continued, “[W]e did a report in 2007, which I decided to release in the Senate, and I turned to Hillary Clinton. I wanted a Democrat … someone who would [not] be automatically pro-Israel. And she appeared at a press conference with me … [and] said, ‘The Palestinians are profoundly poisoning the minds of their children.’ And that was 2007. I call the Palestinians who are running through the streets today murdering Israelis, the Hamas, as well as the Palestinian Authority, Fatah people, the mainstream. They are the poisoned generation. They were brought up on hate, on demonization. And that’s what we have today.”
Marcus went on to describe the specific beliefs that have been espoused by religious authorities in Gaza.
“Mahmoud Abbas is the head of the Palestinian Authority — he’s seen as the moderate,” he noted. “He has a personal adviser on Islam … name[ed] Mahmoud al-Habash. He went on TV and he said that the Jews have been the enemies of Islam since the beginning of time, literally since the time of Adam. … [He also said] when you see a Jew, it actually might be Satan in the form of a human. … He literally said that the Jews are subhuman. [He also] said that the Jews are humanoids — creatures that Allah created in the form of humans but aren’t really humans. So you’ve got the top religious figure in the Palestinian Authority [saying] that Jews are actually subhuman, either Satan or animals, but they’re humanoids, so of course you can kill them.”
Marcus also pointed out that Palestinian textbooks for schoolchildren include quotes from a hadith (an Islamic tradition attributed to Muhammad) that commands Muslims to kill Jews, and that TV programs owned and controlled by the Palestinian Authority teach children similar lessons. “Children have said they’ve learned in school to hate the Jews and kill them,” he noted. “We’ve had many, many chants and children’s programs where they talk about the Jews being the descendants of apes and pigs. … And one of the worst things that they’ve taught these kids is that they should go out and die for Allah, that if they [fight] against Jews and they’re killed, that’s the best thing that can happen to them.”
Perkins further wondered if peace is possible when Palestinian youth are taught that Israel has no right to exist.
“They deny Israel the right to exist as a state, and they deny Jews the right to exist as individuals,” Marcus somberly emphasized. “Those two together make peace impossible.”
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.