Philippe Lazzarini, the Commissioner General of UNRWA, wrote an article in Al Jazeera with some whopping lies.The lies start with the headline:
Calling them “refugees” is political! There is only one definition of refugee, and it is that of the Refugee Convention. Saying that Palestinian descendants of those who fled their homes in 1948 are “refugees” is political. Saying that Palestinians who still live in the areas of the British Mandate are “refugees” is political. Saying that nearly two million citizens of Jordan are “refugees” is political.UNRWA is a purely political organization. It only exists to perpetuate itself.Mohammad is a seven-year-old boy living in Gaza, which in June will enter its 15th year of a land, air, and sea blockade. Like the nearly 300,000 students in Gaza who attend schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), he has been in and out of in-person and remote learning since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic a year ago. He battles against electricity cuts every day to receive online educational materials prepared by UNRWA teachers who also struggle to get access to electricity and the internet. Mohammad’s right to education remains inalienable even during a pandemic and a humanitarian crisis.Guess what? Most students on the planet have struggled during the past year! Here’s a report on the problems kids in Africa are having. Many kids have suffered, unable to go to school, no access to the Internet for remote learning.Where is their UNRWA to provide free education? It doesn’t exist – because only Palestinians get an UNRWA to educate their kids! It is not the UN’s job to provide free education to every child in the world – why is it their job to provide free education to only Palestinians?As commissioner-general of UNRWA, my responsibility is to ensure that Palestine refugees in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, receive the basic services to which they are entitled. And yet, in the past year, UNRWA has been the subject of attacks of unprecedented ferocity and bias.Why are they “entitled” to get free schooling on the world’s dime? Why don’t their host countries give them schooling in the homes they’ve lived in since their grandparents were born?As usual, UNRWA officials handwave to stop people from asking these basic questions. Which is what a politician does.
THE CHARGE MOST FREQUENTLY LEVIED AGAINST US IS THAT UNRWA PLAYS A POLITICAL ROLE. THIS COULD NOT BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH. UNRWA IS MANDATED TO PROVIDE DIRECT, VITAL HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TO PALESTINE REFUGEES PENDING A JUST AND LASTING SOLUTION TO THEIR PLIGHT. THAT IS THE AGENCY’S PRIORITY AND FOCUS. IT DOES NOT ENGAGE IN POLITICS. UNRWA, LIKE ALL OTHER UNITED NATIONS AGENCIES AND INTERNATIONAL NGOS, IS BOUND TO THE FOUR HUMANITARIAN PRINCIPLES (HUMANITY, IMPARTIALITY, NEUTRALITY, AND INDEPENDENCE) THAT ARE ENSHRINED IN TWO UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTIONS.
Here’s some school materials from UNRWA – with the UNRWA logo – that has a poem saying “a raging fire awaits the Occupation.”
That is not humane, impartial, or neutral. And it is definitely political.As is this UNRWA-created material with a map that erases Israel.
The recent attacks on UNRWA – alleging that we teach “jihad” and “terrorism” – are biased attempts to drag a principled humanitarian agency into a highly politicised sphere where it does not belong.
UNRWA explicitly teaches jihad! School materials include sentences to be studied like:
JIHAD IS ONE OF THE DOORS TO PARADISE.
THE PALESTINIANS HAVE BECOME AN EXAMPLE OF SACRIFICE.
(FIND THE VERB) IN THE SENTENCE “THE RESISTANCE FIGHTER ATTACKED THE ENEMY’S POSITION”
THE PALESTINIAN DIED AS A MARTYR TO DEFEND HIS MOTHERLAND.
WE SHALL DEFEND THE MOTHERLAND WITH BLOOD.
THE SCENT OF MUSK EMANATES FROM THE MARTYR.
TO REDEEM THEIR MOTHERLAND WITH THEIR BLOOD, FOR IT IS THE MOST PRECIOUS THING THEY OWN.
And this is only a few examples.
UNRWA lies. And it pays no price for lying, because so many people want to believe the lies.