The US State Department plans to condition aid money to the UN body for Palestinian refugees, according to a budget authorization request sent to the US Congress for approval, Thursday.
In the document, the US State Department listed a series of reforms UNRWA would need to implement before receiving US aid.
Among the necessary reforms, UNRWA would need to commit to maintain neutrality and prevent the entry of weapons into its facilities or the improper use of UNRWA facilities. The main demand set out in the document, however, is for the UN body to take effective steps to ensure the educational content taught in UN schools and summer camps respects human rights and does not incite.
David Bedein, director of the Center for Near East Policy Research, has monitored UNRWA’s problematic conduct and the use of its facilities for terrorist activities and incitement for years. He called the document “a surprising change in the US’s approach to UNRA. The criteria proposed by the US for the renewal of funding is similar to the reforms at UNRWA our research center proposed over the last 20 years.
“Although there weren’t any expectations from the current administration, it seems they also understand that after 4,300 rockets [were fired] from [the] Gaza [Strip] at Israel, with the incitement of 82% of Gaza’s citizens who reside in one of UNRWA’s 10 refugee camps, the time has come for a revolution on the subject,” Bedein said.
In addition, IMPACT-se, an international research and policy institute that analyzes school textbooks throughout the world and has a proven track record of examining PA textbooks, contacted and then briefed the offices of US members of Congress ahead of a hearing they held with Blinken on the education materials used by UNRWA.
The State Department asked IMPACT-se to offer recommendations following a briefing with a new team tasked with renewing funding and ties with UNRWA.