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Pro-Israel congressional staffers: UNRWA books 'anti-Semitic'

Palestinian schoolgirls attend a class at a school belonging to UNRWA in Gaza City on 22 January 2018 [Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images]
Palestinian schoolgirls attend a class at a school belonging to UNRWA in Gaza City on 22 January 2018 [Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images]

A number of US congressional staffers are pushing for removing allegedly "anti-Semitic" content from the curricula taught to Palestinian children in schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

This comes against the backdrop of the Joe Biden administration's decision to resume US funding to UNRWA after former President Donald Trump froze assistance for the agency.

Cartoon - Criticisms of Israel labelled as antisemitism

Criticisms of Israel labelled as antisemitism – Cartoon [Carlos Latuff/Twitter]

A 2019 report issued by the Jerusalem-based advocacy group Impact-SE and frequently cited in pro-Israel circles in Washington accuse UNRWA of teaching Palestinian Authority-provided textbooks that are full of "incitement" and "[abandon] any façade of UN-mandated neutrality."

Four years ago, however, Palestinians accused UNRWA of seeking to make changes related to national issues in the schools' curricula, which it supervises in the Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian Authority had agreed with UNRWA that there would be no change to the curricula taught in UNRWA schools and that any amendment to them would be made in full consultation with the Ministry of Education.

Last week, Biden announced $235 million of aid to the Palestinians, two-thirds of which allocated for UNRWA, which suffered a financial crisis since Trump's 2018 suspension of aid to the UN agency.

READ: UK school textbooks slammed as 'propaganda' for Israel

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