We must not fund UNRWA

via news.yahoo.com

Soon after reports emerged that a number of staff at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) were accused of taking part in the October 7 attack, Britain – along with many other Western nations – rightly suspended payments to the body. Senior Tory MPs are now urging the Foreign Secretary not to restore UK funding to the agency, arguing it would be a “disgrace” to do so.

They are right. The accusations of participation were not a bolt from the blue. The links between Hamas and the UNRWA are deep and well documented. Even in this current conflict, UNRWA has quoted Hamas figures on Palestinian casualties without caveat. In February, the Israel Defense Forces said it had found a terrorist data centre running partly under the agency’s headquarters. Israel’s defence minister has said that more than 1,400 of UNRWA’s 13,000 workers in Gaza are members of Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

But the problem with the agency goes deeper. It is becoming an insurmountable barrier to a peaceful solution. The 706 schools UNRWA operates have frequently fuelled an ideology defined by the rejection of Israel and helped radicalise generations of young Palestinians. A recent report compiled by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education uncovered geography textbooks with no mention of Israel, showing “Palestine” in its place. An Islamic studies book describes the goals of jihad as “terrorising the enemy” and “achieving martyrdom”.