New Zealand has been giving at least $1m to United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) despite decades of clear evidence that their schools in the West Bank and Gaza have been teaching children to hate and inciting violence.

Chief Human Rights Commissioner, Paul Hunt, has said the funding of UNRWA could place NZ in breach of its international human rights obligations. However, MFAT refused to accept the evidence to date in favour of waiting for an EU-funded report that was due in December 2020.

There were major flaws with an interim report and the final copy has now been leaked to the media. The results are consistent with previous reviews of the curriculum, finding children are taught hate with dozens of examples of encouragement of violence and demonization of Israel and of Jews. According to media:

the report states the textbooks present “ambivalent – sometimes hostile – attitudes towards Jews and the characteristics they attribute to the Jewish people…. Frequent use of negative attributions in relation to the Jewish people… suggest a conscious perpetuation of anti-Jewish prejudice, especially when embedded in the current political context… Glorification and praise of terrorists who attacked Israelis can be found not only in history or social studies books, but also in science and math books, such as one that mentions a school named after the “shahid” (martyr) Abu Jihad, a leader of the First Intifada. A demonstration of Newton’s second law includes Palestinians using slingshots to strike at Israeli soldiers. JPost article

In 2018, the United States cut all funding to UNRWA, calling the agency an “irredeemably flawed operation”. Last year Norway withheld funding to the Palestinian Authority over the antisemitic and jihadist content in textbooks that are used in UNRWA schools, and Australia halved their contribution to the agency.

And earlier this week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed that the Biden administration’s renewal of funding for UNRWA is conditional on anti-Israel and anti-Jewish education reform, saying

“We’re also determined that UNRWA pursue very necessary reforms in terms of some of the abuses of the system that have taken place in the past, particularly the challenge that we’ve seen in disseminating in its educational products antisemitic or anti-Israel information, so we’re very focused on that,”Antony Blinken

New Zealand taxpayers are due to hand over another $1m before the end of this month unless MFAT officials finally accept the money goes toward furthering and inflaming the conflict and that is not consistent with Kiwi principles of aid-giving.

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