UN Agency Funds ‘Camp Jihad’ for Palestinian Children

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Palestinian children in summer camps run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) are being taught that "Jews are the wolf," and that they will one day conquer Israeli cities by force.

A new video, entitled "Camp Jihad," shows footage from UNRWA summer programs in the Balata refugee camp north of Nablus and in the Gaza Strip.

"I will defeat the Jews," a camper named Tayma tells the documentary crew. "They are a gang of infidels and Christians. They don’t like Allah and do not worship Allah. And they hate us."

The focus of the camps, according to campers and staff, is educating the young Palestinians about the "Nakba," the Palestinian term for the consequences of the 1948 war in which Israel won its independence.

Amina Hinawi, director of the Gaza camp, explains her educational approach. "We teach the children about the villages they came from," she says, "this way, every child will be motivated to return to their original village."

In another scene, a teacher is heard asking the students, "Do you want to return to Jaffa?" They respond enthusiastically, "Yes! Haifa? Yes! Nazareth? Yes!"

In another scene shows a young girl singing to a circle of her clapping friends. "I will not forget my promise to take back my land," she sings."We are filled with rage," sings an older camper.

Ironically, UNRWA's summer camp slogan is "Peace starts here."

Another scene shows a Palestinians teacher recounting a story about a wolf to the campers while enjoying a barbecue at the beach. "Who is the wolf?" the teacher asks. "The Jews! Isn’t it true that the Jews are the wolf?"

"Who expelled us?" she asks the children, who listen with rapt attention. "The Jews!" they yell energetically.

One young camper sums up, "The summer camp teaches us that we have to liberate Palestine."

The United States was the largest single donor to UNRWA in 2011, according to the organization’s website, with a total contribution of over $239 million, followed by the European Commission’s $175 million. These two sources accounted for about 42 per cent UNRWA’s income for its core program budget.

"We teach the culture of the Nakba to campers," emphasized Nasrin Bisharat, a UNRWA social worker at the Balata camp, in the report. "That way they know their origins. Even the names of their teams are, for example, Haifa, Acre, etc."

The video was shot by journalist David Bedein, who has written extensively about United Nations activities. The UN has promised to look into the indications in the report that UNRWA-funded camps were inciting hostility to Israel among young Palestinians.

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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