UN schools teach children ‘right to return by force’

Mena-Watch spoke with David Bedein about the German and European unwillingness to engage in military training in UNRWA schools.

David Bedein is the founder and director of the Bedein Center for Middle East Policy Research in Jerusalem, which has been researching UNRWA since 1987 to educate the public on how its funds, schools and structures are being misused by Palestinian terrorist organizations for their own purposes.

On March 14, 2022, he sent an email to Oliver Owcza, the head of Germany’s representation in the Palestinian territories. In it he wrote:

“Your Excellency, the Bedein Center for Near East Policy Research has identified the presence of massive weapons at UNRWA facilities. It shows several documentaries produced by the Bedein Center in the last year alone. [Links zu den Websites waren beigefügt; Anm. Mena-Watch.]

The Bedein Center has a question for you, the diplomat from a UNRWA donor nation. As a UNRWA donor, would you like to ask UNRWA to inspect all facilities to remove deadly weapons?

David Bedein received no response. I then asked the same question to the press office of the Federal State Department. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says:

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not aware of the incident you mentioned, which you attribute to a UNRWA facility. Germany is in permanent contact with UNRWA.”

A dropout that is typical of the State Department when it comes to Palestinian terrorism (see also here and here). I talked about this over Zoom with David Bedein.

Stefan Frank (SF): Sir. Bedein, you sent video footage to both the German representative in Ramallah and the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs showing how weapons of war are presented and even fired in UNRWA facilities. Is it correct?

David Bedein (DB): It is true. Yesterday we were informed that in exactly four weeks a new summer training program for weapons training for children from UNRWA schools will start.

SF: In what facilities does it take place instead of?

DB: These exercises are performed in open areas not far from the UNRWA schools. The people running the program are teachers and students from UNRWA schools.

SF: Is the area where military training takes place legal under UNRWA’s control?

DB: Hard to say. In previous films, as you know, from 2017 and 2018, it actually took place based on images and insignia from UNRWA. When we filmed last summer, we did not see the UNRWA emblem or the UN flag. But in January, we filmed UNRWA children with guns in a UNRWA refugee camp near Bethlehem.

SF: The area for the military exercises adjacent to the UNRWA schools?

DB: It’s right next door. The exercise does not take place in the schools themselves, because after we showed these films with recordings from 2017 and 2018 in the German Bundestag and in the UN, there was a lot of feedback that such a thing should not happen.

I predict that July’s military exercises are unlikely to be held in front of UNRWA emblems; but when we then interview the students and ask them where they come from, they will say, as they do every summer, that they are from UNRWA schools. They will also tell us what they learn in UNRWA schools: what they call the “Right of Return at Arms”.

SF: What can be seen in the videos you submitted to the German Representation in Ramallah and the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs?

DB: We submitted three videos: One from 2018 where the kids are marching with weapons. UNRWA instructors are seen teaching them the idea of ​​the “right to return” with weapons. Then there are the footage from the summer of 2021 of thousands of children from UNRWA camps recruited to UNRWA schools being taught to use automatic weapons. They provide automatic weapons to children – the youngest is nine years old – knowing they will use them. The third admission we have made available is from January this year, “Fatah Day” at UNRWA’s Deheishe refugee camp. You see kids with guns again.

SF: What do you say to the German government?

DB: We asked the federal government and other donor countries a very simple question: Will you, as a UNRWA donor nation, ask UNRWA to carry out an inspection of all facilities to remove deadly weapons?

Yesterday – it’s a coincidence – I received a press release from UNRWA’s spokeswoman saying she needed more money for UNRWA’s Jenin camp, which has obviously been a hotbed of terrorist activity lately. The message did not mention any regulation of the funds: it may come in cash and the purpose is questionable. So my message to the German voters is: See what happens to UNRWA funds, see if they are used for military purposes.

SF: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that it is in contact with UNRWA and has no knowledge of weapons in UNRWA facilities.

DB: It eludes me my question: do you want to do a survey to see if there are weapons? That is the question. If it has no knowledge, it means that it has not researched. If it did a survey and said, “We did not find anything,” it would be interesting. But to say that it has no knowledge means that it has done no research.

The federal government, which is UNRWA’s main funder, has not checked for weapons at UNRWA’s facilities. UNRWA receives a lot of money from the federal government and German party foundations such as the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and the Hanns Seidel Foundation. You should all check what happens to the money.

SF: Have you contacted the mentioned funds?

DB: Yes. I asked if they checked, if the money they sent was used for weapons, for terrorist purposes – no answer.

SF: They have made similar requests in other European countries and in North America. Was it more successful?

DB: I have had success with the US government: the US government will not release the money for education until it has assurances that education will be monitored and audited. That is, the U.S. government has allocated the money, but it will not release it because the U.S. Congress demands accountability for what happens to the money. So the United States gave the money, but also set a condition: that UNRWA should not use it until they fulfilled the treaty. In the summer of 2021, the United States and UNRWA agreed that they would not allow the facilities to be used for terrorist purposes.

It is very important to monitor both inbound humanitarian and inbound training funds. 58 percent of UNRWA’s budget goes to education. If you see the kids in military training now, it’s part of the education system.

SF: Have you been successful in your efforts to control funds for UNRWA? In Europe?

DB: Not anyone at all. The European Parliament has made certain recommendations for the revision of textbooks. However, the European Commission, which represents the EU, has not addressed any inquiries to UNRWA. So, although the European Parliament is very sensitive to our issues, EU decision – makers do not allow anything to change.

SF: What do you think is the main reason why the EU and the German government are reluctant to stop using European taxpayers’ money to finance Palestinian terrorism and the killing of Jews? Is it laziness or a desire to sweep these things under the rug?

DB: It’s more serious. The Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs is seeking economic relations with the Palestinian Authority (PA), the PFLP and Hamas. It’s all a matter of finances, and they do not want anything to interfere with their agreement with the PA. Their policy is: As long as the money flows, there will be peace. There is, of course, no basis in reality for this assumption.

SF: Can you see any connection to how European governments paid for Palestinian terrorist organizations in the 1970s? At the time, countries like Germany and Switzerland paid many millions of German marks and Swiss francs in ransom and protection money to the PFLP and other terrorist organizations in order not to be hit by the terrorists themselves.

DB: They are very alike. As a former American, I know this concept as “paying homage to terrorists.” And that’s what we’re talking about. Hail and see the other way when they do something wrong. It would be easiest for the German government, which has an office in Ramallah, to look at all the refugee camps in Judea / Samaria, Gaza, Jerusalem and see what is going on there. And with the amount of weapons – we’re talking weapons for 30,000 children – it’s not hard to figure out where those weapons are stored.

SF: Shouldn’t this also be a major human rights concern for the federal government?

DB: Of course. It is a violation of children’s rights, which is protected by the UN. There are very strict UN laws against arming children under the age of fifteen. And if you look at the movies, there are kids who are definitely under the age of fifteen and receive military training in weapons. We accuse the German government of inciting a violent uprising. She can not say that she does not know what is going on. This is done in public. Is the German government at least looking at what is happening in Jenin?

SF: What can German citizens do who do not want their tax money to be used for child arming and terrorism?

DB: I recommend that they raise the issue of arms, incitement and indoctrination in UNRWA schools and UNRWA refugee camps with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Chancellor, all parties in the Bundestag and ask for a full assessment. Nothing is easier than asking this question.

The UNRWA children’s weapons training program begins in the first week of July. Will they see what happens in the UNRWA camps? The context is that the Palestinian Authority, which supplies these weapons, is the first entity in world history to offer a salary to anyone who murders a Jew. The Nazis did not have that. The Palestinian Authority is one step ahead of the Nazis. The Nazis tried to hide what they were doing. The Palestinian Authority, UNRWA, Hamas are doing everything they can to publish what they are doing. Nothing is secret here.

And most importantly, as the largest donor to UNRWA, Germany can support the rehabilitation and resettlement of these people who have been living in refugee camps since 1949.

SF: Where can I get information on this topic?

DB: We have a German-language website where you can find more information about UNRWA. I emphasize that we are privately funded. We do not get a penny from any government. If you want to donate, do so, on the website you can find out how to do it the easiest.

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