At the request of Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), the United States Government Accountability Office declassified a report on State Department efforts to address problematic content in UNRWA textbooks. The 65-page report, “West Bank and Gaza: State Monitors Textbook Content but Should Improve Its Reporting to Congress,” was published April 26, 2018.
The report explains the findings of the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem (which was closed after the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem) following a review of Palestinian Authority textbooks, which are used in UNRWA schools. The investigators “found material that ignores Israeli narratives, includes militaristic and adversarial imagery, and preaches the values of resistance.” The State Department “noted that the textbooks do not mention Israel or Judaism, and they continue to include regional maps that exclude Israel.” They also found “a general agreement… on the absence of anti-Semitic content or explicit incitement to violence in Palestinian Authority textbooks.”
Problematic content was found primarily in social studies textbooks, but it was also uncovered in books on Arabic grammar, Islamic education, mathematics, science and life, English language and vocational education texts.
In a press release, Rep. Zeldin commented, “It is unacceptable that the textbooks that are used delegitimize Israel and demonize the Jewish people, it is unacceptable that this program attempts to engrain this hatred in the hearts of children.” He added, “American’s hard earned money went towards its funding and it is unacceptable that the State Department lied to Congress about these very realities.”