On 18 March 2020, Mr Philippe Lazzarini was appointed Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. Commissioner Lazzarini has emphasized that more than half of UNRWA’s budget is spent on education of the 500,000 Palestinian children who live in refugee camps run by UNRWA. The new commissioner has stated that there is no longer any glorification of martyrdom in UNRWA schools. In July 2020, he claimed that “we have zero tolerance for incitement or violence” and that hate and incitement are no longer part of the curriculum.
BUT – this film, produced by David Bedein and colleagues in August 2020 (as students were returning to school), at an UNRWA school in Gaza, tells a very different story. In a visit to a third grade class of girls there is a performance of a song – a popular hit – which states that “I shall sacrifice my blood for Palestine”. Even more damaging to Mr. Lazzarini’s claims is the phrase ”exterminate their scattered remains and remove the usurper from my country”. This latter is a clear call for the War of Return.
Near the school we see a group of teenagers launching fire balloons at Israel and, finally, young boys expressing their feelings with thoughts like “I wish Allah will burn the Jews”.
Clearly, Mr. Lazarini, who claims there is no glorification of martyrdom and no incitement, is not painting an accurate picture of what happens in the schools he runs. The incitement is extreme.