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April 3, 2024

Contact: Sarah Stern

(202) 601-7422


EMET Applauds the Letter by Representative Keith Self (R-TX) Regarding the Dissolution of UNRWA

(April 3, 2024, Washington, DC) – A few days ago, Rep. Keith Self (R-TX) penned a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken requesting to permanently cease all funding for the insidious United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). EMET applauds this letter and is extremely grateful for Rep. Self’s long history of working to expose UNRWA’s true nature.

UNRWA, the United Nations Relief Works Agency, which was established in 1949, is the sole refugee agency dedicated to a single refugee population, the Palestinians. UNRWA is one of the largest UN agencies in existence, having approximately 30,000 employees, and according to Ambassador John Bolton, 99 percent of them are Palestinians.

For generations now, this agency has been rearing Palestinian youth on an extraordinarily biased and antisemitic educational system. A report that was just released from the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in Schol Education, (IMPACT-se), indicates that the P.A. curricula and textbooks used throughout the Palestinian school systems replace the entire map of Israel with that if Palestine, preaches blatant Jew-hatred,  encourages violent attacks against Jews, and promotes shahada or martyrdom.

As Representative Self’s letter points out, some 3,000 of UNRWA’s teachers “were exposed for celebrating the October 7th massacres” in a group chat. As we all know, the October 7th atrocities were the most brutal to occur in the history of the Jewish people since the Holocaust.

Says Marcus Sheff, the CEO of IMPACT-SE, “The cooperation between UNRWA and Hamas is absolutely undeniable, both in educating the terrorists that perpetuated the October 7th atrocities and in being part, as we discovered afterward, of the terror infrastructure in its schools and in its hospitals.”

Israel claims that approximately 10 percent of UNRWA employees have ties to terrorist organizations. Says Mr. Sheff, “The end result of that radicalization is that among the thousands who went over the border on October 7th and committed acts of murder, rape, and abduction, it is statistically probable that the majority went to UNRWA’s schools. The UNRWA curriculum is what they were brought up on, and it teaches about jihad and martyrdom being the most important meanings of life, and that Jews are liars and frauds.”

Israel has exposed an elaborate and sophisticated labyrinth of terror tunnels that have been drilled directly beneath UNRWA  headquarters. It totally defies the laws of credulity to believe the claim of UNRWA Director Phillippe Lazzarini that UNRWA “did not know what is under our headquarters.” Said Mr. Lazzarini, “UNRWA staff left its headquarters in Gaza City on 12 October,” he adds. “We have not used that compound since we left it nor are we aware of any activity that may have taken place there.”

Does Mr. Lazzarini sincerely believe that such an elaborate system of tunnels could suddenly sprout up, unbeknownst to the employees of the UNRWA headquarters?

UNRWA is the sole UN agency where refugee status has been passed down in perpetuity from generation to generation.  This has created a sense of dependency and victimization among the Palestinians, whether they live in Gaza, Judea, and Samaria, (or the West Bank), Lebanon, Syria, or Jordan.

This is opposed to the United Nations High Commission of Refugees, (UNHCR) which has successfully helped in the re-establishment of the lives of millions of refugees from war-torn countries. The UN High Commission on Refugees regards its mission as immediately giving refugees naturalization and the ability to obtain citizenship within their host country and the ability to work. Therefore, enabling them to be productive and to get on with their lives.

Unfortunately, the United States has continuously been the largest donor nation to UNRWA, contributing more than $7.1 billion since its doors opened in 1949. EMET is delighted that this year’s Appropriations Bill has eliminated funding for UNRWA, something we at EMET have been advocating for decades. And we stand in total agreement with Rep. Keith Self that the very best thing for the Palestinian people would be to finally shut down UNRWA and give the Palestinian people a better future by placing them under the auspices of the UN High Commission of Refugees.

This would be good for the Palestinians, and hopefully a vehicle for creating a more stable, secure, and peaceful Middle East.

About The Endowment for Middle East Truth

EMET is a foreign policy think tank and advocacy institute, specializing in the Middle East that educates and informs members of Congress and their staffers. For more information, please visit

About the Author

Sarah Stern
Sarah Stern is founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET).

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