Knesset Moves Against UNRWA for Promoting Incitement


The Knesset has taken a decisive step this past week toward restricting the operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) within Israel’s borders.

The proposed legislation, which passed a preliminary vote with 33 in favor and 10 against, aims to ban UNRWA from functioning within Israel’s sovereign territory. The rationale as outlined in the bill’s explanatory notes is that the agency exclusively focuses on Palestinian refugees—a group that does not exist within the state’s borders. It argues that Israeli residents are served by national institutions, making UNRWA’s services unnecessary and inappropriate.

Key criticisms of UNRWA include accusations of promoting incitement and antisemitism. This is particularly evident in the educational materials used in its schools in Jerusalem, where content glorifying terrorists and anti-semitic narratives is reportedly prevalent.

To further justify the proposed ban, the bill references reports from within the UN and UNRWA itself, describing the agency as corrupt, inefficient, and riddled with administrative irregularities. These reports highlight UNRWA’s failure to effectively serve the Arab residents of Israel, noting that the limited services it provides are of low quality and have led to many complaints from its beneficiaries.

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