Switzerland cuts funding for UNRWA amid incitement allegations

The Swiss parliament has voted to cut funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNWRA) amid persistent accusations that the organisation glorifies terror against Israel and „taught hate every day” to those who took part in the October 7 massacres.

The lower house of the Swiss parliament has voted to cancel the funding it provides the UNWRA supporting the relief and human development of Palestinian refugees amid accusations of inciting hatred by glorifying terror against Israel, reports The Times of Israel.

As a result, provided that the Swiss Senate does not overrule the decision, some $21 million in annual funding will be cut from the United Nations Relief Works Agency. Switzerland was the ninth-biggest donor.

UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini bemoaned the move, tweeting that he hoped the Swiss Senate would overrule the decision, adding that he was disappointed by the decision and highlighting that the cutting of funds „jeopardises services during an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe.”

IMPACT-se, an organisation based in the UK and Israel, monitoring education curricula around the world to determine whether they comply with UNESCO standards on peace, tolerance and nonviolence, lobbied in favour of the move and claimed that the Swiss move to cut aid was led by People’s Party MP David Zuberbühler.

Israel and other groups have long argued that UNRWA school materials glorify terrorism and anti-Israel incitement.

According to a recent IMPACT-se study, several UNRWA staffers have expressed praise for the massacres and hostage-taking committed by the Hamas terror group on October 7. The report detailed social media posts by numerous Gaza- and West Bank-based staff members of UNRWA, including teachers and educational staff, who expressed praise or approval of the devastating onslaught.

The report said that over half of Gaza’s 500,000 school pupils attend UNRWA-operated educational institutions and that the Palestinian Authority curriculum taught in these schools „is replete with antisemitism and encourages violence.” At the same time, UNRWA staff add their own harmful educational materials to the curriculum.

Previous IMPACT-se reports have demonstrated that „UNRWA educational materials incite violence, glorify martyrdom, demonise Israel, and promote antisemitism.”


Photo credit: Mahmud HAMS / AFP