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Jewish World Review Oct. 31, 2002 / 26 Mar-Cheshvan, 5763

David Bedein

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Consumer Reports

This Halloween, UNICEF treats you with new PR trick against Israel | We all remember UNICEF. It's the agency that provides little children with little boxes for Halloween fundraising.

When the costume clad tykes stick out one hand for junk food, the other is immediately pushed forward for the real stuff --- funds to prevent third world children from starving.

Unlike other agencies of the UN, UNICEF, to its credit, has kept its distance from the Middle East conflict.

Until now.

Some of UNICEF's funding is being spent promoting anti-Israel propaganda.

In recent days, Pierre Poupard, the UNICEF Special Representative to the Palestinian Authority, issued a scathing memo in which he accused Israel of preventing 226,000 Palestinian Arab children from going to school.

When reached at the UNICEF office in Jerusalem, Mr. Poupard claimed not to know that:

  • The New York Times, in a Front Page dispatch, reported how the PA education ministry has recruited 25,000 9 and 10 year olds to train in their school yards for military confrontation with Israeli soldiers and civilians, including the throwing of Molotov cocktails at passing Israeli vehicles.

  • the PA's deputy minister of education, Naim Abu Humus, has called upon school administrators to dedicate each day's first period to praying for the souls of the suicide bombers killed during the uprising, saying, "Today we glorify Al-Aksa and Palestine, and remember the Palestinian martyrs."

  • signs on the walls of the PA kindergartens proclaim their students the "shaheeds" (martyrs) of tomorrow. And to make sure that is the case, Arab authorities mandate that their young, instead of spending their waking days fully availing themselves to a modern education, be placed in the front-lines of armed demonstrations against Israeli soldiers.

The trick that UNICEF treats Israel with, is that it ignores the significant steps the Jewish State made in establishing a modern educational system for Palestinians Arabs after the Israel Civil Administration took over in Judea, Samaria and Gaza in 1967. This, even in the absence of peace.

UNICEF could conduct its own trick or treat by asking any Palestinian Authority educational system pupil: "What did you learn in school today, dear little boy of mine"?

One wonders why they don't.

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David Bedein is Bureau Chief of the Israel Resource News Agency, Beit Agron International Press Center, Jerusalem, Israel. Click here to comment on this column.


© 2002, David Bedein