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UN to teach Holocaust in Gaza: Senior official

Gazans decry plans to teach Holocaust in schools

The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees is mulling teaching the Holocaust to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip but is facing strong opposition from residents, the head of the agency said on Wednesday.

UNRWA officials are considering teaching the Nazi genocide of millions, including Jews, blacks and gypsies, during World War II to secondary school children as part of a human rights curriculum, said Karen AbuZayd.

But she stressed that the project, which has stirred stiff opposition in the Palestinian enclave, was still in its early stages.

"It's not even a draft; it's just some ideas that have been outlined. This human rights curriculum will be discussed with human rights experts in Gaza and with the community, the parents."

UNRWA earlier denied it had any immediate plans to teach the Holocaust in the schools it runs in Gaza following an outcry, notably from Hamas, which decried what it called plans to "teach a lie."

The strongest response came from Gaza residents rather than from Hamas, the enclave's Islamist leaders, AbuZayd said.

"It's not Hamas really, it's the community," she said.

"People don't understand why with what they've gone through ... they would have to learn about somebody else's problems," she said.

It's not even a draft; it's just some ideas that have been outlined. This human rights curriculum will be discussed with human rights experts in Gaza and with the community, the parents

UNRWA head

Hamas insists that the Holocaust is vastly exaggerated, a view that is far from uncommon in the Middle East.

AbuZayd spoke to journalists ahead of a trip to France next week where she hopes to raise funds for the cash-strapped UNRWA, which is $17 million short in this year's operational budget alone.

People don't understand why with what they've gone through ... they would have to learn about somebody else's problems

UNRWA head