NEW YORK – Khulood Badawi, a veteran public affairs officer in the Jerusalem
branch of the United Nations Office of the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs
(OCHA), has been “separated” from the UN, according to officials in New
The de facto firing, publicly explained as a contract non-renewal,
comes shortly after the conclusion of an internal investigation lasting almost a
The investigation conducted by the UN Development Program centered
on a February 2012 Twitter post containing the photograph of a dead Palestinian
girl, who Badawi insisted was killed by the IDF during its shelling of
Subsequent investigations revealed that it was in reality an
archived Reuters photo originally taken in 2006.
According to Reuters,
the photograph was that of a young woman killed as the result of local clashes
in Gaza, not as the result of any IDF action.
Badawi, it was later
discovered, had been involved in several earlier controversial actions,
including a 2006 demonstration in Jerusalem in which she labeled current Defense
Minister Ehud Barak a “war criminal.”
UN under-secretary-general for
humanitarian affairs Valerie Amos, while not disputing Badawi’s actions,
publicly questioned whether the world body could be held accountable for
As such, she launched the inquiry that Israel’s UN
mission charged was a “whitewash,” with Ambassador Ron Prosor repeatedly
insisting that Badawi be fired.
Amos then explained she was awaiting
conclusions and recommendations. Yet weeks turned into months, with the
investigation having been concluded in October 2012, and repeated inquiries to
Amos for updates produced nothing.
On Wednesday, an email from the UN
revealed that all facets of the fact-finding mission had finally been completed,
and that the organization had opted not to renew Badawi’s contract.
other details were released.
Badawi was unable to be reached for comment,
and Israel’s UN mission had no immediate reaction.