Israel: Fire UN official over false Gaza photo

Prossor calls for dismissal of OCHA official who posted photo of bloodied Palestinian girl during latest escalation.

March 16, 2012 01:59
2 minute read.
Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor [file]

Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor 311. (photo credit: Shahar Azran)


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Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor called Wednesday for the dismissal of a UN official who earlier this week tweeted a picture of a Palestinian child covered in blood and falsely claimed she was killed by an IDF strike.

Kuhlood Badawi, an information and media coordinator for OCHA, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, posted a link to the picture of a young girl covered in blood being carried by her father, along with the tweet: “Palestine is bleeding. Another child killed by #Israel... Another father carrying his child to a Grave in #Gaza.”

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The picture, it emerged, was published in 2006 by Reuters and was of a Palestinian girl who died in an accident unrelated to Israel.

Prosor, in his letter to Valerie Amos, the undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, expressed “outrage” at Badawi’s conduct, saying that even though her tweet was blatantly false, it became the top tweet the day it was posted for anything relating to Gaza.

“We have before us an OCHA information officer who was directly engaged in spreading misinformation,” Prosor wrote.

“When the conduct of an OCHA employee so grossly deviates from the organization’s responsibility to remain impartial, the integrity of the entire organization is eroded.

The credibility of OCHA is already seriously in doubt among the Israeli public. This is why immediate action in this case is necessary.”

Prosor said that not only did Badawi’s actions violate conduct expected of a UN official, but that she “actively engaged in the demonization of Israel, a member state of the United Nations. Such actions contribute to incitement, conflict and, ultimately, violence.”

Prosor not only called for her firing, but also for an OCHA statement disassociating itself from her Twitter comments.

The Foreign Ministry has numerous grievances against OCHA, which is widely viewed in the ministry as badly one-sided.

“We have long observed, sadly, how OCHA betrays its stated humanitarian mission, which it has swapped for pro- Palestinian propaganda,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Thursday.

“But this latest piece of furious fabrication goes even below the low standards it had set so far. It is intolerable that UN money pays for this.”

An OCHA spokeswoman in Jerusalem said she was not authorized to comment on the incident, and suggested calling the office in New York. The spokeswoman there said she was unaware of Prosor’s letter, but would look into it. By press time, no further response was forthcoming.

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