NEW YORK – A senior official in the U.N. office of Humanitarian Affairs has been accused of fraud by the Israeli government.
America’s ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, refused requests for reaction.
On Friday, Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor sent a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos of the U.K., demanding the immediate firing of Khulood Badawi and an official apology from the world body.
Badawi is listed as an information and media coordinator in the Office of the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA.
OCHA is the U.N.’s main body handling emergency responses.
Currently, it has been engaged in a standoff with the Syrian government in an effort to provide medical relief to those impacted by the ongoing civil war there.
The letter from Prosor on Friday followed one sent to the secretary-general on Thursday complaining about the silence of the world body in condemning recent rocket attacks on Israel from neighboring Gaza.
In both instances, U.N. Ambassador Rice has chosen to remain silent, with no explanation offered.
Badawi, it is alleged, recently tweeted a photo of what was purported to be the body of a Palestinian girl killed during a recent Israeli military attack on Gaza.
In his letter to Ban, a copy of which was provided to WND by Israel’s U.N. mission, Prosor says:
“On March 12, 2012 Ms. Badawi used Twitter to send a picture of a Palestinian girl that she claimed was killed by an Israeli air strike the day before … In the accompanying caption, Ms. Badawi wrote: ‘Palestine is bleeding. Another child killed by Israel. Another father carrying a child into a grave in Gaza.’”
Prosor insisted that the Badawi tweet was no more than a blatant fraud and one knowingly perpetrated by the U.N. official:
“The picture (in question) was taken and published by Reuters in 2006 (not 2012) which reported that the child died in a local accident (in Gaza). She was not killed by Israeli forces.”
Reuters confirmed the origin of the photo in question.
Prosor explained that once posted, the message went viral throughout the Twitter system.
The ambassador went on to state:
“We have before us an OCHA information officer who was directly engaged in spreading misinformation. 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 is necessary.”
On Friday, U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky deflected any comment on the Prosor complaint, explaining the world body does not use Twitter to make official comments. He told a reporter that comments found on Twitter “are personal and not official.”
Attempts to reach OCHA chief Valerie Amos were ignored by her office.
It is not clear what, if any action, will be taken by the U.N.
The Friday complaint came on the heels of a Thursday letter to Ban and Security Council President Sir Mark Lyall Grant of the U.K. about the lack of condemnation regarding the recent Hamas rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza.
On March 13, Prosor wrote to Ban:
“More than 75 rockets have been fired into Israeli communities from Gaza in the past day. More than 250 rockets have been fired over the past week. That’s one rocket every twenty minutes. Israeli civilians have less than 15 seconds to find shelter from these attacks. … The lives of 1,000,000 Israeli civilians are paralyzed. 200,000 Israeli children are out of school. …Yet, the Security Council remains silent.”
The swipe at the council took on greater importance since only two days earlier, the body met in an unusual ministerial session attended by Ban, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and British Foreign Secretary William Hague.
The topic of “unrest” in the Middle East was the reason for the summit, but in reality was no more than a pressure tactic by Washington and London to get Moscow and Beijing to stop blocking action on addressing the ongoing Syrian civil war.
The attacks on Israel were given little public attention.
By week’s end, the situation grew progressively worse, with still no comment by the British U.N. mission nor from America’s Susan Rice, despite repeated requests.
U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky likewise did not respond to requests for comment on the Prosor letters.