Friday, December 25, 2015

.@UNRWA's Chris Gunness again violates his organization's stated neutrality standards

Chris Gunness, UNRWA's spokesperson, tweeted this yesterday:

I believe that this is the story that Gunness is referring to, about how the IDF is coordinating with Bethlehem officials to ensure that Christmas celebrations can be successful, despite the Arab violence that is scaring people away:

At the end of the story the reporter indeed says "Palestinians resent Israel's continued occupation of land they want for a future state." But the focus of the report wasn't on Palestinian suffering as every single other media report is, so Gunness found the report to have an "amazing lack of context."

(The BBC itself had such a story on Wednesday about a Bethlehem carpenter who is losing business because of the separation barrier that has now been in place for many years.)

I again quote Gunness about UNRWA's supposed neutrality:
Where we find credible allegations of neutrality violations among our staff, we investigate and where it's appropriate we take disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. And that process is audited by our major donors.

In other words, this person who claims that "UNRWA’s neutrality is the family's silver" has again violated that very mandate.

UN Watch also noticed this and issued a press release (not on their website as of the time of this writing):
GENEVA, Dec. 25, 2015 -- A Geneva-based watchdog agency called on U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power to take remedial measures against UNRWA and its spokesman Chris Gunness for engaging in partisan advocacy—breaching its neutrality promise under the 2015 UNRWA-U.S. Framework for Cooperation—after Gunness, an ex-BBC reporter, published a "demand" last night that the BBC "use the words 'Israeli occupation' in its coverage of Christmas in Bethlehem.""The neutrality breach here is astounding," said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer. "It's also unprecedented, because there is no other humanitarian agency in the world that publicly lobbies the media on what it should say about one party or another. UNRWA is putting at risk the $400 million support they receive from the U.S., which is conditional on UNRWA staying neutral and impartial." UN Watch noted that Gunness has not asked the BBC to mention murder, persecution and ethnic cleansing of Christians in Palestinian areas and throughout the Middle East, as documented before the UN in compelling testimony by Father Gabriel Naddaf, who noted that "Israel is the only Mideast country not persecuting Christians."

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 11 years and over 22,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.