Thursday, February 7, 2013

UN cuts ties with official tied to false Gaza tweet

 All things come to those who wait.

Kulhood Badawi, a public affairs officer at the United Nations Office of the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)  has been terminated.  Badawi  gained notoriety for tweeting a 2006 photo of a girl from Gaza, and falsely insisting she was killed by the IDF during its shelling of Gaza  Its taken nearly a year, and its likely too late to undo the damage. At the time,  Badawi's tweet was picked up by dozens, and spread virally via social media.  In the Bay Area, Eyad Kishawi of the local Al-Awda chapter also spread this discredited photo

From the J Post
Kulhood 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, say officials in New York.

The de facto firing, publicly explained as a contract non-renewal, comes shortly after the conclusion of an internal investigation lasting almost a year.

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 Gaza.

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 Badawi¹s actions, publicly questioned whether the world body could be held accountable for "personal" tweets.

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.
Avi Mayer describes how the story went down at Storify

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