In a rare move, UNRWA, the UN refugee agency for Palestinians that is largely funded by EU states, deleted a tweet after a watchdog group protested that the post glorified a man who served as spokesman of the PFLP terrorist group when it orchestrated the Lod Airport Massacre in 1972, killing 26 and injuring 80.

UNRWA’s tweet called Ghassan Kanafani a “famed” writer, and echoed complaints by Arab Israelis after Jerusalem ordered the removal of a memorial to the terrorist leader installed in the city of Akko (Acre).

After deleting its tweet, UNRWA then issued a statement on Twitter that blamed “unauthorized access” for the pro-PFLP tweet.

“There has been a brief, unauthorized access to UNRWA’s twitter account,” the agency tweeted. Measures are in place to prevent a reoccurrence. UNRWA is in the process of changing the password for its twitter account.”

In response, Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch said, “I hope that UNRWA’s removal of the post indicates its recognition that a supposed UN humanitarian agency has no business tweeting on political controversies—let alone supporting a terrorist involved in mass murder.”

“UNRWA receives massive financial and political support from Britain, Germany, Sweden, the EU and Canada, and they bear responsibility; it’s time for those governments to demand basic accountability.”

“We remind UNRWA that support for terrorism constitutes a gross violation of the UN Charter as well as UNRWA’s own internal policies concerning neutrality and impartiality, including with respect to public pronouncements.”

“I’m concerned that the tweet reflects a pattern of action that adversely reflects on UNRWA’s status, integrity, independence and impartiality.”

“As we documented in numerous reports, UNRWA has a pattern and practice of employing teachers who publish incendiary social media posts glorifying anti-Israel terrorism and antisemitism, which amount to a gross violation of this duty of neutrality. UNRWA must stop engaging in political, racial, religious or ideological controversies.”

ABOUT UNRWA

UNRWA is a stumbling block to peace in the Middle East, hindering the integration of Palestinians who have lived in Jordan and Lebanon for years, according to Swiss Foreign Affairs Minister Ignazio Cassis.

“For a long time the UNRWA was the solution to this problem, but today it has become part of the problem. It supplies the ammunition to continue the conflict. By supporting the UNRWA, we keep the conflict alive. It’s a perverse logic,” said Cassis in May. 

He called for the integration of long-term refugees in their countries of residence. Instead of UNRWA schools and hospitals, he said Switzerland could support Jordanian facilities to promote the integration of Palestinian refugees.

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