Will Chris Gunness ever be held to account?

The UNRWA's spokesperson is assisting in Hamas's "dead baby strategy". This bias is intolerable and violates UNRWA's own policies on neutrality. When will this outrage be brought to an end?

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Dexter Van Zile
On 4 September 2015 06:09

Christopher Gunness, spokesperson for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is finally getting the scrutiny he deserves. For years, Gunness, a former journalist, has been using his position as a UN spokesperson to assist in what Alan Dershowitz calls Hamas’ “dead baby strategy.”

Here’s how it goes. Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist organization that controls the Gaza Strip, starts a fight with Israel it cannot win and launches rockets at civilians while hiding behind civilians.

Sometimes these rockets fall short and kill Palestinians and sometimes the attacks provoke Israeli counter attacks that result in the deaths of Palestinian civilians, including children. The images of dead children are broadcast throughout the world, prompting cries of outrage against Israel, which is what Hamas wants.

Hamas cannot win militarily, but it can engage in a cognitive war against Israel that provokes feelings of guilt in the West and rage in the Middle East. It’s a cruel and cynical strategy, but it works largely because of the actions of people like Gunness.

Gunness assists Hamas with this strategy by pointing the finger of blame at Israel and running interference for Hamas. Death and destruction is, in the story Gunness tells about fighting in the Gaza Strip, always Israel’s fault.

The most obnoxious example of this came in 2014 when during an interview with Al Jazeera, he broke down and cried after stating “The rights of Palestinians -- even their children -- are wholesale denied. And it’s appalling.”

It is appalling, but the fact remains that Hamas is the organization responsible for denying children their rights. Hamas, which has used child labor to dig tunnels into Egypt is public enemy number one when it comes to child endangerment in the Gaza Strip.

It’s a reality that Gunness and the institution he represents simply does not want to confront. He will however, assail Israel.

Take a look at Gunness’s Twitter feed, which is followed by anti-Israel journalists throughout the world. There is little, if any condemnation of Hamas in his Tweets, but there are regular denunciations of Israeli policy and actions.

For example, Gunness posted a Tweet calling on Israel to “lift the blockade.” How about asking Hamas to stop endangering Palestinian children with its reckless attacks on Israel? How about asking Hamas to stop teaching children to hate Jews?

Gunness’ behavior is a clear and obvious violation of UNRWA’s stated policy regarding neutrality, which declares that, “neutrality is .. a core obligation and value of UN staff.” (Gunness himself wrote about this policy for the Huffington Post in 2011.)

Recently, UN Watch drew attention to antisemitic Facebook postings of a number of UNRWA employees, some of whom appear to be members of Hamas -- a clear violation of UNRWA’s so-called policies regarding neutrality.

How did Gunness respond?  By attacking UN Watch and asking for information about UN Watch’s funding.

In response to these outrages, an activist from California has started a petition on Change.org calling for Gunness to be investigated for his violations of UNRWA’s policies on neutrality.

Somebody needs to do something. Gunness’ use of UN resources to assist in Hamas’s cognitive war against the Jewish state is simply intolerable.

Dexter Van Zile is Christian Media Analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA)

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