Two photos tweeted in the past 24 hours, both allegedly depicting the results of Israeli air strikes in Gaza in recent days, have been proven false.
From: HONEST REPORTING
1. The photo first tweeted by Khulood Badawi (@KhuloodBadawi) and later by Diana Alzeer (@ManaraRam), allegedly depicting a Palestinian girl killed by an Israeli air strike yesterday, was proven to have originated in 2006 and to have had nothing at all to do with Israeli action. This photo is now the top tweet for #Gaza, with over 300 retweets. It is completely false.
Badawi first tweeted the picture at noon on March 10, claiming it was linked to last night’s air strikes. Alzeer tweeted it on March 11, claiming the same.
Further research revealed that the photo was taken in 2006 by Reuters, and that the girl, initially thought to have been killed in an Israeli air strike, was injured by falling off a swing. When confronted with this information, Alzeer stated that the photo was taken last night and forwarded to the press that day.
In fact, the photo was taken by Reuters on August 9, 2006. It was originally released with an incorrect caption, and then corrected a day later:
A Palestinian man carries the body of three year-old Raja Abu Shaban, in Gaza August 9, 2006. The three-year-old girl who had been reported killed by an Israeli air strike in Gaza on Wednesday actually died of an accident, Palestinian medical workers said on Thursday. Workers at Gaza’s Shifa hospital said on August 10, 2006 that the initial mistake over the cause of death appeared to have arisen because the girl’s corpse was brought in at the same time as the bodies of the gunmen. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES)
Alzeer later published an apology and withdrew her claims. Badawi has yet to respond.
Khulood Badawi happens to work for the OCHA – the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs where, according to a UN Contact List, she works as an Information and Media Coordinator.
A Google search reveals that Badawi has a history of activism in a range of pro-Palestinian non-governmental organizations, some of them radical and politicized. While this background may not in itself disqualify her from a career with the UN, it is absolutely unacceptable that a UN employee working specifically on dissemination of information to the media and public tweets malicious and false information to libel Israel.
The original tweets, however, have already been picked up by hundreds of others and continue to circulate around the web, despite having been thoroughly disproved.
2. A second photo tweeted Maissam Nablussi (@Nablussi), allegedly showing an aerial strike in Gaza today, was proven to have been in circulation back in 2009, completely unrelated to the current round of violence.
On March 11, Nablussi uploaded a photo to Facebook, claiming it depicted “Gaza under attack today.”
Call on the UN to take the appropriate action by contacting the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs through its Contact page – http://www.unocha.org/contact
This appalling breach of integrity on the part of a UN employee deserves to be widely exposed. Please consider clicking +1, Tweet, Like or linking to this article on your blog or website. Getting the UN to take note is only effective when this article reaches a large readership, especially through the Google search engine. Creating a link to this page with the text “UN Employee Exposed Over False Photo Tweet” helps this article reach the first page search results for the term.
HonestReporting’s CEO Joe Hyams comments:
Once again, we are bearing witness to the extent that organizations such as the United Nations have failed to vet the integrity of their employees. The disgusting actions of this individual – invoking the imagery of a dead child to slander Israel – exposes once more the abject failure of NGOs to ensure a basic work ethic and commitment to fair and impartial conduct on the part of its employees.
The halo-effect enjoyed by the UN, where the public trusts the integrity of its staff and its Mission, demands higher professional standards than we are seeing. The UN owes the public, no less than this young girl’s family, an apology. The immediate dismissal of Khulood Badawi on the grounds of incitement is expected.
Powerful images such as these have a deep impact on public opinion. Where Israel is trying desperately to defend more than 1 million of its civilians from the incessant murderous rain of Gazan rocket terror – it is abhorrent that a UN employee working for a body concerned with humanitarian welfare would have more concern for manipulating public sentiment than a true desire to protect innocent human life. Badawi cares more for the lie, than for life.