The United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN body responsible for Palestinian refugees, has launched a new global fundraising campaign using a photograph of a child in war-torn Syria, giving would-be donors the false impression that the scene of destruction is in the Gaza Strip.
The image of a young Syrian girl standing amid the rubble of a bombed-out building was promoted by UNRWA though Twitter and Facebook ads, and is now the organization’s cover image on Facebook, UN Watch reported Friday.
The photo was shared with the following text:
Imagine being cut off from the world – for your whole life. That’s reality for children like Aya. The blockade of Gaza began when she was a baby, the occupation in the West Bank before her parents were born. Now she is eleven, and the blockade goes on.
Aya’s childhood memories are of conflict and hardship, walls she cannot escape, and the fear that the only home she knows, however tiny, could be gone when she returns from school.
This Ramadan, please help support children like Aya who have known nothing but conflict and hardship.
However, UNRWA originally used the image in January 2015 for a story on Syria.
— UNRWA (@UNRWA) January 27, 2015
A young girl stands in the rubble of Qabr Essit, near Damascus. In 2014, UNRWA was able begin rebuilding facilities within the neighbourhood, including a school and community centre © 2014 UNRWA Photo by Taghrid Mohammad
UN Watch has called on UNRWA chief Pierre Krahenbuhl to apologize for using the misleading image.
Earlier this year, UN Watch alerted Krahenbuhl about UNRWA teachers who incite violence and hatred against Israel, but “he has yet to respond,” the organization said.
In a recent analysis, Asaf Romirowsky summarized how UNRWA has perpetuated the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:
UNRWA’s success has been in transforming itself into the guardian of the refugees’ isolation, preserving the uniqueness of the Palestinian refugees’ identity as an entity that cannot be assimilated into any Arab country, but only into what is perceived as Palestine. This dependency prevents the refugees from directly getting involved in local politics, leaving UNRWA as their only voice in the “Arab wilderness.”
[Photo: Facebook ]