NEW YORK – Khulood 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, according to 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 Badawi’s 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.
No other details were released.
Badawi was unable to be reached for comment, and Israel’s UN mission had no immediate reaction.