The UNRWA.org website, in a document about the importance of neutrality to that organization, makes the following claims:
Neutrality is critically important to United Nations humanitarian agencies — as well as ICRC and NGOs — to gain and maintain the confidence of all needed to operate independently, safely and effectively, especially in politically-charged or conflict situations. Neutrality is also a core obligation and value of UN staff and an important condition for our donors’ continued trust and financial and political support.
Brian wrote a few days ago about UNRWA Spokesman Chris Gunness’s Twitter temper tantrum, calling for a boycott of the Jerusalem Post in response to an Op-Ed that he was unhappy with. The public face of the supposedly neutral UN agency has also apparently blocked the spokesman for the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Paul Hirschson.
— UN Watch (@UNWatch) December 17, 2014
— Paul Hirschson (@paulhirschson) December 16, 2014
Twitter is a public forum, one that is increasingly being used by public officials and the press to convey information widely and quickly. It is hard to see how blocking a key diplomat representing a country that UNRWA is supposed to be engaging with could possibly be seen to be in line with the neutrality principle that UNRWA itself claims to hold dear. Such behavior is, moreover, incredibly juvenile and unprofessional. The fact that an individual who behaves in this manner continues to represent a high profile UN agency is just further evidence of that agency’s total incompetence.
UPDATE: OK, really, Gunness is just putting his hands over his ears and yelling “LALALALALA I CAN’T HEAAAAARRR YOU” at anyone who challenges him.
— UN Watch (@UNWatch) December 18, 2014
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) December 18, 2014