Delegitimizing Israel

U.N. official under fire for photo op holding map that erases Israel

U.N. official holds map erasing Israel /
May 14, 2013

A senior United Nations official was recently caught posing for a picture in Lebanon while holding "a map that erases the State of Israel and presents all of it as ‘Palestine,’" according to an Israeli media monitoring organization.

Ann Dismorr, director of the United National Relief Works Agency’s (UNRWA) Lebanon bureau, posed on May 3 on Arabic television holding a map that clearly erases the Jewish state of Israel and replaces it with "Palestine," according to Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), which posted several photos of Dismorr.

"Above the map is the Palestinian flag and the inscription ‘Arab Palestine,’" PMW reported on its website, translating the original Arabic text. "The text at the bottom of the map also says ‘Palestine.’

"The neighboring countries Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon are all named on the map as is the Mediterranean Sea," PMW reports. "Israel is not mentioned or designated anywhere."

The map was presented during a ceremony to launch a series of German-funded UNRWA projects in southern Lebanon.

UNRWA disputes the charge, claiming that just "because its officials and stakeholders stood next to a map which does not show Israel," does not mean it endorses the behavior.

"UNRWA categorically rejects accusations in the media that the Agency is 'erasing Israel from the map' because its officials and stakeholders stood next to a map which does not show Israel," UNRWA spokesperson Christopher Gunness told the Free Beacon.

"The map in question is an embroidery depicting a pre-1948 map and therefore ante-dates the creation of the state of Israel," Gunness said, accusing PMW of publishing misleading information. "The allegations are therefore completely false."

The map additionally turns cities in Israel into cities in "Palestine."

"Several places and cities, both in Israel and from the Palestinian Authority, are included on the map of ‘Palestine,’" according to PMW. These include, "The Negev desert, Be'er Sheva, Rafah (Gaza), Hebron, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Jaffa, Haifa, Acre, Tiberias, and the Dead Sea."

UNRWA, which cares for some 5 million Palestinian refugees throughout Israel and the surrounding region, has come under fire in the past for having what critics allege is an anti-Israel bias.

The map was offered to UNRWA as a present from the "Palestinian Women's Union." It was presented during the ceremony, which was organized to launch a series of water improvement projects funded in part by the German government.

UNRWA reported on its website that "a number of high ranking Lebanese and Palestinian officials" were present.

"Germany has contributed a total of US$ 53.9 million to UNRWA’s General Fund between 2007 and 2012 and US$ 12.9 million for UNRWA in Lebanon during the same period," UNRWA noted.

PMW founder and director Itamar Marcus said UNRWA is "giving into basically the most fundamental impediments to peace" by justifying Palestinian attempts to delegitimize Israel.

"Even if it’s only passive and people handed [the map] to her, she held it aloft and posed for the picture," Marcus said. "She knew what she was doing."

"The U.N. is going along and has gone along with this message … of denying Israel," Marcus said.

Meanwhile, the International Red Cross was recently criticized for engaging in similar behavior.

The well-regarded humanitarian organization teamed up with the Palestinian Red Crescent to plant 150 trees that were named after "veteran prisoners," otherwise known as terrorists and other criminals imprisoned by Israel, according to PMW.

One tree was named after a terrorist who shot innocent college students in Jerusalem while another was named for a terrorist who received four life sentences for killing an Israeli.

The ceremony titled "My Honor is My Freedom" was held in the Palestinian territory of Jenin and marked the Red Cross’s 150th anniversary, according to PMW.

"The Palestinian Authority uses the term ‘veteran prisoners’ to refer to those who have been in jail the longest and in most cases are serving life sentences for murder or multiple murders," PMW stated in its report.

PMW identified more than 15 individuals tied to terror who had a tree named after them.

Red Cross official Giorgio Ferrario, a representative of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, attended the event.

"It is significant that the International Red Cross funds not only the general budget of the Palestinian Red Crescent but also ‘events,’" according to PMW, which noted that it remains unclear if the Red Cross funded the event or just participated.

Multiple Red Cross spokespeople did not respond to a Free Beacon request for comment about the event.

PMW’s Marcus noted that while the Red Cross has not traditionally taken a biased stand against Israel, its presence at the event might mark a disturbing shift.

"It is so surprising and upsetting," Marcus said. "It seems more and more organizations are getting into things that the world was once horrified by."