The Tweets by Chris Gunness, spokesperson for UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency), are worth following for those Twitterers amongst you interested in gleaning insights into the mind of those in the Palestinian Refugee industry.
Gunness has nary an unkind word for Hamas, the authoritarian Palestinian leadership in Gaza representing the only government in the world led by a recognized terrorist movement, yet continually imputes guilt to Israel for engaging in efforts to stop the flow of rockets to the strip, 676 of which were fired last year from the territory.
Here’s a quote by Gunness in a 2011 Guardian piece, which interprets Israeli efforts to prevent deadly arms from reaching Hamas as systemic cruelty, whose intent is to sow misery upon innocent civilians.
“It is hard to understand the logic of a man-made policy which deliberately impoverishes so many and condemns hundreds of thousands of potentially productive people to a life of destitution.”
Moreover, by UNRWA’s expansive definition of what constitutes a Palestinian refugee, based on a quote from the same Guardian piece, 1.5 million Palestinians living in a Palestinian run polity in Gaza are still considered “refugees”.
Further, as research by NGO Monitor has demonstrated, UNRWA funds (almost entirely provided by voluntary contributions from governments and the European Union) “are often used for UNRWA schools and other facilities…[which] teach hatred and encourage incitement, [and] the evidence demonstrates that UNRWA staff allowed terror related activities in its camps [in Gaza and the West Bank].”
I have found nothing Gunness has written or Tweeted suggesting he is aware or concerned about such incitement, which provides context for this recent Tweet about Ali Abunimah, co-founder of Electronic Intifada, and CiF contributor through 2009.
Boy, where to begin?
Abunimah is an American pro-Palestinian activist who opposes the Jewish state’s existence, and who has not hesitated to compare Israel to South African apartheid and even Nazi Germany - describing Gaza as a “ghetto” and a “concentration camp” and arguing that “Zionism is not atonement for the Holocaust, but its continuation in spirit.”
Abunimah has also characterized the Jewish state as “supremacist”, echoing a trope popularized by, among others, David Duke and Gilad Atzmon, and has also described Israeli policy towards Palestinians as “potentially genocidal”.
Further, Abunimah has suggested that suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism by Hamas and Hezbollah against Israeli civilians could justly be seen as legitimate to the degree such tactics resemble ”other nationalist movements facing foreign occupation”.
So, the anti-racist Ali Abunimah is a proponent of the demise of the Jewish state – a nation which he has characterized as “supremacist”, potentially genocidal, and even Nazi-like – and has sought to justify terrorism against Jewish civilians.
If your name is Chris Gunness, it’s all apparently enough to make you giggle.