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January 18, 2016 7:13 am

UNRWA Tells Potential Employees Life in West Bank Is Wonderful; Tells World the Opposite

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The West Bank. Photo: Abutoum via Wikimedia Commons.

The West Bank. Photo: Abutoum via Wikimedia Commons.

From an UNRWA job posting:

The Director of UNRWA Operations acts as UNRWA’s representative in the West Bank where s/he directs UNRWA’s programmes… for a population of more than 750,000 registered Palestine refugees.

The Director leads UNRWA’s responsibility for addressing the needs of Palestine refugees in the West Bank whose limited rights, restricted movement and an Occupation contribute to their marginalized existence.

The job description itself says that Israel oppresses Palestinians, whose lives are miserable.

Employees are required to take the Palestinian side of the issues:

Client Orientation: Considers all those to whom services are provided to be “clients” and seeks to see things from clients’ point of view; establishes and maintains productive partnerships with clients by gaining their trust and respect…

But, the posting emphasizes:

UNRWA is a United Nations organization whose staff are expected to uphold the highest standards of integrity, neutrality and impartiality.

How, exactly, can people be neutral when they are explicitly told to empathize with one side?

While UNRWA employees are told to push the narrative of how awful life is for Palestinians, the UNRWA website that tries to attract employees completely contradicts the description of “limited rights, restricted movement and an Occupation:”

Working for UNRWA in the West Bank is challenging and rewarding. Jerusalem is a family-friendly duty station.

Public transportation is very common in the West Bank. Local residents use either buses, taxis, or their private cars when commuting to the various locations in the West Bank, which are generally easily accessible.

… An increasing number of cafes, restaurants and hotels have wireless internet connections.

Generally speaking for international staff, living in the West Bank is a remarkable experience with many highlights including the kindness and generosity of the people and the incredible array of sites to explore that are of historical and religious significance. … This duty station is otherwise known for its accessibility to modern facilities including shopping centres, gyms, and swimming pools in Jerusalem and Ramallah. There are also many coffee shops and bars that provide special menus in a fabulous atmosphere.

While UNRWA writes reports about how terrible the water situation is in the West Bank, they tell employees to enjoy the fabulous swimming pools available to all Palestinians.

While UNRWA tells the world that checkpoints are oppressive, it tells its employees that travel through those checkpoints for local residents is easy.

The entire reason that NGO workers love to work in the West Bank is because it is safe, because they have easy access to all the amenities of modern life — and because Israel won’t do anything to them when they write report after report on how terrible life is there.

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