UNRWA Gaza Headquarters (AP /Khalil Hamra) AP /Khalil Hamra
UNRWA Gaza Headquarters

UNRWA event displays a map that encourages the delegitimization of Israel by labeling all of Israel as Arab Palestine.

According to Palestinian Media Watch, “At the official launch of two German-funded UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near East) projects in southern Lebanon, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Ann Dismorr, posed with a map that erases the State of Israel and presents all of it as ‘Palestine.’” Some of the cities that are listed as being part of Arab Palestine are Be’ersheva, Jerusalem, Haifa, and Tiberius, which are all presently cities with a Jewish majority located which are mostly located within mainland Israel.

Palestinian Media Watch claimed that this map was a gift from the Palestinian Women’s Union and was presented during the launch of an event dedicated to improving water networks and shelters for the Palestinian community in Lebanon. The Head of Economic Cooperation and Development at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Lebanon Dr. Hanan Abdul Rida was also present alongside a number of high-ranking Palestinian and Lebanese officials.

Upon being questioned, the UNRWA’s spokesman Chris Gunness responded that this map spoke of pre-1948 Palestine but such assertions don’t really hold under scrutiny. As Palestinian Media Watch reported, “UNRWA spokesperson Gunness’ justification that the map ‘depict[s] a pre-1948 map’ is baseless, as the map includes the PLO-PA flag and not a British flag. That exact map erasing Israel, especially when accompanied by the PA flag, is one of the many ways the PA expresses its rejection of Israel’s existence and right to exist.”


As Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, noted, “It’s quite something for UNRWA to insist that the map predates the creation of Israel, given that the PLO only adopted this flag in 1964.” He also explained that the map was titled Arab Palestine and not the British Mandate for Palestine. Additionally, the map displayed Israel’s neighbors Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria with their contemporary borders, further underlining the fact that the map spoke of the present and not the past.

Prosor has sent in a letter of protest to the United Nations as a result of this incident. “Many in the international community doubt UNRWA’s impartiality and motives,” the letter reads. “Israel supports UNRWA’s important humanitarian work; however, actions that encourage incitement, conflict and, ultimately, violence undermine this work.” Prosor concluded, “UNRWA’s grasp of history and geography is nothing short of appalling.”


The UNRWA was created in 1949 in order to provide humanitarian aid to Palestinians who fled their homes following Israel’s War of Independence and their descendants, until Palestinians will be granted a right of return, even though such a right is not mandated by international law. It is the only UN agency devoted solely to refugees of a specific nationality (all other refugees are handled by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees) and that encourages a right of return to the area where the refugees fled from. All other refugee groups are resettled in another country, granted citizenship rights within that country, and give birth to children who aren’t refugees.

It is also the only UN agency that allows for one to inherit refugee status and defines one as a refugee if they lived in a given country two years prior to the date they were forced to flee. As Kasim Kaz Hafeez a Muslim, Zionist and Israel advocate stated, “From the very start, from Israel’s independence, there has been a premeditated campaign to ensure that there is a continuing Palestinian refugee situation.” UNRWA is merely part of this effort. Thus, displaying such a map at an UNRWA event is merely the latest manifestation of the problematic nature of UNRWA as it is currently run.

Please write into the United Nations to complain!

Contact: Ban Ki-moon
Email: ecu@un.org

Dear Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon,

As a concerned citizen, I am deeply troubled by the fact that Ann Dismorr, UNRWA’s director in Lebanon, had her picture taken holding a map within which Israel has been erased. This behavior is appalling for a international peace keeping organization. Doing such an action encourages the Palestinians to continue to be intransigent and refuse to negotiate a peace agreement with Israel, since it gives them the hope that they can receive every thing that they want without having to recognize Israel’s right to exist.

Since Israel is a member state of the United Nations, the United Nations should force UNRWA to only utilize maps that clearly show the internationally recognized borders of the State of Israel, areas under Palestinian Authority control, and districts that are under dispute between the two sides, whose status will be finalized upon the completion of a peace agreement that will lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state. Any other map is geographically inaccurate, denies the reality as it exists presently, disrespects Israel as a sovereign member state of the United Nations, and discourages peaceful reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis.

The only proper response to this blatant insult to Israel as well as disregard for the UN’s own acknowledgment of Israel as a legitimate state, is to issue an apology and to ensure the UNRWA to totally discontinue using such maps in all of their functions in the future.


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