Sarah Muscroft, head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OCHA), was removed from her office after tweeting her support of the ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The tweet also criticized the PIJ for firing rockets that fell inside Gaza, killing Gazan civilians.
“Relieved to see a ceasefire agreed ending hostilities impacting both Palestinians and Israeli civilians,” Muscroft tweeted. “Such indiscriminate rocket fire of Islamic Jihad provoking Israeli retaliation is condemned. The safety of all civilians is paramount — the ceasefire must be upheld.”
Palestinian Islamic Jihad fried more than 1,1000 rockets at Israel between August 5-7. An IDF briefing about Operation Breaking Dawn revealed that one in five Islamic Jihad rockets, or a total of about 200, fell in Gaza. The Palestinians reported a total of 35 deaths of whom 26 were innocent bystanders. Of the 26, 11 were killed in Israeli airstrikes, and 15 were killed by Islamic Jihad rockets that failed to clear Gaza. 17 minors were reportedly killed in the hostilities. This means that PIJ rockets accounted for more Gazan deaths than IDF airstrikes.
Muscroft’s Twitter account has since been closed though she did post a retraction five days ago:
Palestinian activists have forced Sarah Muscroft, the head of UN OCHA office in Palestine, to apologize and delete her previous tweet where she blamed Palestinians for their own deaths and exempted the Israeli occupation from responsibility. pic.twitter.com/bgFc989tLS
— Che Papua (@ChePapua) August 9, 2022
Emails to the senior UN official on Friday received an automatic reply saying Muscroft was “on annual leave.”
On Saturday, an OCHA spokesman in Geneva told The Times of Israel that Muscroft “will be assigned to a new role.
“OCHA has been present in the occupied Palestinian territory for the past 20 years, working to help meet humanitarian needs, guided by the humanitarian principles of neutrality, impartiality and humanity,” Jens Laerke said.
“Over two million people in the occupied Palestinian territory need assistance — they remain our only focus and priority.”