John Ging has been the head of the United Nation Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza since 2006. In this role, Ging has promoted political warfare targeting Israel, as illustrated by the following quotes:

  • Support for “Free Gaza flotillas” provoking violent confrontations with Israel: In May 2010, Ging expressed support for flotillas to Gaza, encouraging the world to “see ships coming with [cut in video]… to the rescue”: “The sea is open, we’ve had a few human rights’ activists, who’ve brought small boats to Gaza over the cause of the past three years with medical supplies and other supplies. And again, they show the way.” In fact, most flotillas have been comprised of fringe activists from ISM, ICAHD, Viva Palestina, and the IHH terror organization. One week after Ging’s remarks, the “Free Gaza” flotilla initiated a violent confrontation with the Israeli navy, resulting in nine deaths. (At a November 2010 lunch, Ging claimed that he was misquoted because the statement first appeared in a Norwegian newspaper. However, the original interview was conducted on video in English.)
  • Promoting Palestinian victimization: “I am delighted that the Elders come again to Gaza…The truth that…we are in the fourth year of an illegal, inhumane and counterproductive blockade on 1.5 million innocent civilians…it has taken the tragic deaths of activists on a flotilla to generate this new level of political clarity and resolve… Whether it is realized or not depends on the triumph of truth over propaganda and legality over illegality. The fate of children well beyond the borders of Gaza is at stake.” (“Gaza: The simple truths that go untold,” John Ging, The Elders, October 16, 2010)
  • “Stripped of their dignity”: “The situation is very desperate at the humanitarian level, I mean people have been stripped of their dignity here, it is a struggle to survive for every body.” (“UN aid chief to EI: Gaza people ‘stripped of their dignity’”, Electronic Initfada, November 25, 2008)
  • “Sub-human existence” in Gaza: “There’s a very sub-human existence for the general population… The definitions of a humanitarian crisis are rather obscene when compared with just how people are having to struggle to survive here…” (“‘A disaster for everybody’”, Guardian UK, May 12, 2008)
  • “Immoral equivalence” on Gilad Shalit (comparing the kidnapped Israeli soldier to Palestinian terrorists): “Equally, there must be action to end all violence emanating from Gaza into Israel and to secure the release of Gilad Shalit and Palestinians administratively detained in Israeli prisons, including more than 300 children.” (“Gaza: The simple truths that go untold,” John Ging, The Elders, October 16, 2010)
  • Demonization of Israel: Ging’s condemnation of Israel for allegedly causing 43 civilian deaths in an UNRWA school in Jabalya, Gaza on January 6, 2009 fuelled false accusations of an Israeli “massacre” and demonization of Israel. Ging’s statements erased the fact that Hamas fighters were in the immediate vicinity of the school, and that the deaths occurred outside the school grounds. Three weeks later Ging admitted, “I know no one was killed in the school,” and acknowledged that all three Israeli mortar shells landed outside the school. (For more on Ging’s role, see CAMERA’s “UNRWA’s Omissions Distort Coverage of Jabaliya Tragedy,” February 4, 2009)
  • Opposition to BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions): “I’m here for five years now trying to get access for the people of Gaza, to get a siege lifted. I am not going to turn around and advocate for the imposition of boycotts, blockades, sieges, on anybody else. . . I’m against sieges, boycotts, blockades. I’m for rule of law, liberty, freedom, respect for human rights.” (“‘The first issue is justice’: Questions for John Ging,” Maan News Agency, December 8, 2010) “Talking about sanctions and boycotts is not going to bring about anything positive.” (“UNRWA Head: Don’t Boycott Israel,” (The Jewish Week, November 16, 2010)