Israel-UN spat intensifies after Secretary General says Hamas attacks ‘did not happen in a vacuum’


A livid diplomatic spat between Israel and the United Nations has damaged out, with Israeli officers calling for the resignation of Secretary General Antonio Guterres after he stated Hamas’ October 7 attacks on the nation “did not happen in a vacuum.”

At a Security Council assembly, Guterres referred to as for a humanitarian ceasefire on Tuesday amid the deepening disaster in Gaza, and instructed the Security Council that “clear violations of international humanitarian law” are being witnessed.

He referred to as Hamas’ October 7 homicide and kidnap rampage “appalling,” and stated “nothing can justify the deliberate killing, injuring and kidnapping of civilians, or the launching of rockets against civilian targets.”

“It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum,” Guterres stated. “The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation. They have seen their land steadily devoured by settlements and plagued by violence; their economy stifled; their people displaced and their homes demolished.”

“But the grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas. And those appalling attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people. Excellencies, even war has rules,” he added.

Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto/AP

Palestinian kids obtain meals from a United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) centre in Gaza on Tuesday.

His feedback angered Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, who was in the chamber as Guterres spoke. “In what world do you live?” stated Cohen. “Definitely, this is not our world.”

Writing on social media later, Cohen stated that “after the October 7th massacre, there is no place for a balanced approach. Hamas must be erased off the face of the planet!”

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, referred to as on Guterres to resign, saying he had “expressed an understanding for terrorism and murder.”

Then, on Wednesday, Erdan stated his nation will block visas for United Nations officers. It had already rejected an software by the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths, Erdan instructed the Israeli Army Radio channel.

“It’s time we teach them a lesson,” added Erdan.

The deepening spat exposes tensions across the calls from some worldwide observers for a ceasefire, amid a worsening humanitarian disaster in Gaza.

In an effort to “set the record straight,” Guterres stated Wednesday he was “shocked by misinterpretations by some of my statement yesterday in the Security Council – as if I was was justifying acts of terror by Hamas.”

“This is false. It was the opposite,” he instructed reporters, restating his condemnation of the October 7 attacks.

But Guterres did not again away from his Tuesday name for a ceasefire, or from his nod in the direction of the historic remedy of Palestinians.

Erdan responded to Guterres’ feedback later Wednesday, doubling down on his earlier criticism of the Secretary General. Erdan referred to as it a “disgrace” that Guterres did not retract or apologize for his feedback.

“A Secretary-General who does not understand that the murder of innocents can never be understood by any ‘background’ cannot be Secretary-General,” Erdan wrote on X, previously Twitter.

The major United Nations company working in Gaza stated it might be pressured to halt its operations by Wednesday night on account of a lack of gas, with the territory having confronted days of airstrikes and near-total blockade following the Hamas attacks.

Efforts in the UN to endorse a ceasefire have to this point been scuppered, with the US vetoing a draft resolution raised by Brazil final week.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday instructed the company that “humanitarian pauses must be considered” to permit support to achieve civilians in Gaza, although he notably averted the phrase “ceasefire.” On Monday, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby rebutted requires a ceasefire, telling CNN that Hamas should first launch hostages held in Gaza.

Nearly three weeks for the reason that outbreak of preventing, the UN’s Security Council stays divided on methods to proceed with the disaster.

Two differing resolutions on the matter, launched by the US and Russia, each didn’t go on Wednesday.

The draft decision from the US referred to as for “humanitarian pauses,” not a ceasefire, to permit for support to achieve Gazan civilians. The US beforehand vetoed a Brazilian draft calling for a humanitarian pause.

But Russia and China vetoed the US decision – a transfer US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield described as “deeply” disappointing.

Following her feedback, China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun stated “what we oppose is that the draft text does not call on the parties concerned to stop the indiscriminate and asymmetrical use of force.”

The Russian decision proposed Wednesday additionally failed to achieve the Council’s approval.

The Israeli authorities has stated there are greater than 200 hostages being held in Gaza by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. In an replace posted Wednesday, it stated 135 of the hostages maintain international passports from 25 international locations. Thailand, with 54, had essentially the most nationals held of any nation, adopted by Argentina with 15 nationals, then Germany and the US with 12 every.

The World Health Organization in the meantime reiterated calls on Tuesday for a ceasefire, saying it’s “unable to distribute fuel and essential, life-saving health supplies to major hospitals in northern Gaza due to lack of security guarantees.” Six hospitals in Gaza have been pressured to close on account of a lack of gas, WHO added.

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