Israel, clash with Guterres after the words on Hamas: what happened at the UN

“The suffering of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas”, but also that those same attacks “cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people” said the Secretary General at the United Nations, deploring the “clear violations of international humanitarian law “that are taking place in the Strip. Israel’s reaction has been harsh and has called for his resignation

United Nations officials will be denied entry visas to Israel, said the Israeli ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, after the secretary general, Antonio Guterres, yesterday underlined the importance of “recognizing that terrorist attacks Hamas didn’t come from nowhere.” Guterres’ words were harshly contested by Israel, so much so that Erdan asked for his resignation. (THE LIVE)

Guterres at the UN: “Clear violations of international humanitarian law”

“It is important – said Guterres speaking at the Glass Palace – to recognize that Hamas’ attacks did not come out of nowhere. The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation”. Then he added that certainly, “the suffering of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks of Hamas”, but also that those same attacks “cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people”. Guterres then deplored the “clear violations of international humanitarian law” that are taking place in the Strip and insisted on the request for “a humanitarian ceasefire”, which Israel has repeatedly rejected.

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Gilad Erdan and Antonio Guterres
On the left Gilad Erdan, on the right Antonio Guterres – ©Ansa

Israel’s reaction

After his speech, the Foreign Minister, Eli Cohen, present in New York, refused to meet Guterres, while Ambassador Erdan called for his immediate resignation.

The first to react was the Israeli representative: “A UN secretary general who shows understanding for the campaign of mass extermination of children, women and the elderly is not suitable to lead the UN. I invite him to resign immediately”. “There is no sense – Erdan denounced – in talking to those who show compassion for the most terrible atrocities committed against the citizens of Israel and the Jewish people. There are simply no words”.

Cohen took things further on social media: “I will not meet the UN secretary general. After October 7 there is no room for an equidistant approach. Hamas must be erased from the world.” Netanyahu’s foreign minister also warned that “Europe will be next to be hit by Hamas” and that if it does not act “it will have terrorists at the door.”

“Given your words, we will deny issuing visas to UN representatives. Furthermore, we have already refused a visa to the undersecretary for humanitarian affairs, Martin Griffiths. The time has come to teach them a lesson”, Erdan added today while speaking on military radio.

PRODUCTION - 19 October 2023, Lebanon, Beirut: A soldier stands in the port of Beirut on the German Navy corvette "Oldenburg," which is a contribution to the UN mission Unifil. Defense Minister Pistorius has arrived in Lebanon for a visit to learn about the growing tensions in the Middle East. Photo: Fabian Sommer/dpa (Photo by Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images)

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The clash at the UN

The clash between the United Nations and Israel was in a certain sense expected given that the disagreements are evident, starting with humanitarian aid in Gaza. Israel has repeatedly expressed its fear that these will reach Hamas instead of the civilian population. And he was adamant about fuel supplies, which Guterres instead invoked as necessary for the assistance activities of UNRWA, the UN organization for Palestinian refugees. The UN chief then opposed air raids several times in both the north and south of the Strip, while Israel continued to pound Gaza, increasingly increasing the intensity of the attacks “against the military structures of Hamas and its leaders “.

The situation in Gaza

The toll in Gaza, where an exhausted population is trying to move further south, has reached 5,791 deaths, of which 2,360 minors and children. According to the local Ministry of Health, 12 hospitals and 32 clinics have already had to close their doors.

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