Fri. Mar 1st, 2024
alert-–-un-chief-says-he-is-‘shocked-by-misrepresentations-of-my-statement’-after-he-declared-‘attacks-by-hamas-did-not-happen-in-a-vacuum’,-sparking-fury-in-israelAlert – UN chief says he is ‘shocked by misrepresentations of my statement’ after he declared ‘attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum’, sparking fury in Israel

The UN’s top official says he is ‘shocked by misrepresentations’ of his remarks about the Israel-Gaza war, after Israeli officials lashed out at him for saying that the Hamas attacks ‘did not happen in a vacuum’.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters on Wednesday, without naming Israel: ‘I am shocked by misrepresentations by some of my statement yesterday in the Security Council – as if I was justifying acts of terror by Hamas.’

It came after a meeting of the UN’s Security Council, when Guterres, 74, said: ‘It is important to also recognise the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum. 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. Their hopes for a political solution to their plight have been vanishing.’

The statement infuriated several top Israeli officials, including the country’s foreign minister and its envoy to the UN. 

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen cancelled a meeting with Guterres and angrily pointed his finger at him during the Tuesday session, reading graphic accounts of civilians killed in the October 7 assault by Hamas. 

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was ‘shocked’ by the misrepresentation of his comments

Israel accused the UN of expressing ‘an understanding for terrorism and murder’

Tensions between the UN and Israel have been rising since Hamas terrorists attacked on October 7

Meanwhile, Israel’s outspoken ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, called on Guterres to resign, writing on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the UN chief has ‘expressed an understanding for terrorism and murder.’

In response, Guterres said on Wednesday it was ‘necessary to set the record straight, especially out of respect for the victims and their families.’

‘I spoke of the grievances of the Palestinian people. And in doing so, I also clearly stated, and I quote: “But the grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas.”‘

This did not appear to abate Israel, which stopped issuing visas to UN officials on Wednesday. 

Erdan told Israeli media: ‘Due to his remarks we will refuse to issue visas to UN representatives. 

‘We have already refused a visa for Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths. The time has come to teach them a lesson.’

Israel has since refused visas for UN officials, including Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths

The IDF has also lashed out at the UN, mocking pleas to allow humanitarian aid to go to Gaza

Guterres said on Tuesday: ‘The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation’

Israel has butted heads with the UN several times since it was drawn into its bloodiest conflict in decades. 

Its military mocked the UN’s humanitarian aid agency for Palestinian refugees in a post to X. 

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said last night: ‘If we do not get fuel urgently, we will be forced to halt our operations in the Gaza Strip.’

In response, Israel’s military mocked the humanitarian agency, sharing a purported picture of fuel tanks inside the Gaza Strip in a post on X, formerly Twitter, and adding: ‘They contain more tan 500,000 litres of fuel. Ask Hamas if you can have some.’

It was also reported that Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu refused to speak to Antonio Guterres twice after the October 7 attacks.

Erdan said that the secretary-general had asked to speak to Netanyahu but that the Prime Minister ‘refused to accept his call’.

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