Israel demands the resignation of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres after the official said that Hamas attacks „did not occur in a vacuum”.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appeared to suggest on Tuesday, October 24, that the reason for the Hamas terror group’s devastating October 7 attack on Israel was due to the Jewish state’s continued control of Palestinian territories, reports The Times of Israel.
„It is important to also recognise the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum,” Guterres said at the UN Security Council meeting on the Israel-Hamas war, adding that „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,” Guterres added.
Guterres added that „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,” referring to Israel’s ongoing campaign of airstrikes in the Gaza Strip that Hamas officials say has killed thousands.
He failed to mention, however, that Israel declared war after the terror group’s barbaric raid in the Israeli border communities left more than 1,400 people killed, the vast majority of them civilians. Some victims were mutilated, raped, and tortured. Dozens of babies were killed. The terrorists took more than 200 hostages, including the elderly and children.
Guterres’ remarks sparked outrage among Israeli officials, and the Israeli UN envoy Gilad Erdan called the remarks „shocking” and „completely disconnected from the reality in our region” and demanded that the secretary general resign. Foreign Minister Eli Cohen cancelled a meeting with Guterres, and Minister Benny Gantz labelled the UN chief a „terror apologist.”
The @UN Secretary-General, who shows understanding for the campaign of mass murder of children, women, and the elderly, is not fit to lead the UN.
I call on him to resign immediately.
There is no justification or point in talking to those who show compassion for the most…
— Ambassador Gilad Erdan גלעד ארדן (@giladerdan1) October 24, 2023
„The UN Secretary-General, who shows understanding for the campaign of mass murder of children, women, and the elderly, is not fit to lead the UN. I call on him to resign immediately,” Ambassador Erdan posted on X. „There is no justification or point 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.”
Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, who had travelled to New York to take part in the meetings on the war, posted to X that he was cancelling a planned meeting with Guterres. After what happened on October 7, he wrote, „There is no place for an even-handed approach. Hamas needs to be wiped off the face of the earth.”
Benny Gantz, who recently joined the government as a member of the narrow war cabinet overseeing the war effort, wrote on X: „Absolutely nothing can justify the slaughter of innocent civilians,” he wrote. „Now is the time to stand on the right side of history or be judged by it. Terror apologists cannot speak on behalf of the world.”
The Security Council session brought together top diplomats, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has previously rejected calls for a ceasefire, saying it would only allow Hamas to regroup.
Guterres explained that he was „deeply concerned about the clear violations of international humanitarian law that we are witnessing in Gaza, „adding that „the relentless bombardment of Gaza by Israeli forces, the level of civilian casualties, and the wholesale destruction of neighbourhoods continue to mount and are deeply alarming.”
Addressing the forum, Eli Cohen warned that if the UN does not back the drive to eradicate Hamas, it will face its „darkest hour” on Guterres’s watch.