Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations said that Israel will refuse to grant visas to UN officials, as the dispute between Israel and the international body worsens.
Gilad Erdan made the statement on Wednesday, according to Israeli media, as the repercussions of the UN Secretary-General’s speech at the Security Council the previous day continued.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres indirectly criticized Israel for issuing orders to evacuate civilians from the north to the south of the Gaza Strip. He also said that Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7 did not happen “in a vacuum” because the Palestinians “are subjected to 56 years of stifling occupation.”
Many countries welcomed Guterres’ “very balanced approach,” Al Jazeera’s Gabriel Elizondo reported from New York. But Israel was “angry” and its officials called on the UN Secretary-General to resign.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, who attended the discussion, “was so upset that he canceled a meeting with the Secretary-General that was supposed to take place on Tuesday afternoon,” Elizondo said.
“It is really unusual to see this kind of reaction against the Secretary-General,” Elizondo added.
“Because of him [Guterres’s] “If we make our statements, we will refuse to issue visas to UN representatives,” Erdan told Army Radio. “We have already denied Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths a visa. It is time to teach them a lesson.”
Erdan said on X, previously Twitter, that the Secretary-General of the United Nations “expressed his understanding of terrorism and murder” with this speech.
Later, Guterres published an excerpt of his speech on Channel X in an apparent attempt to show that he criticized both Hamas and Israel over the crisis in Gaza.
The grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the horrific attacks launched by Hamas.
These horrific attacks cannot justify collective punishment of the Palestinian people.
-Antonio Guterres (@antonioguterres) October 25, 2023
“The injustices of the Palestinian people cannot justify the horrific attacks launched by Hamas. These horrific attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people,” he wrote.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemned Israel’s call for the UN Secretary-General to resign, describing it as an “unjustified attack.”
In a post on the website
Hamas fighters stormed Israel on October 7 and attacked largely civilian targets, including families and a music festival, killing at least 1,400 people and taking more than 220 captive, according to Israeli officials.
The Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip said that about 5,800 Palestinians, most of whom were also civilians, were killed across the Gaza Strip in Israeli retaliatory bombing.
Guterres, who traveled last week to the Rafah crossing in an attempt to deliver aid across the border between Egypt and Gaza, also welcomed in his speech the entry of three aid convoys so far.
But the UN Secretary-General said it was just “a drop of aid in an ocean of need,” as the United Nations Relief Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) warned that it would be forced to stop work on Wednesday due to fuel shortages.
“To alleviate the epic suffering, make aid delivery easier and safer, and facilitate the release of hostages. I reiterate my call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire,” Guterres said.
Deadlock in the Security Council
Israel, with the support of the United States, rejected calls to stop the attack, saying that would only allow Hamas to reorganize its ranks.
The United States used its veto last week against a draft resolution on the crisis, saying that it does not sufficiently support Israel’s right to respond to Hamas.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken asked the Security Council to support the new US-led resolution that “includes substantive responses.”
The draft, seen by Agence France-Presse, would defend the “inherent right of all states” to self-defense while calling for compliance with international law. It will support “humanitarian pauses” to allow aid in, but not a complete ceasefire.
“No member of this council — any country in this entire body — can tolerate or condone the slaughter of its own people,” Blinken said.
Veto-wielding Russia – accustomed to being on the receiving end of its invasion of Ukraine in the Security Council – quickly announced that it would oppose the American project.
Egypt, a regional ally of the United States, also criticized the document.
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said: “We are surprised by the new attempts to issue a resolution that does not include any call for a ceasefire to prevent further deterioration of the situation, which could lead the region to a dangerous turning point.”
Riyad al-Maliki, foreign minister of the Palestinian Authority, a rival to Hamas, called the Security Council’s failure to act “unjustified,” as did Jordan, another partner of the United States.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said: “The Security Council must take a clear position to reassure two billion Arabs and Muslims that international law will be applied.”
Jordan and Russia are among the countries that requested a meeting on Thursday of the United Nations General Assembly, whose resolutions are considered non-binding, due to the deadlock in the Security Council.
“Infuriatingly humble analyst. Bacon maven. Proud food specialist. Certified reader. Avid writer. Zombie advocate. Incurable problem solver.”