UN chief Antonio Guterres decries ’misrepresentation’ of remarks on Hamas attack as Israel seeks his resignation

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Wednesday rejected Israel’s accusations that, in a statement to the Security Council, he had justified attacks by the Palestinian militant group Hamas on Israel

Livemint
First Published26 Oct 2023
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres(Photo: Reuters)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Wednesday rejected Israel’s accusations that, in a statement to the Security Council, he had justified attacks by the Palestinian militant group Hamas on Israel, ANI reported

"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" The Times of Israel reported quoting the US chief.

Guterres on Tuesday, without naming Israel, had denounced "the clear violations of international humanitarian law” in Gaza and pleaded for civilians to be protected in the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

The UN chief told the 15-member Security Council that "It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum. The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation."

Guterres said it was "necessary to set the record straight, especially out of respect for the victims and their families."

"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," the UN chief said. 

Earlier, Gilad Erdan, Israel's ambassador to the UN, said that his country will deny visas to the UN officials after remarks by UN Chief Guterres that appeared to justify Hamas' assault on Israel, reported The Times of Israel.

"Due to his remarks we will refuse to issue visas to UN representatives," Erdan tells Army Radio and called on Guterres to resign "immediately."

"The shocking speech by the UN secretary-general at the Security Council meeting ... proved conclusively, beyond any doubt, that the secretary-general is completely disconnected from the reality in our region and that he views the massacre committed by Nazi Hamas terrorists in a distorted and immoral manner," Erdan said.

"His statement that 'the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum,' expressed an understanding for terrorism and murder. It's really unfathomable. It's truly sad that the head of an organisation that arose after the Holocaust holds such horrible views," the ambassador said.

Israeli foreign minister Eli Cohen also rebutted the UN Chief Guterres as he addressed the Security Council. "Mr. Secretary-General, in what world do you live?” "Definitely, this is not our world."

Cohen also cancelled a private meeting with Guterres. "I will not meet the UN secretary-general. After October 7, there is no place for a balanced approach. Hamas must be erased from the world," Cohen wrote on X.

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