The Secretary-General of the United Nations responded to an accusation that he supported terrorist attacks by Hamas, calling the claim “false.”
During the Council’s Tuesday debate on the escalating situation in Israel and Palestine, the United Nations leader stated that while the attacks by Hamas on October 7 were unjustifiable and heinous, it was crucial to acknowledge that they were not isolated incidents and did not warrant the collective punishment of Palestinian people.
After hearing Secretary-General António Guterres’ speech on Tuesday, Israeli ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan posted on Twitter that it seemed like Mr. Guterres was trying to defend Hamas’s violent attack, which resulted in the deaths of about 1,400 people, mostly innocent civilians.
He insisted that the head of the United Nations step down, and subsequently announced that Israel will deny visas to UN personnel.
Eli Cohen, Israel’s foreign minister, has accused Mr. Guterres of justifying terrorism and has cancelled their scheduled bilateral meeting with the UN chief on Tuesday.
On Tuesday afternoon, the leader of the United Nations met with select families of individuals who were abducted by Hamas militants. He reiterated his demand for the prompt and unconditional release of all individuals being detained in Gaza in violation of international law.
Shocked at misrepresentation
During a statement to reporters outside the Security Council on Wednesday morning, Mr. Guterres expressed his surprise at the misinterpretation of his words by some individuals.
He acknowledged his previous mention of the Palestinian grievances, but emphasized that he had also stated in the Council that Hamas’ actions could not be justified by these grievances.
The United Nations leader stated that it was important to clarify the situation, particularly in consideration of the victims and their loved ones, without specifically mentioning Israeli diplomats.
The source for this information is the United Nations news website.