Israel is steaming mad at the United Nations over its chief suggesting that Israel had done something to deserve being hit with a terror attack.
Speaking before the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, U.N. secretary-general António Guterres condemned Hamas’ Oct. 7th terror attack and admitted “nothing can justify” it, but then turned around and suggested Israel had reaped what it’d sowed.
“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,” he said.
“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,” he added.
“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,” he concluded.
To say his words sparked anger would be an understatement. The Israelis were, in fact, absolutely apoplectic.
In statements posted to X, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, slammed Guterres for viewing the terror attack “in a distorted and immoral matter.” He also called for the U.N. chief to resign.
“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,” he wrote.
“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,” he added.
The shocking speech by the @UN Secretary-General at the Security Council meeting, while rockets are being fired at all of Israel, proved conclusively, beyond any doubt, that the Secretary-General is completely disconnected from the reality in our region and that he views the… — 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. 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 following day, Wednesday, Guterres only made things worse by accusing the Israelis of having misinterpreted his words.
“I am shocked by the misinterpretations by some of my statements yesterday in the Security Council – as if I was justifying acts of terror by Hamas. This is false. It was the opposite,” he said.
“In the beginning of my intervention yesterday, I clearly stated – and I quote: ‘I have condemned unequivocally the horrifying and unprecedented 7 October acts of terror by Hamas in Israel. Nothing can justify the deliberate killing, injuring and kidnapping of civilians – or the launching of rockets against civilian targets,'” he added.
“Indeed, 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.’ And then I went on with my intervention referring to all my positions on all aspects of the Middle East crisis,” he continued.
“I believe it was necessary to set the record straight – especially out of respect to the victims and to their families,” Guterres concluded.
In response, Erdan once again lashed out, this time by halting the issuance of visas to U.N. representatives.
“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,” he said in an interview, according to The Times of Israel.
He also released another X statement calling the secretary-general a “disgrace” and accusing him of distorting and twisting reality.
“It is a disgrace to the @UN that the Secretary-General did not retract his words and is not even able to apologize for what he said yesterday❗️❗️” he wrote.
It is a disgrace to the @UN that the Secretary-General did not retract his words and is not even able to apologize for what he said yesterday❗️❗️ The Secretary-General, once again, distorts and twists reality. He clearly said yesterday that the massacre by Hamas ‘did not happen… — Ambassador Gilad Erdan גלעד ארדן (@giladerdan1) October 25, 2023
He’s by no means the only one in Israel angered over Guterres’ words.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen was “so upset” by Guterres’ words “that he cancelled a meeting with the secretary-general that was supposed to happen Tuesday,” according to Gabriel Elizondo of Al Jazeera.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s official spokesperson said on Wednesday that he disagrees with the secretary-general.
“Obviously we don’t agree with that characterization put forward. We are clear that there is and can be no justification for Hamas’s barbaric terrorist attack which was driven by hatred and ideology,” the spokesperson said.