(CTN News) – Israel and the United Nations are at odds after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated on Tuesday night that the 7 October Hamas strikes “did not happen in a vacuum.”
Guterres’ remarks at a UN Security Council meeting enraged Israel, whose envoy, Gilad Erdan, demanded the UN chief to quit, accusing him of supporting terrorism.
Since then, Israel has stated that it will refuse visas to UN officials. While condemning the Hamas bombings, Guterres also stated that “the Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation.”
So, what role did the UN play in the October 7th war? Here’s an example:
- The Security Council meeting on Tuesday was not the first time Guterres called for a cease-fire in the region.
Guterres criticized the Hamas strikes on October 7. He voiced worry for civilians and asked for all diplomatic measures to be taken to prevent an escalation of conflict.
- On October 9, he reiterated his call to cease “the vicious cycle of bloodshed, hatred, and polarisation.”
He also advised all sides and any parties involved on October 11 to avoid further escalation. He also demanded the release of Israeli hostages held in Gaza.
- He renewed his call for the release of hostages and asked Israel to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza on October 15, emphasizing that these acts should not be used as bargaining chips.
- Following the bombing of Gaza’s al-Ahli hospital on October 18, Guterres urged for an urgent ceasefire in the region, criticizing the collective punishment of Palestinians. On October 20, the UN Secretary-General paid a visit to the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza.
- The United Nations Security Council held its fourth meeting on Tuesday, with 15 ambassadors from various countries gathering to examine the violence that began on October 7.
- Two resolutions offered during these four meetings failed: the first by Russia, which did not receive enough votes, and the second by Brazil, which was vetoed by the US.
- Thousands of Gaza residents have evacuated their houses and taken sanctuary in the 64 schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
- Because of their UN affiliation, these schools were seen as safe havens.
- Schools, on the other hand, are no longer secure. According to UNRWA, Israeli bombing has caused damage to at least five schools in Gaza.
- The World Health Organisation has helped bring medical supplies into the constrained Gaza Strip via the Rafah border crossing.
- However, analysts say the help entering Gaza is insufficient for the population and has been delayed because Israel is scrutinizing it.
- The aid does not include fuel, and the fuel scarcity is particularly concerning because it jeopardizes the operation of hospitals and UNRWA in Gaza.
- According to Guterres, the assistance is “a drop of aid in an ocean of need.”
International legal principles
- Guterres has often stated that international humanitarian law is being violated in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian armed group Hamas. Several world leaders have shared these sentiments.
- According to China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, while every country has the right to self-defense, they must also follow international law and safeguard civilians.
- Chilean President Gabriel Boric shared this sentiment in his condemnation of the Hamas attack.
- Venezuela stated in a statement that the war is the result of Palestinians being unable to find their place in international law and urged the UN to exercise its role as the guarantee of international peace.
- The United Nations has failed to create a comprehensive method of enforcing international humanitarian law and has a poor track record of success.
- There is also a history of the US using its veto power to stop UN resolutions critical of Israel.
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