POLITICS

Israel accuses UN chief of justifying terrorism for saying Hamas attack ‘didn’t happen in a vacuum’

Oct 25, 2023, 5:57 AM | Updated: 6:14 am

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli officials were outraged Wednesday over U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ comment that the deadly Hamas attack on southern Israel “did not happen in a vacuum,” calling it justification for terrorism. Foreign Minister Eli Cohen canceled a scheduled meeting with Guterres while Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, said the U.N. chief “failed the test.”

“I will not meet with the UN secretary-general. After the October 7 massacre, there is no place for a balanced approach. Hamas must be erased off the face of the planet!” Cohen posted Tuesday on social platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

Israel’s envoy to the U.N. Gilad Erdan called for his resignation, saying Israel must rethink its relations with the world body.

“We will refuse to grant visas to U.N. representatives. We have already refused to give one to Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths,” Erdan told Army Radio, accusing Guterres of justifying a slaughter. “It’s time to teach them a lesson.”

Israel historically has had tense relations with the U.N., accusing it of being biased against it.

On Tuesday, Guterres addressed a special Security Council meeting on the Israel-Hamas war that was sparked by the militant group’s Oct.7 attack, which left at least 1,400 Israelis dead, and more than 220 taken hostage.

Israeli airstrikes have destroyed large swaths of the Gaza enclave, leaving at least 6,500 Palestinians killed, including over 2,700 children, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry. The U.N. chief told the council that he “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 said.

But his contextualization of the attack created an uproar in Israel. It was important, Guterres said, to acknowledge that “the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum.”

“The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation. 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 said.

On Wednesday, Guterres tried to walk back the comments, tweeting: “The grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the horrific attacks by Hamas. Those horrendous attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”

But Israel was not mollified.

“The slaughter of Jew by Hamas on October 7th was genocidal in its intents and immeasurably brutal in its form,” Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan said in a statement.

He said that it tests the sincerity of world leaders who came to Yad Vashem and pledged “Never Again.”

”Those who seek to ‘understand,’ look for a justifying context, do not condemn the perpetrators, and do not call for the unconditional and immediate release of the abducted – fail the test. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres failed the test.”

Politics

Associated Press

US judge dismisses Republican challenge over counting of post-Election Day mail ballots in Nevada

RENO, Nev. (AP) — A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit filed by national and state Republicans that sought to bar Nevada from counting mail ballots received after Election Day. A state law passed by Democrats in 2021 allows election officials to tally ballots received by 5 p.m. on the fourth day after Election […]

2 hours ago

Boson's mate second class Tyler Boon navigates a U.S. Coast Guard small response boat down the Milw...

Associated Press

Heavily armed security boats patrol winding Milwaukee River during GOP convention

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Instead of kayakers and tour boats, the summertime scene on the Milwaukee River has taken on a solemn tone this week during the Republican National Convention: Around-the-clock patrol boats, some with heavily armed officers. Security planners have had to contend with the winding waterways through Milwaukee near the Fiserv Center RNC convention […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

California first state to get federal funds for hydrogen energy hub to help replace fossil fuels

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California will be the first state to receive federal funds under a program to create regional networks, or “hubs,” that produce hydrogen as an energy source for vehicles, manufacturing and generating electricity, officials announced Wednesday. The U.S. Department of Energy said the California Hydrogen Hub will receive an initial $30 million […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Appeals court refuses to lift order blocking rule meant to expand protections for LGBTQ+ students

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A federal appeals court on Wednesday refused to lift a judge’s order temporarily blocking the Biden administration’s new Title IX rule meant to expand protections for LGBTQ+ students. The ruling from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals kept in place a preliminary injunction issued last month by a federal district […]

2 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is surrounded by U.S. Secret Servic...

Associated Press

Trump has given no official info about his medical care for days since an assassination attempt

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Four days after a gunman’s attempt to assassinate former President Donald Trump at a Pennsylvania rally, the public is still in the dark over the extent of his injuries, what treatment the Republican presidential nominee received in the hospital, and whether there may be any long-term effects on his health. Trump’s campaign […]

2 hours ago

Image: President Joe Biden and Maritza Rodriguez, the Biden for President Latina adviser, greets pa...

Associated Press

President Joe Biden tests positive for COVID-19 in Las Vegas; events canceled

President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 while traveling Wednesday in Las Vegas and is experiencing "mild symptoms."

4 hours ago

Israel accuses UN chief of justifying terrorism for saying Hamas attack ‘didn’t happen in a vacuum’