* Guterres emphasised “clear violations of international humanitarian law” taking place in Gaza
Step down, Israel envoy tells Guterres, for ‘showing sympathy towards terrorism and murder’
* Türkiye deeply saddened by helplessness UN has fallen into, as Erdogan cancels plan to visit Israel
After UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza on Tuesday (24 October), citing violations of international law, Israel expressed frustration at the appeal during a high-level meeting of the Security Council.
The crisis, which has led to Israel launching attacks on the Palestinian territory in response to Hamas attacks, has deeply divided the Security Council as the Palestinian foreign minister criticised the lack of action in the ongoing conflict.
Expressing his deep concern in his opening statement, Guterres emphasised the “clear violations of international humanitarian law” taking place in Gaza. He made it unequivocally clear that no party involved in an armed conflict can disregard international humanitarian law, although he did not explicitly mention Israel.
According to Guterres, the Hamas attacks “did not happen in a vacuum”, as the Palestinians have endured 56 years of “suffocating occupation”.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen was infuriated by his remarks. He pointed his finger at Guterres and raised his voice as he recounted graphic accounts of civilians, including young children, who were killed in the deadliest single attack in Israeli history.
Cohen questioned the Secretary-General, asking, “What world do you live in?” He dismissed the idea of linking the violence to the occupation, emphasizing that Israel fully relinquished control of Gaza in 2005, giving it back to the Palestinians without retaining any territory.
Israel imposed a blockade on the impoverished territory shortly after Hamas took power, which has been in place ever since. Additionally, Israel continues to occupy the West Bank.
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, publicly urged UN Secretary-General António Guterres to step down, stating on the social media platform X that Guterres has shown sympathy towards terrorism and murder.
Guterres traveled to the Egypt-Gaza crossing to facilitate the entry of aid. He expressed satisfaction with the arrival of three aid convoys through the Rafah crossing.
“To ease epic suffering, make the delivery of aid easier and safer, and facilitate the release of hostages, I reiterate my appeal for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire,” he said.
Israel, with support from the United States, has refused to stop the offensive, arguing that doing so would give Hamas the opportunity to regroup.
Speaking on Wednesday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Türkiye is deeply saddened by the helplessness that the UN has shown by turning a blind eye to the brutal killing of children in the Israel-Palestine conflict.
“No one takes a structure that disregards the brutal killing of children seriously. We are deeply saddened by this image of helplessness that the UN has fallen into,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at the Justice and Development (AK) Party’s parliamentary group meeting in Ankara.
Türkiye’s objections to the unfair structure of the UN Security Council were again confirmed by recent news, he added, referring to how a Mideast cease-fire resolution was vetoed by one of the council’s five permanent members, a structure Türkiye has long cried foul over.
Erdogan reiterated his quotable slogan for UN reform, “The world is bigger than five,” referring to the unrepresentative nature of the UN Security Council’s five permanent, veto-wielding members.
He added that the silence over the massacre in Gaza of those who stood up for the world in the Russian war on Ukraine is the “most concrete expression of hypocrisy”
President Erdogan has called off a planned visit to Israel over its “inhumane” war in Gaza, saying relations between the two states would not improve.
“We had a project to go to Israel, but it was cancelled; we will not go,” he told governing party lawmakers in parliament on Wednesday as he lambasted Israel’s bombing campaign in Gaza and defended Hamas.
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