Israel canceled visas to UN officials Wednesday after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres blamed Israel for Hamas’ attack on the Jewish state earlier this month.
During a UN Security Council meeting on Tuesday, Guterres said, “It is important also to recognize 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,” Guterres said.
“The grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas,” he continued. “And those appalling attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”
Per the Times of Israel, Guterres’ comments were met with backlash from multiple officials.
“Due to his remarks, we will refuse to issue visas to UN representatives,” said Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, who has since called for Guterres’ resignation.
“We have already refused a visa for Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths,” he added. “The time has come to teach them a lesson.”
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen canceled a meeting with Guterres, and Minister Benny Gantz dismissed the UN chief as a “terror apologist.”
In a tweet on Wednesday, The Foreign Ministry stated that Guterres’ comments “provoke anger and astonishment and tarnish both him and the organization he heads,” reflecting “a biased and distorted attitude towards Israel on the part of the UN and especially on the part of the Secretary-General himself.”
“The UN Secretary-General must retract his words, engage in deep personal soul-searching, and apologize for his statement, which distressed millions of Israelis who are still experiencing the consequences of the murderous terrorist attack of October 7,” the ministry added.
On October 7, Hamas terrorists carried out a deadly assault on Israel, killing at least 1,400 people and wounding hundreds. The group also took at least 224 people hostage and took them into the Gaza Strip.
In response to Hamas, Israel has launched airstrikes into Northern Gaza and is expected to carry out a ground incursion.
Photo Courtesy: ©Getty Images/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / Stringer
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.