The UN chief is at the center of diplomatic tensions with Israel, but all sides have criticized the global body’s struggles in the ongoing conflict.
Israel and the United Nations are locked in a bitter dispute after U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday night that the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks “did not occur in a vacuum.”
Guterres’ comments at a U.N. Security Council meeting sparked outrage in Israel, whose ambassador Gilad Erdan called on the U.N. chief to resign and accused Guterres of justifying terrorism. Israel has since said it will deny visas to UN officials.
While Guterres condemned Hamas’ attacks, he added: “The Palestinian people have been subjected to an oppressive occupation for 56 years.”
So what role did the United Nations play in the war that broke out on October 7th? Here is a snapshot:
- Tuesday’s Security Council meeting was not the first time Guterres called for a ceasefire in the region.
- On October 7, Guterres condemned Hamas’ attacks. He expressed concern for civilians and called for all diplomatic efforts to prevent an escalation of violence.
- He repeated this on October 9, calling to end “the vicious cycle of bloodshed, hatred and polarization.”
- He also called on both sides and other bodies involved in October 11 to avoid another conflagration. He also called for the release of Israeli hostages in Gaza.
- He reiterated his call for the release of the hostages and also demanded that Israel allow humanitarian access to the Gaza Strip on October 15, adding that these measures should not become bargaining chips.
- On October 18, Guterres called for an immediate ceasefire in the region following the bombing of al-Ahli hospital in Gaza and condemned the collective punishment of Palestinians. On October 20, the UN chief visited the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.
- The fourth session of the UN Security Council took place on Tuesday, with 15 ambassadors from various countries meeting to discuss the violence that escalated from October 7th.
- Two resolutions proposed in these four sessions failed: the first was proposed by Russia, which did not receive enough votes, while the United States vetoed the second resolution, drafted by Brazil.
- Thousands of Gazans have fled their homes and sought refuge in 64 schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
- Because of their affiliation with the UN, these schools were considered safe havens.
- However, schools are no longer safe. According to UNRWA, at least several schools in Gaza were damaged by Israeli bombings.
- The United Nations World Health Organization was involved in transporting medical supplies across the Rafah border into the besieged Gaza Strip.
- But aid reaching Gaza is not enough for residents, experts say, and there are delays since Israel inspected it.
- The aid does not include fuel and the fuel shortage is particularly alarming as it threatens the operations of hospitals and UNRWA in Gaza.
- Guterres called the aid “a drop of help in a sea of need.”
- Guterres has repeatedly pointed out that international humanitarian law has been violated in the war between Israel and the Palestinian armed group Hamas.
- These statements have been confirmed by several world leaders.
- China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that while every country has the right to self-defense, it must abide by international law and protect civilians.
- Chilean President Gabriel Boric reiterated this and condemned the Hamas attack.
- In a statement, Venezuela said the conflict was due to the Palestinian people’s inability to find a place in international law and called on the United Nations to live up to its role as a guarantor of international peace.
- The United Nations has not yet developed a comprehensive path to enforcing international humanitarian law and has a poor track record.
- There is also a story in which the US used its veto power to block UN resolutions critical of Israel.
Source : www.aljazeera.com