Israel fumes as UN Secretary-General makes remark about war with Hamas – Israel and its representative to the United Nations have called on U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to resign after the latter made a statement that suggested that Israel was somehow to blame for Hamas’ initial assault on the Jewish state that left thousands of civilians dead.
At a recent U.N. Security Council meeting on the continuing hostilities in the Middle East, Guterres said that “It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum,” adding that the Palestinians “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.”
Gilad Erdan, who serves as Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., was livid over the remarks and said that there are “simply no words” to describe how insensitive Guterres’ comment was.
In a statement published online, Erdan said that the Secretary-General “shows understanding for the campaign of mass murder of children, women, and the elderly,” and thus “is not fit to lead the UN,” adding that, “There is no justification or point in talking to those who show compassion for the most terrible atrocities committed against the citizens of Israel and the Jewish people.”
“I call on him to resign immediately,” Erdan said.
France proposes utilizing anti-Islamic state coalition to fight Hamas
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron has suggested that the U.S.-led international coalition that was formed to fight against the Islamic State could be used to fight Hamas’ forces.
“France is ready for the international coalition against Daesh in which we are taking part for operations in Iraq and Syria to also fight against Hamas,” Macron said at a press conference during a visit to Jerusalem. Daesh is another name for the Islamic State.
The French president also said that the war with Hamas is “everybody’s battle” and should be waged “without mercy but not without rules”.
Macron also met with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah in the West Bank, where he said that Hamas’ attack was “not only traumatic for Israel, it was a disaster for the Palestinian people.” He also called on Palestinians to eschew the “mirages of the most radical terrorist groups.”
Hamas releases two more hostages
Following its release of two American hostages recently, Hamas let go of another two of its captives, 79-year-old Nurit Cooper, and 85-year-old Yocheved Lifshitz. The jihadist group said that the release was due to “compelling humanitarian” reasons while continuing to hold more than 200 other hostages, including the husbands of the two elderly women, Amiram, 85, and Oded, 83.
Yocheved Lifshitz told reporters that she “went through hell” on the day she was captured, suffering beatings from the Hamas attackers who took her captive. However, she said that she was treated well in captivity, and related that she even shook the hand of a Hamas militant before she left, telling him “shalom”, which means “peace” in Hebrew. The Lifshitz couple are human rights activists that are part of an organization that helps injured Palestinians.
Tim Ramos has written for various publications, corporations, and organizations – covering everything from finance, politics, travel, entertainment, and sports – in Asia and the U.S. for more than 10 years.