Israel says it has refused a visa to UN humanitarian affairs chief Martin Griffiths as a result of comments at the UN by secretary-general António Guterres.
Israeli media reports that Israel’s ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said on army radio:
Due to his remarks we will refuse to issue visas to UN representatives. We have already refused a visa for under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs Martin Griffiths. The time has come to teach them a lesson.
Israel has called on UN secretary general Guterres to resign after he said that the“appalling attacks” by Hamas against Israel on 7 October cannot justify the “collective punishment of the Palestinian people”, and spoke of “the clear violations of international humanitarian law that we are witnessing in Gaza.”
Guterres had said “Nothing can justify the deliberate killing, injuring and kidnapping of civilians – or the launching of rockets against civilian targets. All hostages must be treated humanely and released immediately and without conditions.”
Addressing the UN, the secretary-general then went on to say the attack on Israel did not happen “in a vacuum” and followed “56 years of suffocating occupation” for the Palestinian people by Israel, adding “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.”
Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, said Guterres should resign, calling the speech “shocking”, saying that “he views the massacre committed by Nazi Hamas terrorists in a distorted and immoral manner”.