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Israel slams UN chief Guterres for calling Gaza War ‘collective punishment’ during Rafah visit

FM Katz: UN is ‘antisemitic and anti-Israeli body under Guterres’ leadership’

UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the Rafah border crossing, March 23, 2024 (Photo: António Guterres/X)

Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz sharply rebuked UN Sec.-Gen. António Guterres for calling Israel’s war against Hamas ‘collective punishment’ and strongly criticizing it during a visit to the Egyptian border with the Gaza Strip.

On Saturday, Guterres visited the Egyptian side of the town of Rafah, which straddles both sides of the border with the Gaza Strip, and met humanitarian workers at the border crossing.

“Here from this crossing, we see the heartbreak and heartlessness of it all. A long line of blocked relief trucks on one side of the gates, the long shadow of starvation on the other,” the UN chief said, according to Reuters. “That is more than tragic. It is a moral outrage.”

“Palestinians in Gaza — children, women, men — remain stuck in a non-stop nightmare,” he said. “I carry the voices of the vast majority of the world who have seen enough,” Guterres said.

He reiterated that “nothing justifies the horrific attacks by Hamas” against Israel, but added, “Nothing justifies the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”

“Under his leadership, the UN has become an antisemitic and anti-Israeli body that shelters and emboldens terror,” Katz wrote about the UN chief.

Katz slammed Guterres on 𝕏 for blaming Israel for the difficult humanitarian situation “without condemning in any way the Hamas-ISIS terrorists who plunder humanitarian aid, without condemning UNRWA that cooperates with terrorists – and without calling for the immediate, unconditional release of all Israeli hostages.”

Guterres came to the region as part of an annual “solidarity trip” to Muslim countries during Ramadan and will visit the Kingdom of Jordan after his meetings in Egypt.

The UN chief also said there was clear international consensus that any Israeli ground incursion into Rafah would cause another humanitarian catastrophe.

Guterres demanded Israel to give an “ironclad commitment” for unfettered access to humanitarian aid throughout Gaza, adding that the UN would continue to work with Egypt to “streamline” the flow of aid.

Egyptian regional governor, Mohamed Shusha, claimed that inspection procedures demanded by Israel had caused the hold-up of some 7,000 trucks that are currently waiting in North Sinai to deliver aid to Gaza.

Israel has repeatedly claimed that there was no upper limit to the entry of aid into Gaza and that the hold-up was caused by the failure of aid organizations to distribute the aid once it had passed into the Gaza Strip.

“This aid has all accumulated and is waiting for UNRWA and other UN aid orgs to distribute it. This is the equivalent of hundreds of aid trucks—which isn’t being distributed to Gazan civilians,” the IDF’s unit responsible for the Gaza Strip, COGAT, wrote on 𝕏.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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