newsIsrael at War

Erdan accuses UN of caring about plight of Gaza when it can blame Israel

“How can you have the audacity to suddenly remember Gaza’s women and children after ignoring them for so many years?” the Israeli envoy asked at a Security Council session.

Gilad Erdan, Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, shows a photo Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’s chief in the Gaza Strip, holding a young child with an automatic weapon at a U.N. Security Council meeting on Nov. 22, 2023. Credit: Courtesy of Israeli Mission to the U.N.
Gilad Erdan, Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, shows a photo Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’s chief in the Gaza Strip, holding a young child with an automatic weapon at a U.N. Security Council meeting on Nov. 22, 2023. Credit: Courtesy of Israeli Mission to the U.N.

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations excoriated the world body and some of its agencies on Wednesday, claiming that they show interest in women and children in the Gaza Strip only when they can pin blame for their suffering on the Jewish state.

A session the U.N. Security Council held on the protection of women and children in the current war between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization that runs Gaza—called by the United Arab Emirates—was planned before the announcement on Wednesday of a hostage-release and prisoner-exchange deal between Israel and Hamas.

Heads of the U.N. Women and U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) agencies briefed the council, largely on the casualty toll and infliction of suffering in Gaza. The meeting addressed the kidnapping and reported sexual assaults of Israeli women and children only in passing.

Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, said that U.N. representatives mentioned Israeli victims as “mere footnotes.”

“We can have many more briefings, debates and emergency sessions, but if this council cannot suggest, united, a solution that also ensures the safety of Israelis, then it does not address the security of both Israelis and Gazans alike,” he stated. 

Erdan chastised them further for what he said has been sporadic interest in advocating for women and children living in Gaza. In the process, he was admonished by Zhang Jun, the Chinese ambassador to the United Nations, who said Erdan disrespected those presenting the briefing.

“Where was the U.N. for the past 16 years? Where was UNICEF’s outcry over Hamas’s indoctrination of children to become martyrs?” Erdan asked. “Where was your uproar of Hamas turning children’s hospitals and schools into weapons caches?”

“Where was U.N. Women’s outrage at Hamas treating women like property and using them as human shields? Why is it that only now you have decided to talk about the women and children of Gaza?” he added. “How can you have the audacity to suddenly remember Gaza’s women and children after ignoring them for so many years?” 

Erdan showed Catherine Russell, executive director of UNICEF, a photo of Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’s chief in the Gaza Strip, holding a young child armed with an automatic weapon. The Israeli envoy noted Hamas’s yearly summer military training camps for children, which teaches them to murder Jews and aspire to martyrdom.

“How many UNICEF reports have been written on this? None,” stated Erdan.

Erdan also had harsh criticism for Sima Bahous, the executive director of U.N. Women, who briefed the council on Wednesday with Russell.

U.N. Women has also failed to release a statement criticizing Hamas’s brutality against Israeli women and children on Oct. 7, Erdan said.

‘Israeli victims don’t matter’

None of Wednesday’s briefers brought up the topic of the torture and sexual violence that Hamas terrorists committed in the Oct. 7 attack. Erdan requested that Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, a longtime member of the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, be allowed to brief the council but China—which holds the council presidency— denied that request. The United States criticized China’s veto.

Zhang Jun
Zhang Jun, Chinese ambassador to the United Nations, presides as president of the U.N. Security Council on Nov. 20, 2023. Credit: Lev Radin/Shutterstock.

Erdan accused Bahous of ignoring two letters she had sent detailing the crimes, including witness testimony and “concrete visual evidence.” Erdan said U.N. Women also received links to interrogations of Hamas terrorists who said superiors instructed them to commit rape on Oct. 7.

Bahous only responded to Erdan recently, after coming under extreme pressure from Israel supporters for her lack of action, a spokesman for Erdan told JNS.

“What about their rights as women?” Erdan asked council members about the female victims of Oct. 7, who displayed obvious signs of sexual abuse. “Sadly, to our briefers, the horrors endured by these young women are not worthy of mentioning. After all, they’re Israeli—and as today’s briefing has made abundantly clear, Israeli victims don’t matter.”

The Israeli envoy lamented the Security Council’s failure to condemn Hamas explicitly and much of the international community’s equivocation of the Oct. 7 massacre. Hamas “wrote a script for the international community” by increasing the number of Gazan casualties as a result of the use of human shields and its terror infrastructure in residential areas, Erdan said.

“Hamas exploits Gazans, weaponizes casualties and seeks to co-opt the U.N. to tie our hands and prevent us from eliminating them so that they can continue murdering and slaughtering in the future,” he said. “This is their script. I just can’t understand why U.N. bodies are so willing to follow it.”

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