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Erdan: Israel doing ‘dirty work’ for Arab countries that might govern Gaza

“The UN played a big role in allowing Hamas to turn the Gaza strip into a war machine” against Israel and the civilized world, Israel’s U.N. envoy told JNS.

Israeli Ambassador Gilad Erdan at the U.N. General Assembly Hall in New York, Jan. 16, 2023. Photo by Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90.
Israeli Ambassador Gilad Erdan at the U.N. General Assembly Hall in New York, Jan. 16, 2023. Photo by Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90.

After Israel succeeds in its mission to eradicate the Hamas terror organization, it will negotiate with Arab countries about Gaza’s future, according to Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations.

“We are doing the dirty work for many of these Arab countries,” Gilad Erdan told JNS earlier this week.

The Israeli envoy to the international body said that conversations with Arab countries about governing a post-Hamas Gaza have not yet begun. 

JNS asked Erdan about one interim solution, which has been discussed as a possibility, with Saudi Arabia and Gulf states, which partner with the Jewish state in the 2020 Abraham Accords, managing the coastal enclave.

“I’m sure many of the Arab countries that you mentioned know that Hamas is their enemy, no less than it’s our enemy, because it’s like a subsidiary of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Erdan said. “They are the enemy of many, many moderate Muslim countries.”

A ‘No’ on the UN

Israel will not accept an international force under the auspices of the United Nations taking security control over Gaza, even on an interim basis.

A fierce critic of the global body and especially António Guterres, its secretary-general, Erdan lays the blame for the current crisis in Gaza at the feet of the United Nations.

“The U.N. played a big role in allowing Hamas to turn the Gaza Strip into a war machine, a terror machine against Israel and against the civilized world,” Erdan told JNS.

After Israel wins the war, Erdan thinks the Israeli government should hold “a serious assessment regarding our relations with the U.N.”

Netanyahu Guterres
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with António Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations in New York City on Sept. 20, 2023. Credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO.

“My recommendations will be to expel and not to issue visas to some of the U.N. officials, who are exploiting their position in order to spread lies, in order to enable Hamas to embed themselves within an under civilian population in Gaza and many other terrible things that Hamas have been doing for the last 16 years under the nose of U.N. agencies,” the senior diplomat said.

Erdan had previously denied a visa to Martin Griffiths, the U.N.’s humanitarian coordinator, after Guterres made incendiary comments about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict following Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre and Israel’s military response.

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs overruled Erdan at the request of several countries and permitted Griffiths to enter Gaza.

‘If we fail, the West is next’

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen told reporters this week that he believes Israel has just two or three weeks left before Western pressure to conclude its military operations in Gaza rises significantly. (He later clarified that he did not mean Israel would succumb to such pressures.)

Asked if he feels the same pressure in the U.N. halls, Erdan demurred.

“I cannot assess or predict how many weeks it will take for the international community to buy into Hamas’s lies or obey Hamas’s script, but obviously we all understand that is exactly Hamas’s goal,” Erdan said. “On the one hand, to terrorize and murder Israeli civilians and attack the Israeli homefront. And then, because they cannot defeat our military, to try to tie our hands by co-opting the international community to pressure Israel to stop.”

The Israeli envoy echoed messages emanating from the Israeli political and military echelons, that Jerusalem won’t stop until it eradicates Hamas and frees the hostages held in Gaza.

Israel is “grateful” to U.S. President Joe Biden and members of Congress for their support, including the backing of Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Erdan told JNS.

“We hope that it will continue because I think that President Biden expressed his deep, deep understanding that we are fighting sheer evil. So when you fight sheer evil, you cannot stop in the middle before you eradicate it, because Israel is the vanguard of civilization,” he said. “If we fail, the West is next.”

Erdan spoke with JNS after Tuesday’s historic “March for Israel” rally on Washington’s National Mall, which organizers said drew nearly 300,000 people in person and some 250,000 via livestream.

That turnout should help to dispel long-growing notions of a rift between Israel and U.S. Jewry, according to Erdan.

March for Israel
Nearly 300,000 people attended the “March for Israel” rally on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 14, 2023. Photo by Shay Shohat/Flash90.

“It was moving to feel the love and to see hundreds of thousands of Jews coming to express their love, support solidarity with the State of Israel from all across the United States,” he said.

“I think that we are united as a people to accomplish our goals now to eradicate Hamas, to return our hostages,” he added. “We should maybe come out stronger from this tragedy, and all of us should think now how to use this tragedy in order to make our future brighter.”

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