Israel’s government sharply criticized U.N. chief António Guterres on Monday, with a Prime Minister’s Office spokesman telling the press, “I don’t think any U.N. secretary-general in history has gone so far to secure the survival of a terrorist organization.”
Prime Minister’s Office spokesman Eylon Levy spoke in reference to Guterres’s Dec. 6 invocation of Article 99 of the U.N. Charter, which allows the secretary-general to bring to the Security Council’s attention issues he perceives as a threat to international security.
Guterres called for a “humanitarian ceasefire” in a letter to the council, saying conditions in Gaza were “fast deteriorating into a catastrophe with potentially irreversible implications for Palestinians as a whole.”
“The international community has a responsibility to use all its influence to prevent further escalation and end this crisis,” he said.
A ceasefire, Israel argues, would disrupt its war aim of eradicating Hamas from the Gaza Strip, leaving the terrorist group wounded but likely to recover and resume control of the enclave.
Thirteen of the 15 Security Council members voted in favor of the resolution. The U.S. vetoed it while Britain abstained.
“This war will end when it is safe for the children of [the communities of] Be’eri and Nir Oz to sleep in their beds again,” Levy said. “This war will end when the diplomats who voted to save Hamas’s skin at the United Nations would feel safe babysitting little [4-year-old rescued hostage] Abigail Edan in Kfar Aza. Let’s call it the ‘diplomat babysitter test’ for ending this war.”
On Dec. 8, Israel thanked the U.S. for vetoing the proposed U.N. resolution, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying, “I greatly appreciate the correct stance that the U.S. has taken in the U.N. Security Council.”
Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Gilad Erdan also expressed appreciation to the U.S. for “standing firmly by our side and showing its leadership and values.
“It is shocking that while Hamas is firing rockets at Israel from population centers in southern Gaza, the U.N. is busy debating a distorted resolution that will enable Hamas terrorists to stay in power and does not condemn them,” Erdan added. “A ceasefire will be possible only with the return of all the hostages and the destruction of Hamas.”
Hamas still holds 137 hostages in Gaza, including four from before the Oct. 7 massacre. The total number includes 117 males and 20 females of whom 126 are Israeli citizens and 11 foreign nationals. Ten of the hostages are over the age of 75 and two are children, who Hamas claims have died in captivity.
Twenty hostages taken on Oct. 7 have since been murdered by Hamas. Hamas continues to hold on to their bodies.