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Oct. 7 ‘cannot justify collective punishment of Palestinian people,’ says Guterres

The U.N. secretary-general called for a long-term ceasefire.

António Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, opens the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Sept. 19, 2023. Credit: UNGA/screenshot.
António Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, opens the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Sept. 19, 2023. Credit: UNGA/screenshot.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres labeled the past two months as “one of the darkest chapters” in the history of the Palestinians.

While voicing his opposition to the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks perpetrated throughout southern Israel by Hamas, he insisted that it “cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”

In his statement on Tuesday, Guterres advocated for “a long-term humanitarian ceasefire, unrestricted access for lifesaving aid, the release of all hostages, the protection of civilians and an end to violations of international humanitarian law.”

He said last month that “it is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum” and that “the Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen responded at the time, “Mr. Secretary-General, in what world do you live?” and canceled a meeting with him.

“I will not meet the U.N. secretary-general. After Oct. 7, there is no place for a balanced approach,” said Cohen. “Hamas must be erased from the world.”

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