ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 148

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‘I said Palestinian grievances can’t justify Hamas assault’: UN chief hits back at Israel

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan, left, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, center, and Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan browse the Yad Vashem Book of Names of Holocaust Victims Exhibit at United Nations headquarters, January 26, 2023. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan, left, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, center, and Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan browse the Yad Vashem Book of Names of Holocaust Victims Exhibit at United Nations headquarters, January 26, 2023. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

UN Secretary-General hits back at Israeli allegations that he justified Hamas’s terror onslaught when he told the Security Council that the October 7 assault “did not happen in a vacuum.”

“I am shocked by the misinterpretations by some of my statement yesterday in the Security Council – as if I was justifying acts of terror by Hamas. This is false. It was the opposite,” Guterres says in a statement.

“In the beginning of my intervention yesterday, I clearly stated – and I quote: ‘I have condemned unequivocally the horrifying and unprecedented 7 October acts of terror by Hamas in Israel. Nothing can justify the deliberate killing, injuring and kidnapping of civilians – or the launching of rockets against civilian targets.’”

“Indeed, I spoke of the grievances of the Palestinian people and in doing so, I also clearly stated, and I quote: ‘But the grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas.’”

“And then I went on with my intervention referring to all my positions on all aspects of the Middle East crisis.”

“I believe it was necessary to set the record straight – especially out of respect to the victims and to their families,” he concludes.

In Guterres’s speech yesterday, he said, “It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum. The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation. They have seen their land steadily devoured by settlements and plagued by violence; their economy stifled; their people displaced and their homes demolished. Their hopes for a political solution to their plight have been vanishing. But the grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas. And those appalling attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”

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