Hamas’ ‘brutality’ and ‘sexual violence’ on October 7 does not justify the continued assault on the Gaza region by the Israeli military, the United Nations’ top administrator says.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres addressed the international organization’s security council on Friday, continuing his demands for an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza region.
‘We are all aware that Israel began its military operation in response to the brutal terror attacks unleashed by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups on 7 October,’ Guterres told the security council. ‘I unreservedly condemn those attacks. I am appalled by the reports of sexual violence.’
He continued, ‘There is no possible justification for deliberately killing some 1,200 people, including 33 children, injuring thousands more, and taking hundreds of hostages.’
However, Gueterres went on to say that the carnage and sexual violence did not justify the continued assault on Gaza’s infrastructure and civilian areas.
‘At the same time, the brutality perpetrated by Hamas can never justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people,’ the secretary-general said.
He continued, ‘And while indiscriminate rocket fire by Hamas into Israel, and the use of civilians as human shields, are in contravention of the laws of war, such conduct does not absolve Israel of its own violations.’
The secretary-general already invoked a rarely used power of his office earlier this week to publish a letter to the members of the council expressing severe concern about the violence continuing to unfold in the Gaza Strip and increased inability to address the casualties.
‘I am writing under Article 99 of the United Nations Charter to bring to the attention of the Security Council a matter which, in my opinion, may aggravate existing threats to the maintenance of international peace and security,’ Guterres said in the letter.
Guterres warns that humanitarian systems attempting to aid civilians affected by the Israel-Hamas conflict are at their breaking point due to under-supplying and dangerous cross-fire.
The Israeli Defense Forces are bearing down on Hamas’ last major holdout in Gaza after finishing off the terrorist organization in the north.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that Israel will be taking security control of Gaza long after the war, potentially angering President Biden’s administration.