Condemnations, 'balancing' Hamas sex crimes, Israel - UN crisis grows

Officials say UN Sec. Gen Antonio Guterres's animosity toward Israel permeates entire organization with anti-Israeli resolutions or condemnations made on a daily basis

The crisis between the Israeli government and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres reached new heights on Monday when Foreign Minister Israel Katz decided to recall Israel's UN envoy Gilad Erdan for consultations in Jerusalem. The move is considered rare and was last used by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2016, when he recalled the Ambassador to UNESCO after anti-Israel resolutions.
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Israeli officials said they sensed hostility from Guterres and felt the country did not receive equal rights in the international body. They said the anti-Israel sentiment came from the top and permeated all sections of the organization. There is not a day that some condemnation of Israel is not made, or an anti-Israel resolution not passed.
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מועצת הביטחון של האו"ם
מועצת הביטחון של האו"ם
Antonio Guterres
(Photo: Shannon Stapleton / Reuters)
The officials pointed to the interim report submitted on Monday by UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, dealing with the sexual crimes committed by Hamas during the October 7 atrocities, which they said included statements on "problematic behavior patterns of the Israeli security services, according to the Palestinian Authority. Those statements, they said, were an effort to balance the reporting of Hamas's sexual crimes.
Katz said on Tuesday that he decision to recall Erdan was to protest Guterres's attempts to belittle the report's findings although he had commissioned it, and his efforts to distance Hamas from responsibility for those crimes, by failing to assemble the Security Council to discuss the report and to label Hamas a terror organization.
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Pramila Patten
Pramila Patten
Pramila Patten
(Photo: UN)
The minister went even further and said that the Sec. Gen, "brought the UN to its lowest point by ignoring the heinous crimes against humanity perpetrated against Jews and Israelis while constantly maligning Israel and attacking its right to self-defense.
Despite the gravity of the crisis in relations, Israel is limited in what it can do. It does not have American backing for any aggressive response and the officials in Jerusalem believe that ultimately some compromise solution would be found, and that the UN will at some point hold a special session on the sexual crimes committed by Hamas, where the Patten report would be presented to members.
But there diminishing patients for Israel in the Biden administration as well and that might affect Washington's willingness to use its veto power to protect Israel in the UN, as it has done, providing essentially the only defense Israel has against the organizations resolutions.
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