July 15, 2024

UN Chief stands firm on condemnation of Israel’s Jenin raid despite Israeli opposition

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has refused to retract his condemnation of Israeli forces for their use of excessive force and harm inflicted upon civilians during the devastating raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. The call for retraction came from Israel’s United Nations ambassador, who criticized Guterres’ statement.

Responding to the request for retraction, UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq stated on Friday that Guterres stands by his initial condemnation, reiterating that the Secretary-General had conveyed his views on Israel’s operation in the Jenin refugee camp.

Guterres expressed his deep concern and anger over the Israeli air attacks on Jenin, which posed a significant danger to the civilian population. In his statement released on Thursday, Guterres highlighted the severe consequences of the assault, including over 100 civilians injured, the displacement of thousands of residents, damage to schools and hospitals, and disruptions to water and electricity networks. The UN Chief described the air strikes and ground operations in the densely populated refugee camp as the most severe violence witnessed in the West Bank in many years, particularly affecting innocent civilians.

Furthermore, Guterres criticized Israel for obstructing the injured from receiving medical care and preventing humanitarian workers from reaching those in need during the military raid. The assault resulted in the death of 12 Palestinians and left approximately 100 others wounded, while one Israeli soldier also lost their life.

Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan strongly denounced the UN Chief’s criticism, calling it “shameful, far-fetched, and completely detached from reality.” To address the situation, the UN Security Council held a closed-door meeting on Friday upon the request of the United Arab Emirates. During the meeting, UN Assistant Secretary-General Khaled Khiari briefed the council members on Israel’s Jenin operation.

In a letter sent prior to the council meeting, Ambassador Erdan urged the international community and the Security Council to condemn the recent Palestinian terror attacks and hold the Palestinian leadership accountable. He claimed that Israeli forces in Jenin were solely focused on addressing terrorism directed at innocent Israeli civilians.

In addition, three independent human rights experts released a statement on Wednesday, asserting that the Israeli air attacks and ground actions in Jenin could be considered serious violations of international law and standards on the use of force, potentially constituting a war crime.

Following the discussions, the Security Council did not take any immediate action on Friday regarding the situation in Jenin. The matter remains under scrutiny as tensions persist in the region.

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