The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres as well as other UN experts and officials strongly criticized Israel this Thursday for its latest airstrike in Palestine city of Jenin, which left 12 Palestinian civilians dead.
The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres addressed Israel’s last week attack to Palestine this Thursday and strongly condemned Tel Aviv both for excessive use of force in Jenin and for the violence in the West Bank city against Palestinians. During a press briefing at UN Headquarters in New York City, Guterres said that he had been “deeply disturbed” by news of the Jenin operation and “strongly condemns all acts of violence against civilians.”
“Israeli airstrikes and ground operations in a crowded refugee camp were the worst violence in the West Bank in many years, with a significant impact on civilians,” Guterres said, blaming Israel for disruptions to water and electricity services, and blocking people from accessing medical care.
Guterres also urged Israel to comply by the rule of international law in dealing with Palestinians and said: “The use of airstrikes is inconsistent with the conduct of law enforcement operations. So, I once again call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law, including the duty to exercise restraint and use only proportional force”.
Also on Wednesday, the UN special rapporteur for the Palestinians, Francesca Albanese, accused Israel of committing possible war crimes during the Jenin operation. Albanese’s Thursday statement, issued with two other UN rapporteurs, said there was no legal justification for the Jenin operation.
Categorically denying any wrongdoing by Israel in attacking Palestinians in Jenin, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, blasted Guterres’s statements as “shameful, farfetched, and completely detached” from reality.
“Time after time the UN Secretary-General disregards brutal Palestinian terror and neglects to condemn the cold-blooded murder of innocent civilians,” Erdan said in an interview with the Times of Israel. “Yet when discussing defensive IDF actions aimed solely at dismantling terror infrastructure, the Secretary-General is quick to issue extensive condemnations of Israel, completely detached from the truth,” he added.
What was the reality in Jenin?
Between 3 and 4 July, Israeli forces killed at least 12 Palestinians, including five children, and injured more than 100 Palestinians, in one of Israel’s biggest military operations in the occupied West Bank in years. The attacks also left hundreds of houses destroyed and thousands of families displaced. Good to mention that nearly 4,000 Palestinians reportedly fled the Jenin Refugee Camp overnight on Monday and Tuesday after the deadly air strikes.
Therefore, despite what Israel’s to the UN said about Guterres’ remarks that they were completely detached from reality, facts on the ground in Jenin clearly shows that Israel’s attacks were even beyond the Secretary-General’s descriptions.
“The attacks were the fiercest in the West Bank since the destruction of the Jenin camp in 2002,” a UN expert said, adding that “the impunity that Israel has enjoyed for its acts of violence over decades, only fuel and intensify the recurring cycle of violence”.
He also pointed to multiple reports about ambulances being prevented from accessing Jenin Refugee Camp to evacuate the wounded, hampering their access to medical assistance. “For this relentless violence to end, Israel’s illegal occupation must end. It cannot be corrected or improved in the margins, because it is wrong to the core,” he said. Since the beginning of this year, Israel attacks in the West Bank have killed 148 Palestinians.