Israel's top diplomat, Eli Cohen, has openly criticized United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for a perceived lack of impartiality. This criticism follows Guterres' invocation of Article 99 of the UN Charter, calling for a humanitarian ceasefire in the ongoing war on Gaza.
Cohen expressed strong disapproval, stating, “Guterres’ appeal to stand on the side of Hamas and request a ceasefire disgraces his position and constitutes a mark of Cain on the UN”. He likened the appeal to a biblical reference often interpreted as a symbol of shame.
Cohen further criticized the selective use of Article 99, highlighting that it was not employed for other significant conflicts such as the war in Ukraine or the civil war in Syria. According to Cohen, implementing a ceasefire at this juncture would only serve to prevent the collapse of Hamas, suggesting a biased stance from the UN.
Guterres' appeal to stand on the side of Hamas and request a ceasefire disgraces his position and constitutes a mark of Cain on the UN.
The invocation of Article 99, after it was not used for the war in Ukraine or for the civil war in Syria, is another example of Guterres'… — אלי כהן | Eli Cohen (@elicoh1) December 8, 2023
International Reactions and Consequences
The situation escalated when Guterres formally warned the UN Security Council of the global threat posed by Israel’s military actions in Gaza, which have resulted in over 17,400 Palestinian casualties.
China’s UN envoy, Zhang Jun, expressed profound disappointment following the US veto of a resolution demanding a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, emphasizing the urgent need for immediate action to alleviate civilian suffering.
The veto drew sharp criticism from various rights groups and aid agencies. Save the Children, along with seven other aid organizations, issued a joint statement condemning the Security Council's failure to pass the resolution.
“If implemented, this would have provided much-needed respite for civilians in Gaza who are under constant bombardment. This was a missed opportunity to stop the violence,” the statement read. Two months into the crisis and the complete siege of Gaza, the region has become, as described by these organizations, “the deadliest place for civilians in the world”.
The ongoing conflict and the recent developments at the UN level highlight the complexities and challenges in navigating the path to peace and stability in one of the world's most volatile regions.