Israeli officials slammed the head of the United Nations after he said the attacks committed by Hamas did not occur "in a vacuum."
"It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum," U.N. secretary-general Antonio Guterres said Tuesday during a Security Council meeting on the war between Israel and Hamas.
Guterres proceeded to list grievances that he said led to the Oct. 7 terrorist attack, saying the Palestinians have had their land "devoured" by Israel.
"The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation. They have seen their land steadily devoured by settlements and plagued by violence; their economy stifled; their people displaced and their homes demolished. Their hopes for a political solution to their plight have been vanishing," Guterres said.
Israeli officials were outraged by the comments and slammed the U.N., the Times of Israel reported:
[Israel's] UN envoy Gilad Erdan called them "shocking," Foreign Minister Eli Cohen canceled a meeting with Guterres, and Minister Benny Gantz labeled the UN chief a "terror apologist."
Erdan said the remarks were "horrible," and "completely disconnected from the reality in our region."
"His comments… constitute a justification for terrorism and murder," Erdan said, charging that they expressed "understanding" for the massacres."It’s sad that a person with such views is the head of an organization that arose after the Holocaust," he said. "It’s really unfathomable."