Secretary-General invokes rare diplomatic measure, Israel and UN relations reach historic low

Israel’s Relations with the United Nations Hits Historic Low

Israel’s Relations with the United Nations Hits Historic Low

Source: CNN


Israel’s relationship with the United Nations has reached an unprecedented low point following a recent escalation between the two parties. The use of a rarely employed diplomatic tool by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres sparked outrage among Israeli diplomats.

Article 99: A Powerful Tool

On Wednesday, Guterres made use of Article 99 of the UN charter, a powerful mechanism that allows the UN chief to draw attention to issues that may worsen existing threats to international peace and security. In a letter to the Security Council, Guterres urged for a full humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza to prevent a potential catastrophe.

Israel’s Opposition to a Ceasefire

Israel has strongly opposed calls for a ceasefire, arguing that its offensive in Gaza is necessary to eliminate Hamas, the group responsible for an attack on October 7 that claimed the lives of 1,200 people and took more than 240 hostages.

Outrage and Accusations

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, responding to Guterres’ letter, accused the UN chief of supporting Hamas and the October 7 attack. Cohen went on to criticize Guterres’ tenure, labeling it as “a danger to world peace.” This dispute marks the seventh invocation of Article 99 in the UN’s history and the first since 1989.

Guterres’ Plea for Action

Guterres described the current situation as a breaking point, emphasizing the high risk of a collapse in the humanitarian support system in Gaza, which would lead to devastating consequences. While the step taken by Guterres is unlikely to shift political dynamics within the Security Council, it does carry significant moral weight due to the tool’s infrequent use.

US Veto and International Concerns

The United States exercised its veto power and rejected a resolution, co-sponsored by at least 97 other countries, calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Concerns over the growing civilian death toll contributed to the drafting of the resolution that referenced Guterres’ use of Article 99.

Disagreements within the Security Council

The UN Security Council has struggled to reach a consensus on how to respond to the conflict between Israel and Hamas, with opposing factions, particularly the United States and Russia, clashing over the issue.

Historically Strained Relations

Relations between Israel and the UN have been strained since Israel’s establishment following a 1947 UN General Assembly resolution. Israeli diplomats have used their platforms at the UN to denounce the organization, with the Israeli ambassador and his staff wearing yellow Stars of David to protest the alleged inaction on the Hamas attack.

Israel’s Criticism and Calls for Resignation

Israeli officials have criticized the UN Secretary-General and other UN branches, accusing them of biased treatment against Israel. Calls for Guterres’ resignation have been made, but former Israeli ambassador Gabriela Shalev argues that disregarding the UN or leaving the organization would not be beneficial for Israel.

Read More of this Story at – 2023-12-08 21:32:00

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