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Without naming names, UN chief accuses Israel of misinformation

Without naming names, UN chief accuses Israel of misinformation
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres says critics have called him a supported of Palestinian militant group Hamas, a charge he denies.
PHOTO: Reuters

UNITED NATIONS — United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on June 24 accused Israel of spreading misinformation about him during the war between Israel and Palestinian militants Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

"I've heard the same source many times saying that I never attacked Hamas, that I never condemned Hamas, that I am a supporters of Hamas," he told a news conference on information integrity, without naming Israel.

"I have condemned Hamas 102 times, 51 of them in formal speeches, the others in different social platforms," he said. "The truth, in the end, always wins."

Israel's UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan said the condemnations by Guterres were "empty words when compared to his actions".

"His sole aim has been to help Hamas survive this war. We find it despicable that the secretary-general refuses to abide by the UN's standards and paints a distorted picture of events on the ground," Erdan said. "Antonio Guterres is an accomplice to terror and should resign today."

Relations between the UN and Israel have long been fraught and have only worsened during the Israel-Hamas war, which was sparked by Hamas' deadly Oct 7 attack on Israel. Then, Hamas killed some 1,200 people and kidnapped another 250, according to Israeli tallies. Over 100 hostages have yet to be rescued.

Israel's ground invasion of Gaza in 2023 — aimed at rescuing the hostages and uprooting Hamas as a military and political entity — has killed some 37,000 Palestinians, according to the authorities in the Hamas-run enclave, who do not distinguish between fighters and civilians. Hamas is considered a terrorist organisation by the US and the European Union.

Israel accused the UN of being biased against it and has accused UN staff of working with Hamas and other militants. The UN is investigating some of the allegations, but has said in many cases it is yet to received evidence from Israel.

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