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Israel’s Foreign Minister Says UN Chief Unfit to Lead, ‘Does Not Deserve’ to Head Global Body

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen attends a conference at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, Nov. 8, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Yves Herman

Israel‘s foreign minister said on Tuesday that United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was unfit to head the global body, saying he had not done enough to condemn the Hamas terrorist group or to advance peace in the Middle East.

“Guterres does not deserve to be the head of the United Nations,” Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said at a press conference inside the UN building in Geneva, where he was meeting with the World Health Organization and International Red Cross leaders alongside the relatives of Israeli hostages kidnapped by Hamas.

“I think that Guterres like all the free nations should say clearly and loudly: free Gaza from Hamas. Everyone said Hamas is worse than ISIS. Why can he not say it?” Cohen said.

Cohen’s comments came three weeks after he canceled a meeting with Guterres, who in comments last month seemingly blamed Israel for Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israeli communities. During its invasion, the Palestinian terror group murdered over 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapped more than 240 others as hostages.

“I will not meet with the UN secretary-general. After October 7th there is no room for a balanced approach. Hamas must be erased from the world!” Cohen posted on X/Twitter at the time.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan went further, calling on Guterres to resign.

The backlash came in response to comments that Guterres said at a UN Security Council meeting on the Israel-Hamas war last month.

“It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum,” Guterres said. “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 is stifled, their people displaced, and their homes demolished. Their hopes for a political solution to their plight have been vanishing.”

Erdan slammed Guterres for his remark, arguing the UN chief was rationalizing Hamas’ atrocities against Israeli civilians.

“The UN secretary-general, who shows understanding for the campaign of mass murder of children, women, and the elderly, is not fit to lead the UN,” Erdan said. “I call on him to resign immediately. There is no justification or point in talking to those who show compassion for the most terrible atrocities committed against the citizens of Israel and the Jewish people. There are simply no words.”

Beyond Cohen and Erdan, members of both the Israeli unity government and the opposition also called out Guterres, with Minister Benny Gantz saying the UN leader “condones terror” and opposition leader Yair Lapid saying that Guterres “brought shame upon the United Nations … [with] excuses and rationalization for barbaric terrorism.”

The brutality of Hamas’ attacks — which included rape, torture, and the beheading of babies — has shocked the world. In response, Israel has been launching a military campaign against Hamas in Gaza, the Palestinian enclave ruled by the terror group, with the goal of dismantling its leadership and military capabilities while also freeing the hostages.

Israeli officials have also expressed outrage at Guterres for in their view being too close to Iran, the main international sponsor of Hamas.

Last month, Guterres met with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in New York.

“I guess the SG [UN secretary-general] will invite arsonists for the next discussion on forest fires; pedophiles for the next briefing on education or perhaps the protection of children,” Erdan tweeted about the meeting.

In a recent interview, Guterres said he had appealed to Iran to intervene and stop worsening hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah, the Iran-backed terror group based in Lebanon, on the Israeli-Lebanese border.

Guterres told journalist Fareed Zakaria that he had asked Iran “to tell Hezbollah, ‘You cannot create a situation in which Lebanon will be completely engulfed by this conflict,’ because if Hezbollah will launch a massive attack on Israel it might create, I don’t know what kind of impact, but one thing I am sure — Lebanon would not survive.”

Asked if Iran had been responsive, the UN chief said, “I do not know. They said always that they have nothing to do with what is happening but they say publicly that there is a risk of this conflict to be extended. It’s always very mysterious, the position of Iran.”

While in Geneva on Tuesday, Cohen also demanded that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) “work through all channels” to secure visits to the roughly 240 hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.

“We expect the Red Cross to put the issue at the top of the organization’s priority list, to use all levers of pressure, and not rest until it visits all the hostages, assesses their condition, and makes sure they are receiving the medical care they need,” said Cohen, who met with ICRC president Mirjana Spoljaric Egger.

The post Israel’s Foreign Minister Says UN Chief Unfit to Lead, ‘Does Not Deserve’ to Head Global Body first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Israeli Official: ‘Important Operation’ in Yemen Sends Strong Message to Shiite Axis

Drones are seen at a site at an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on April 20, 2023. Photo: Iranian Army/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS

i24 NewsA senior Israeli security official spoke to i24NEWS on Saturday on condition of the retaliatory strike carried out by the Israel Air Force against the Houthi jihadists in Yemen.

“This is an important operation which signals that there’s room for further escalation, and sends a very strong message to the entire Shiite axis.”

“We understood there is a high probability of counter attacks, but if we do not respond, the meaning is even worse. Israel has updated the US prior to the operation.”

The strike on Hodeida came after long-range Iranian-made drone hit a building in central Tel Aviv, killing one man and wounded several others.

The post Israeli Official: ‘Important Operation’ in Yemen Sends Strong Message to Shiite Axis first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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IDF Confirms Striking ‘Terrorist Houthi Regime’ in Yemen’s Hodeida

Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi addresses followers via a video link at the al-Shaab Mosque, formerly al-Saleh Mosque, in Sanaa, Yemen, Feb. 6, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

i24 NewsThe Israeli military on Saturday confirmed striking a port in Yemen controlled by the Houthi jihadists, a day after the Iranian proxy group perpetrated a deadly drone attack on Tel Aviv.

“A short while ago, IDF fighter jets struck military targets of the Houthi terrorist regime in the area of the Al Hudaydah Port in Yemen in response to the hundreds of attacks carried out against the State of Israel in recent months.”

After Houthi drone attack on Tel Aviv, reports and footage out of Yemen of air strikes hitting Hodeida

— Video used in accordance with clause 27A of Israeli copyright law pic.twitter.com/d2uE16ZzQ1

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

Yoav Gallant, the defense minister, issued a statement saying “The fire that is currently burning in Hodeidah, is seen across the Middle East and the significance is clear. The Houthis attacked us over 200 times. The first time that they harmed an Israeli citizen, we struck them. And we will do this in any place where it may be required.”

“The blood of Israeli citizens has a price,” Gallant added. “This has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen, and in other places – if they will dare to attack us, the result will be identical.”

Gallant: ‘The fire currently burning in Hodeida is seen across the region and the significance is clear… The blood of Israeli citizens has a price, as has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen and in other places – if they dare attack us, the result will be identical.’ pic.twitter.com/DmHjwfHtPV

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

The post IDF Confirms Striking ‘Terrorist Houthi Regime’ in Yemen’s Hodeida first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan leaves after attending a military parade to mark the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus in response to a short-lived Greek-inspired coup, in the Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, in the divided city of Nicosia, Cyprus July 20, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

Greek Cypriots mourned and Turkish Cypriots rejoiced on Saturday, the 50th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of part of the island after a brief Greek inspired coup, with the chances of reconciliation as elusive as ever.

The ethnically split island is a persistent source of tension between Greece and Turkey, which are both partners in NATO but are at odds over numerous issues.

Their differences were laid bare on Saturday, with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attending a celebratory military parade in north Nicosia to mark the day in 1974 when Turkish forces launched an offensive that they call a “peace operation.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was due later on Saturday to attend an event in the south of the Nicosia to commemorate what Greeks commonly refer to as the “barbaric Turkish invasion.” Air raid sirens sounded across the area at dawn.

Mitsotakis posted an image of a blood-stained map of Cyprus on his LinkedIn page with the words “Half a century since the national tragedy of Cyprus.”

There was jubilation in the north.

“The Cyprus Peace Operation saved Turkish Cypriots from cruelty and brought them to freedom,” Erdogan told crowds who gathered to watch the parade despite stifling midday heat, criticizing the south for having a “spoiled mentality” and seeing itself as the sole ruler of Cyprus.

Peace talks are stalled at two seemingly irreconcilable concepts – Greek Cypriots want reunification as a federation. Turkish Cypriots want a two-state settlement.

Erdogan left open a window to dialogue although he said a federal solution, advocated by Greek Cypriots and backed by most in the international community, was “not possible.”

“We are ready for negotiations, to meet, and to establish long-term peace and resolution in Cyprus,” he said.

Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960, but a shared administration between Greek and Turkish Cypriots quickly fell apart in violence that saw Turkish Cypriots withdraw into enclaves and led to the dispatch of a U.N. peacekeeping force.

The crisis left Greek Cypriots running the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union since 2004 with the potential to derail Turkey’s own decades-long aspirations of joining the bloc.

It also complicates any attempts to unlock energy potential in the eastern Mediterranean because of overlapping claims. The region has seen major discoveries of hydrocarbons in recent years.

REMEMBERING THE DEAD

Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, whose office represents the Greek Cypriot community in the reunification dialogue, said the anniversary was a somber occasion for reflection and for remembering the dead.

“Our mission is liberation, reunification and solving the Cyprus problem,” he said. “If we really want to send a message on this tragic anniversary … it is to do anything possible to reunite Cyprus.”

Turkey, he said, continued to be responsible for violating human rights and international law over Cyprus.

Across the south, church services were held to remember the more than 3,000 people who died in the Turkish invasion.

“It was a betrayal of Cyprus and so many kids were lost. It wasn’t just my son, it was many,” said Loukas Alexandrou, 90, as he tended the grave of his son at a military cemetery.

In Turkey, state television focused on violence against Turkish Cypriots prior to the invasion, particularly on bloodshed in 1963-64 and in 1967.

Turkey’s invasion took more than a third of the island and expelled more than 160,000 Greek Cypriots to the south.

Reunification talks collapsed in 2017 and have been at a stalemate since. Northern Cyprus is a breakaway state recognized only by Turkey, and its Turkish Cypriot leadership wants international recognition.

The post One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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