Antonio Guterres is the Secretary-General of the United Nations – and here is more on his lamentable UN speech on Hamas and Israel:
Even war has rules.
We must demand that all parties uphold and respect their obligations under international humanitarian law; take constant care in the conduct of military operations to spare civilians; and respect and protect hospitals and respect the inviolability of UN facilities which today are sheltering more than 600,000 Palestinians.
Israel already “upholds and respects” its “obligations under international humanitarian law.” It needs no scolding from Antonio Guterres. Ever since the IDF began, it has upheld “the purity of arms” which includes taking “constant care…to spare civilians.” Israel does as much as is humanly possible to spare civilians, but the conditions created by Hamas, that uses its own people as human shields, make the task of protecting civilians hellishly difficult.
The relentless bombardment of Gaza by Israeli forces, the level of civilian casualties, and the wholesale destruction of neighborhoods continue to mount and are deeply alarming.
It bears repeating: there have been, and will be more civilian casualties. Those inflicted by Hamas are deliberate’ those inflicted by Israel are accidental, and deeply regretted by the IDF. The only sensible questions to be asked are these: Does Hamas do everything it can to put civilians in Gaza in danger? And does the IDF do everything it can to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza? The answers to both questions is “Yes.”
As for the “level of civilian casualties,” even Joe Biden has recognized that the figures put out by the Hamas-run Ministry of Heath are not to be trusted. We still have no idea how many Gazans were killed, and of that number, how many really were civilians and how many were Hamas operatives. Guterres is apparently convinced that figures released by Hamas’ Ministry of Health are to be trusted. On what basis does he think we should trust Hamas about anything? Hamas is known for its endless lies. Just a week ago the terror group was claiming there were “500 dead” after “the explosion at the “Al-Ahli Hospital where an Israeli rocket hit.” Now we know that Hamas lied in three important respects: first, the explosion was not at the hospital, but at an adjacent parking lot; second, the explosion was caused by a rocket launched from Gaza by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, that misfired, falling out of the sky onto the parking lot, where it exploded; third, the number of dead was not 500, as Ham s reported, but between 10 and 50, according to several Western intelligence agencies..
I mourn and honour the dozens of UN colleagues working for UNRWA – sadly, at least 35 and counting – killed in the bombardment of Gaza over the last two weeks.
Did Guterres ever say that he “mourned and honored” the 1400 Israelis murdered on October 7? No.
I owe to their families my condemnation of these and many other similar killings.
The protection of civilians is paramount in any armed conflict.
This is nonsense. In any armed conflict, the protection of civilians is important but victory over the enemy is paramount. What does Guterres think of how the Allies fought World War II? Does he think that “protection of civilians” was “paramount” when they firebombed Dresden, Cologne, and Tokyo? Was “protection of civilians” paramount in American minds when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed, thereby rendering unnecessary an invasion by the Americans of the Japanese home islands, which would have resulted in tens of thousands of American deaths and even more Japanese deaths?
Protecting civilians can never mean using them as human shields.
Protecting civilians does not mean ordering more than one million people to evacuate to the south, where there is no shelter, no food, no water, no medicine and no fuel, and then continuing to bomb the south itself.
Even before Guterres made his remarks, the Rafah Crossing, that had been kept shut by Egypt, not Israel, had been opened to truckloads that went into Gaza carrying medicine, food, and water. Israel did not object; Israel had not in fact, ever tried to shut down the Rafah Crossing; it was Egypt that chose to do so. Israel only objects to letting in fuel, for Hamas is likely to steal it and use it not to run desalination plants and hospital generators, but to replenish the fuel it uses for military vehicles. Israel has presented proof that while Gazans lament the “cut off” of fuel, 500,000 liters of that fuel is in tanks controlled by Hamas. Does Guterres know any of this? Shouldn’t he have mentioned the enormous amount of fuel that “Hamas should free up for civilian use”?
I am deeply concerned about the clear violations of international humanitarian law that we are witnessing in Gaza.
Israel has not committed any violations of international law in its war against Hamas in Gaza. It tries to minimize civilian casualties by warning them away from targets. Egypt, not Israel had been preventing aid from getting into Gaza; now that truckloads of food, medicine, and other humanitarian aid are being allowed in by Egypt through the Rafah Crossing, Israel has raised no objections.