“O you who believe, If an unrighteous man brings you news, look carefully into it, lest you harm a people in ignorance, then be sorry for what you did.”—Holy Qur’an 49:6
The chambers of the United Nations Security Council were lit recently when controversy erupted between the Zionist State of Israel and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres over remarks he made discussing the origins of the war between Israel and the Palestinian resistance raging since early October.
During an open session of foreign ministers on Oct. 26 about the Middle East and the Palestinian question, the UN head called for a ceasefire and said the war is rooted in decades-long occupation and oppression of Palestinians. The statement infuriated Israeli officials, who responded with a tirade of name-calling and accusations.
“The attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum,” said Mr. Guterres, addressing the foreign ministers on the deteriorating situation in Gaza.
“With the Palestinian people being subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation during which they saw their land devoured by settlements and plagued by violence; their economy stifled; their people displaced; their homes demolished; and their hopes for a political solution vanishing,”
He reasoned, were conditions that caused Palestinian grievance. Mr. Guterres added that Palestinian grievance cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas either. However, he noted, “those appalling attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people,” and emphasized: “Even war has rules.”
Mr. Guterres said all parties must uphold and respect their obligations under international humanitarian law to ensure that military operations spare civilians; and respect and protect hospitals and the inviolability of UN facilities sheltering more than 600,000 Palestinians.
In a contentious reaction outside the Security Council chamber, Gilad Erdan, Israel’s UN ambassador, demanded that Mr. Guterres “resign immediately” and argued that the UN chief was “justifying terrorism,” about his remarks that Hamas attacks “did not happen in a vacuum.”
“The UN is failing, and you Mr. Secretary-General have lost all morality and impartiality,” said Mr. Erdan. He accused Mr. Guterres of “tolerating terrorism,” and then snapped: “By tolerating terrorism, you are justifying terrorism.” The ambassador further accused the UN boss of “blaming the victim” and being guilty of “pure blood libel,” an ancient charge offensive to Jews that accuses them of killing Christians. “The Secretary-General must resign,” Mr. Erdan argued and demanded an immediate apology, alluding that pressure will be exerted from that day for one.
Mr. Erdan told Israeli media on Oct. 26 that Israel will refuse visas to UN representatives due to the statement. “We have already refused a visa for the undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, Martin Griffiths,” he said. “The time has come to teach them a lesson.”
A situation spiraling out of control
Observers say the decision to refuse the visa was malicious amid a worsening humanitarian catastrophe where only a “handful” of aid convoys have been allowed into Gaza, where Israel cut off food, water, medicine and fuel. The 140 square-mile enclave has been under daily air bombardment with Palestinian death tolls over 8,000—including 3,324 minors, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.
The situation for Palestinians is spiraling out of control. “Gaza is being strangled,” says Philippe Lazzarini, commissioner-general of the UN’s Palestine refugees agency.
In a comment on X, formerly known as Twitter, human rights campaigner Sophie McNeill of Green Peace Australia-Pacific said Israel has a history of such tactics.
“Israel was already doing this back in 2018 to high-ranking UN officials who dared speak out (on) Israeli violations. They have been routinely refusing visas to @UNHumanRights officials for years,” she posted. “This kind of intimidation is an absolute outrage & fitting of an authoritarian state,” she added.
Others note that lending to the frustration is a biased media spin that counters the outrage under the guise that Israel is acting on the defense, and critics are being anti-Israel.
But there are questions if the UN secretary-general is really catching heat for throwing shade on the Zionist State, or for simply telling the truth.
There is a maxim that the first casualty of war is truth, suggesting conflicts cannot be resolved absent addressing the truth behind what caused the war. In response to Israel’s reaction, Mr. Guterres defended his words as balanced and truthful.
“I am shocked by the misrepresentations by some of my statement … as if I was justifying acts of terror by Hamas. This is false. It was the opposite,” Mr. Guterres told journalists on Oct. 25.
Not making any apologies, he reiterated his words pointing out what he saw as infractions by both Israel and the Palestinian resistance.
The tiff arose while the UN Security Council and a rare General Assembly emergency special session wrangled whether to impose a “ceasefire” or a “humanitarian pause” allowing aid to flow to the Gaza Strip. At the disdain of Israel, the U.S., and some Western countries, a General Assembly resolution passed on Oct. 27, that called for an “immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities.” The resolution broke a deadlock over a response to the Israel-Palestine crisis where Member States of the Security Council failed to reach an agreement on four draft resolutions.
The resolution was mainly supported by Global South nations, led by an Arab bloc, and was seen as a defeat of Israel, the U.S., and other Western opposers. A point of contention for Israel, and the U.S. was the document doesn’t specifically cite “Hamas” by name. The language also did not reflect what many argue is the Western media bias that makes any position critical of Israel synonymous with being supportive of Hamas.
Additionally, the resolution called for the continuous, sufficient, and unhindered provision of essential goods and services in Gaza. It also called for an immediate unconditional release of all civilians being illegally held captive and firmly rejected any attempts at the forced transfer of the Palestinian civilian population.
However, at the very moment diplomats were voting, Israeli warplanes subjected Gaza to the heaviest bombardment since the war started. Israel also blocked cellular and landlines, and internet communications signals, threatening Gaza’s contact with the outside world.
“The move constitutes a dramatic escalation of Israel’s ongoing genocidal attacks on Gaza in defiance of millions of voices across the globe calling for a ceasefire,” said Manolo De Los Santos, executive director of The People’s Forum, in a joint media statement issued by the A.N.S.W.E.R Coalition.
Passing the non-binding resolution is a snapshot of world opinion. But history bears reason to doubt its implementation, in light of past UN decrees and broken decrees concerning Israel and Palestine. However, what the vote does symbolize, say observers, is the weakening teeth of the U.S. on the global stage and its losing hand in the Middle East.
The outward rejection of the U.S. at the UN, and pro-justice demands from the streets can be seen as reaping what America has sown. Such sentiment has been long warned of by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and his teacher, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad of the Nation of Islam. They cautioned America would lose in the Middle East.
In his illuminating book, “The Fall of America,” the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad warned about the terrible consequences of imposing Israel on Palestine. “America and England deposited their little brother, Israel, on foreign soil, Palestine, which is Arab land. They deprived the Arabs of their own land and sent them into exile,” wrote Mr. Muhammad.
“This injustice against the Arabs is now costing America the power and authority that she once exercised in the East. She is on her way out of the Near East. This means bloodshed and plenty of it,” added Mr. Muhammad.
Weeks of war in Gaza, U.S.-driven skirmishes around the region, and world leaders too divided to slow the flow of bloodletting, are proving the warnings of Mr. Muhammad true.
Others note the Israeli reaction to Mr. Guterres’s comments demonstrates a double standard on how Israel is characterized as an innocent victim and the Palestinians are deemed subhuman and wild-eyed extremists. Speaking about Israel in a recent interview with The Final Call, Wafic Faour from Vermonters for Justice in Palestine said: “This government is practicing Zionism 101.”
As a U.S.-based activist and Palestinian refugee, Mr. Faour said Israel is an apartheid state where Jews and non-Jews do not have the same rights. He said speaking straight words about what is happening is essential.
Israel is an “apartheid state” structured on discrimination, racism, and “White Jewish supremacy.” He said that many people close their eyes on that, afraid to parallel the two.
“There is no difference between White supremacy and Jewish Zionist supremacy,” said Mr. Faour. “It is clear, and we need forces to say the truth as they see it without being scared about being labeled anti-Semitic,” he added.
Furthermore, the double standard gives credence to the go-to talking point that: “Israel has a right to defend itself” despite blatant human rights infractions and what rights advocates deem genocide with more-than-tacit support from the U.S. and other Western countries.
Palestinians resisting oppression are characterized as “monsters,” “human animals” and “terrorists” rather than resistance fighters. And in a classic playbook move of divide and conquer, Israel and its Western apologists add the disclaimer: “Hamas doesn’t represent ‘all’ Palestinians.”
However, the carpet bombing to “erase Hamas” has become a “scorched earth” operation where Palestinians—mostly civilians and children—are losing their lives daily.
Listening to Western media, a common narrative omits historical context as to why Palestinians resist. The echo chambers have been one-sided. Through Pro-Palestinian demonstrations the streets worldwide are declaring “Not in My Name” or “Stop Funding Genocide” and “Ceasefire Now” in Israel’s, the U.S. and Western-supported onslaught of Palestinians.
But oblivious to the calls for justice, proponents of Zionism continue to balk against sound reason. On page 211 of The Fall of America, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad further explained the wicked mindset.
“For the past four thousand years and more Allah (God) has already given the prophecy through the mouth of His prophets of the doom of the wicked. Now is the time and we cannot do anything but take it, and it is dangerous to add fuel to an unwanted fire. THE FIRE IS THE WAR,” He wrote.
“We do not hope for peace as long as we add to the war that which serves as fuel to a fire,” Mr. Muhammad continued. “The fire cannot go out as long as we keep it burning by adding more fuel. A dying, burning fire is increased when more fuel is thrown into it. How can we expect peace where the method used to bring about peace is the same method that started the war—instead of finding a right solution and then practicing the right solution?” He added.