Israel “vehemently” rejected what it called another “one-sided” draft resolution by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) calling for an immediate cessation of all attacks on Palestinians.
“The decision completely ignores the terrorist attack by Hamas terrorists on October 7, in which they murdered, massacred, and killed approximately 1,200 people and abducted 240, among them infants, children, women, and the elderly,” the Foreign Ministry said.
The ministry clarified that while most Israeli media outlets had been reporting around 1,400 deaths from the massacre, around 1,200 is now the official number. Israel is still working to identify and locate hundreds of victims.
The ministry said that the resolution “gives the green light to the Hamas terrorist organization, which is worse than ISIS, to continue killing, abducting, and using the residents of the Gaza Strip as human shields.
“UNESCO is actively collaborating with the distortion of basic facts and the denial of the massacre, aligning itself with extreme governments and supporters of terror,” the ministry continued, condemning the minute of silence that the UN Security Council stood for on Friday at the start of the meeting, which Israel said was “only for Palestinian victims.”
The UN said the moment was meant for the civilians killed both in Israel and Gaza, including some 100 people working with the UN Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA.
The UNESCO resolution, which passed by a majority of votes, specifically calls for the immediate cessation of all attacks on Palestinians, especially children, women, youth, teachers and all those working in the field of education.
The ministry said that UNESCO “should be ashamed of itself and its discussions. Israel expresses gratitude to the countries that supported it and opposed the decision, including the adjustments proposed by the United States.”
WHO chief: A child is killed every 10 minutes in Gaza
The resolution came soon after the UN Security Council met on Friday to once again deliberate about the Israel-Hamas war, including a lengthy address by World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
A child is killed on average every 10 minutes in the Gaza Strip, Tedros told the council, warning: “Nowhere and no one is safe.”
He said that half of Gaza’s 36 hospitals and two-thirds of its primary healthcare centers were not functioning, and those operating were way beyond their capacities, describing the healthcare system as “on its knees.” Since October 7, the WHO has verified more than 250 attacks on healthcare in Gaza and the West Bank, while there have been 25 attacks on healthcare in Israel, Tedros said.
“Hospital corridors crammed with the injured, the sick, the dying. Morgues overflowing. Surgery without anesthesia. Tens of thousands of displaced people sheltering at hospitals,” Tedros told the 15-member council.
Israel says Hamas hides weapons in tunnels under hospitals, charges Hamas denies.
Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan told the Security Council that Israel had created a task force to establish hospitals in southern Gaza. On October 12, Israel ordered some 1.1 million people in Gaza to move south ahead of its ground invasion.
“Israel is in advanced talks with the United Arab Emirates, with the ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross] and with other European countries regarding the establishment of field-hospital and floating-hospital ships,” Erdan said. “Israel facilitated the Jordanian airdrop of medical aid to hospitals in northern Gaza.”
“Sadly, Israel is doing far more for the well-being of Gazans than the WHO or any other UN body,” he said.
Erdan also addressed what he called the UN Security Council’s bias toward Israel, including its neglect of the trauma endured by Israeli society.
‘Do Israeli lives matter less?’
“Do Israeli lives matter less?” Erdan asked in his address. “I urge the council to invite me to share a screening of the footage from Hamas’s slaughter. Footage that the terrorists filmed themselves. Once you see the savagery with your own eyes, you will understand the evil that Israel is defending itself against.
“Will you address these crimes today?” Erdan continued. “Will you condemn Hamas for murdering Israeli medical personnel? Will you call out Hamas for torching Israeli ambulances?”
בדיון היום באו״ם, כש@MosabHasanYOSEF (״בן החמאס״) לצידי, תקפתי את מועצת הבטחון שהמתקדה רק במצב בעזה. האם חייהם של אזרחים ישראלים שווים פחות? איך אתם דנים רק בבתי החולים בעזה, בלי להתייחס לכך שחמאס מפציץ במכוון בתי חולים ישראליים? או מבלי להתייחס לכך שחמאס מנצל את בתי החולים… pic.twitter.com/TU0N9qCIkQ
— Ambassador Gilad Erdan גלעד ארדן (@giladerdan1) November 11, 2023
He questioned how a briefing on the medical situation in Gaza could be held without discussing the situation in Israel.
“Does this not wreak of bias? Do Israeli lives matter less?” Erdan concluded.
Tedros did acknowledge “the anger, grief and fear of the Israeli people following the horrific, barbaric and unjustifiable attacks by Hamas and other armed groups on Israeli civilians on October 7.” He also said that the WHO “is gravely concerned for the health and well-being of Israeli hostages in Gaza, many of whom are older people, children and those with urgent medical needs.”
US: Working to get fuel to Gazan hospitals
However, he noted that before the massacre and the start of the Shields of Iron War, an average of 500 trucks a day were crossing into Gaza with essential supplies. Since October 21, instead of the expected 10,000 trucks, just 650 have entered.
Israel later updated that more than 820 trucks had entered Gaza since October 21.
A senior official from the United States at the UN said that the US is working to assist in obtaining fuel for hospitals in Gaza.
“We know that hospitals desperately need fuel. The US is working tirelessly to establish mechanisms that will allow fuel to reach hospitals and provide other urgent needs in the south,” said Robert Wood, the US representative at the UN. “But I also want to clarify that we share Israel’s concerns about the hoarding and diversion of fuel by Hamas in northern Gaza. This is unacceptable, and we all need to make that clear.”
Wood, like Erdan, said Hamas had been using civilians as human shields.
“These cowardly tactics do not diminish Israel’s responsibility to distinguish between civilians and terrorists in its fight against Hamas,” he said. “The risks of harm to civilians at sites that Hamas is using for military purposes absolutely have to be considered when planning an operation.”