Israeli Ambassador to the US and United Nations Gilad Erdan did not mince words when he rejected UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s statements on the recent Hezbollah attack on Israel’s north, in which he called on “all parties” for restraint.
Hezbollah terrorists fired 19 (possibly 20) rockets into Israel on Friday from Lebanon. The Iron Dome defense system intercepted 10 of the rockets. Another six exploded in open spaces in Israel, and three fell short in Lebanon. No injuries or damage were caused by the attack.
The IDF immediately shelled targets in Lebanon in a limited fashion, and stated that “we will not tolerate any aggression against Israeli civilians and remain prepared for any operational situation.” However, the IDF has yet to respond in a comprehensive manner.
In response, Stephane Dujarric, the UN secretary-general’s spokesman, stated that “the secretary-general expresses his deep concern about the recent escalation between Lebanon and Israel across the Blue Line, including rocket fire into Israel and return airstrikes and artillery fire into Lebanon.”
“The secretary-general calls on all parties to exercise utmost restraint. It is paramount that all actors involved avoid actions that can further heighten tensions and lead to miscalculation,” he said.
Erdan stated Sunday that it is unfortunate that the UN Secretary-General repeatedly chooses to draw a moral equivalency between attacks perpetuated by designated terrorist organizations and the law-abiding, democratic State of Israel, which is a member of the UN.”
“Hezbollah continues to commit war crimes and target Israeli civilians from within the Lebanese civilian population, using and abusing them as human shields and committing a double war crime,” he noted, pointing out that “Israel does the very opposite – it takes every precaution, often well beyond the call of law, to protect all civilians.”
“It is inconceivable that the rocket fire for which Hezbollah itself explicitly took responsibility has not been attributed by the Secretary-General to that terrorist organization,” Erdan stated.
The UN “continues to willfully turn a blind eye to Hezbollah’s war crimes and acts of terror and its effective control of Lebanese territory. These actions by Hezbollah will ultimately lead to the destruction of Lebanon,” he charged.
Israel expects “more from the UN, which should serve as a voice of moral clarity before it’s too late for the people of Lebanon and the region as a whole,” he cautioned.
The US, on the other hand, condemned Hezbollah’s attack “in the strongest terms.”
US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price Stated that “this violence puts Israelis and Lebanese at risk and jeopardizes Lebanon’s stability and sovereignty.”
The US “remains engaged with Israeli and Lebanese officials, as well as the Lebanese Armed Forces. We call upon the Lebanese government urgently to prevent such attacks and bring the area under its control,” he added.