Gaza: UN special rapporteur slams Israel’s visa threat to staffers as ‘moral cowardice’

The UN special rapporteur on Palestine slammed Tuesday Israel’s decision to deny visa to UN staff, saying “baseless attacks” on the organization prove “moral cowardice”, reported Anadolu Agency.

She added, and called for a cease-fire in Gaza, release of Israeli hostages and arbitrarily detained Palestinians, reconstruction and end of occupation of Palestinian territories.

Cohen had said, “We will no longer remain silent in the face of the UN’s hypocrisy!” and that he instructed the Foreign Ministry “not to extend the visa of one of the organization’s employees in Israel, and to deny the visa request of another employee.”

The conduct of the UN since 7 October, he said, is a “disgrace to the organization and the international community” and that “We will stop working with those who cooperate with the Hamas terrorist organization’s propaganda.”

Cohen accused UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who has criticized Hamas but said the October attack did not happen in a vacuum, for legitimizing “war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

He said the UN human rights commissioner “publishes unsubstantiated blood libels,” and called UN Women “an organization that for two months ignored the acts of rape committed against Israeli women.”

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas on 7 October, killing more than 20,700 people, including UN staffers. It has attacked hospitals, UN schools as well as refugee camps and has justified its actions saying they were used by Hamas.

Around 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack.

Human rights organizations have slammed Israel for its war tactics, calling it “collective punishment” of Gaza’s 2.3 million people.

142 UNRWA employees killed in Gaza

The UN Palestinian refugee agency said Sunday that 142 employees had been killed in Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip since 7 October, Anadolu Agency reports.

“In this somber moment, it’s hard to wish those celebrating ‘Merry Christmas’, with ongoing loss, grief and destruction,” the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) said in a statement.

“Our teams are doing the impossible to help people in need. We mourn the loss of more UNRWA colleagues killed in Gaza, now 142, the majority with their families,” it added.

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by Hamas on 7 October, killing at least 20,424 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injuring 54,036 others, according to health authorities in the enclave.

The Israeli onslaught has left Gaza in ruins with half of the coastal territory’s housing stock damaged or destroyed, and nearly 2 million people displaced within the densely-populated enclave amid shortages of food and clean water.