| Welcome to Global Village Space

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Israel strips UN staff of visa privileges

The government has accused the global body of assisting Hamas’ “propaganda machine”

The Israeli government said it will no longer automatically grant visas for United Nations workers, after claiming that some staffers were “complicit partners” with Palestinian militants. Instead, the applications will be considered on a “case-by-case basis.”

Senior spokesman Eylon Levy unveiled the decision on Tuesday, slamming UN officials for “deflecting blame onto Israel” and “covering up for Hamas” throughout the latest conflict in Gaza.

Read more: At least 60 lives lost in Gaza refugee camp by an Israeli airstrike

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced that visa requests by UN employees will no longer be granted automatically, and will instead be considered on a case-by-case basis,” Levy said. “Israel will stop working with those who cooperate with the Hamas terror regime’s propaganda machine, and we urge our allies to do the same and stand up for basic integrity in the global institutions that should serve, and not sabotage, international security.”

The move comes after repeated UN warnings of a “catastrophic” humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian enclave, where Israeli forces have waged a devastating bombing campaign and mounting ground assault in retaliation for Hamas’ deadly October 7 attack into southern Israel.

Earlier on Tuesday, UN Human Rights Office spokesperson Seif Magango said increased airstrikes on refugee camps and residential areas in central Gaza had left scores dead in recent days. He warned that shelters, hospitals and other places of refuge are massively overcrowded and lack food, fuel and medicine.

Read more: UN Security Council approves Gaza resolution ‘neutered’ by US

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) has said that “thousands” of Hamas fighters are thought to be active in the camps, and has accused the militant group of “hijacking aid” intended for civilians.

Israeli officials have frequently criticized the United Nations during the 81-day war, accusing staffers of singling out Israel’s military action while ignoring atrocities committed by Hamas. Earlier this week, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said the UN’s conduct since October 7 was “a disgrace to the organization and the international community,” claiming it had “legitimized war crimes” by Hamas and published “unsubstantiated blood libels” against Israel.

Nearly 21,000 people have been killed in Gaza during the latest flare-up, many of them women and children, according to local health officials. Hamas’ surprise attack on Israeli towns in October left at least 1,200 people dead, most of whom were civilians. The militants also took some 240 hostages. As of Tuesday, the IDF has confirmed the deaths of 161 troops during its ground invasion in Gaza.