The chairperson of the African Union Commission gave his full support Thursday to the UN chief for Antonio Guterres’ “principled position and leadership” amid criticism for remarks on Israel’s military actions in Gaza at the Security Council.
“I fully support the principled position and leadership of @antonioguterres and the work of the @UN in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” Moussa Faki Mahamat wrote on X.
“It is in line with International law and with the @_AfricanUnion position and relevant United Nations Resolutions,” he added.
Guterres condemned the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas when he addressed the Security Council on Tuesday, but he said it “did not happen in a vacuum.”
“The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation,” he said.
“They have seen their land steadily devoured by settlements and plagued by violence; their economy stifled; their people displaced and their homes demolished. Their hopes for a political solution to their plight have been vanishing,” he added.
The comments drew anger from Israel, which demanded Guterres resign.
Guterres said he was “shocked by the misinterpretations” of his remarks and reiterated his appeal for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire to “ease suffering, make the delivery of aid easier and safer, and facilitate the release of hostages.”
The conflict in Gaza began when the Palestinian resistance group, Hamas, initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood — a multi-pronged surprise attack that included a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel by land, sea and air.
Hamas said the incursion was in retaliation for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and growing violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians.
The Israeli military then launched a relentless bombardment of Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.
Nearly 8,000 people have been killed in the conflict, including at least 7,028 Palestinians and 1,400 Israelis.
Gaza’s 2.3 million residents have been running out of food, water, medicine, and fuel, and aid convoys allowed into Gaza have carried only a fraction of what is needed.