Israel flip-flops on decision to deny UN official entry

The foreign ministry said Griffiths’ trip to the Jewish state had been authorized ‘at the request of other states to expedite the departure of foreign nationals from the Gaza Strip.’

By JNS

Israel approved an entry visa for U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths on Monday, less than a week after vowing not to do so due to the United Nations justification of Hamas terrorism.

“I’m in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory [sic] where more than three weeks since the eruption of the current hostilities, over 200 Israelis remain hostage and the situation in Gaza is the most dangerous it’s ever been,” Griffiths announced on Monday.

In the post on X (formerly Twitter), the U.N. official said he flew to Israel in order to discuss with the “leadership of both parties” the humanitarian response to the Hamas-initiated war against the Jewish state.

Griffiths met with some of the families of Israeli captives held by Hamas on Monday, according to his X account.

The foreign ministry said Griffiths’ trip to the Jewish state had been authorized “at the request of other states to expedite the departure of foreign nationals from the Gaza Strip.”

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“Israel has expressed its severe disappointment at the conduct of U.N. bodies and statements of their leaders. Accordingly, each entry into Israel of U.N. officials will be examined on its merits,” Jerusalem said on Monday, according to a statement.

Last week, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan blasted Griffiths’ boss, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, for remarks in which he appeared to justify Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre in the western Negev.

“It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum,” Guterres told the U.N. Security Council on Oct. 24, adding that “the Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation.”

Hamas terrorists killed at least 1,400 people and wounded more than 5,000 in a massive offensive launched from Gaza on Oct. 7, which included the firing of thousands of rockets at Israel and the infiltration of the Jewish state by terrorist forces.

“The shocking speech by the U.N. secretary-general at the Security Council meeting … proved conclusively, beyond any doubt, that the secretary-general is completely disconnected from the reality in our region and that he views the massacre committed by Nazi Hamas terrorists in a distorted and immoral manner,” said Erdan.

“His statement that ‘the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum,’ expressed an understanding for terrorism and murder. It’s really unfathomable. It’s truly sad that the head of an organization that arose after the Holocaust holds such horrible views,” the ambassador added.

JNS confirmed a report by local media that Erdan had moved to cancel Griffiths’ visa. The Israeli Mission to the United Nations said that Erdan looked into the possibility of expelling U.N. officials from Israel, as well, though the mission spokesperson said it was too early to identify such officials.

A spokesperson from Erdan’s office declined JNS’s request for comment on Jerusalem’s decision to approve Griffiths’ trip.