Israeli leaders continue to meet world diplomats to overview the operation against terror groups on its borders.
The IDF has targeted Hamas across the Gaza Strip for four months since the brutal October 7 terror attack. Troops have also been striking at Hezbollah on the Lebanese border.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne at his office in Jerusalem on Monday. Netanyahu welcomed “consistent support” from France since day one of the Gaza operation and its position on the South Africa’s genocide case against Israel before the International Court of Justice, humanitarian medical aid and question of Lebanon.
“We have a lot to talk about,” Netanyahu noted. Sejourne responded: “This meeting is important for us because we are at an important moment. You are familiar with France’s positions. France has very strongly condemned the events of October 7. Together with the President of the National Assembly, a member of my party, we organised a very large, successful, demonstration against antisemitism.”
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, meantime, met with US Senior Advisor to President Joe Biden, Amos Hochstein, at the Ministry of Defense Headquarters in Tel Aviv 24 hours earlier.
Gallant stressed Israel’s commitment to improving security at the northern border including threats of infiltration and fire from Lebanon.
Officials reflected on ways to safely return Israel’s displaced communities to homes in the north.
“We are committed to our citizens,” he said. “We are ready to resolve this crisis via diplomatic understandings however we are also prepared for any other scenario.”
Netanyahu also met a United Nations delegation of ambassadors from Malta, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, Slovenia and Sierra Leone led by Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan in Jerusalem at the end of last week.
Netanyahu said it was important visiting delegates saw and heard “direct evidence” of the slaughter and the savagery of October 7 but quickly criticised the body.
“The UN has not been a stellar organisation when it comes to dealing with Israel,” he said. “It’s often unbelievably tilted. It has the so-called Human Rights Commission that devotes an enormous part of its resolutions against Israel, nothing against Iran or Yemen or other arenas of savagery and aggression. Israel is fighting the war of civilisation against barbarism, Israel is responding to unbelievably brutal and unprovoked attacks.”
Netanyahu added that the IDF was minimising civilian casualties against an enemy that is committing a double war crime.
“The only time we’ve seen anything like that directed against the Jewish people was in the Holocaust,” he said.
Netanyahu turned his anger to South Africa’s genocide case at the ICJ and UNWRA.
“Many of the charges, false and unfounded, levelled against us in The Hague were brought by UNRWA officials,” he said.
“We have discovered in the last few weeks that UNRWA officials were complicit in the massacre. I think its time the international community and UN itself understand that UNRWA’s mission has to end. UNRWA is self-perpetuating. It is self-perpetuating also in its desire to keep alive the Palestinian refugee issue. We need to get other UN agencies and other aid agencies replacing UNRWA if we’re going to solve the problem of Gaza as we intend to do. There are other agencies in the UN. There are other agencies in the world. They have to replace UNRWA.
Netanyahu added: “UNRWA is totally infiltrated with Hamas. It has been in the service of Hamas and its schools, and in many other things. I say this with great regret because we hoped that there would be an objective and constructive body to offer aid. We need such a body today in Gaza. But UNRWA is not that body. It has to be replaced by some organisation or organisations that will do that job.”
Erdan called on donor countries to freeze support and demand an in-depth investigation to cover all UNRWA employees.
Israel’s emissary said funds to UNRWA before a comprehensive investigation would serve terrorism as they would be transferred to Hamas instead of the Gaza population.
Chief of Staff, Tzachi Braverman and Foreign Policy Adviser, Dr. Ophir Falk also attended.
In related news, Israel Ministry of Defense Director General Maj. Gen. (Res.) Eyal Zamir visited northern Israeli towns and farms on the Lebanese border that suffered damage from Hezbollah attacks last week.
The ‘Northern Horizon’ Directorate is assessing damage to communities along the northern border, coordinating rehabilitation efforts in Israeli towns where security conditions permit.
Currently, the directorate has identified 427 damaged houses including 80 directly affected.
Guided by the MoD, the Directorate liaises between the IDF, MoD and regional councils in northern Israel.
Recognising the challenges ahead, Zamir said he is committed to ensuring the security and safe return of residents to their homes.
Regional Council and Northern Command Home Front heads along with senior officials attended.