United Nations headquarters
United Nations headquartersiStock

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, on Sunday published a statement in which he criticized Israel over its military operation in Gaza.

The statement failed to condemn Hamas for its October 7 attack on Israel, which began the current war.

“The horrendous events of the past 48 hours in Gaza beggar belief. The killing of so many people at schools turned shelters, hundreds fleeing for their lives from Al-Shifa Hospital, amid continuing displacement of hundreds of thousands in southern Gaza, are actions which fly in the face of the basic protections civilians must be afforded under international law,” said Turk.

“Images purportedly taken in the aftermath of the reported Israeli strike on Al Fakhoura school are horrifying, clearly showing large numbers of women, children and men severely wounded or killed. At least three other schools hosting displaced Palestinians have also been attacked in the past 48 hours,” he continued.

“Israeli military operations have been continuing inside and around Al Shifa hospital. UN colleagues visited the site yesterday, and witnessed first-hand what they described as a ‘death zone’. Medical personnel, patients, and civilians have fled the hospital, ordered to do so by the Israeli military. Hundreds were seen making their way south on foot, at great risk to their lives, health and safety. And to where? Nowhere is safe in Gaza,” said Turk, ignoring the fact that the hospital has been used Hamas as a terrorist headquarters, as has been repeatedly proven by the IDF.

Turk also said, “Rules of international humanitarian law, including the principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions in carrying out the attacks must be strictly adhered to. Failure to adhere to these rules may constitute war crimes.”

“The pain, dread, and fear etched on the faces of children, women and men is too much to bear. How much more violence, bloodshed and misery will it take before people come to their senses? How many more civilians will be killed? This must stop,” he added.

“Humanity must come first. A ceasefire - on humanitarian and human rights grounds - is desperately needed. Now,” concluded Turk.

Turk thus joined other UN officials who have been critical of Israel while failing to condemn Hamas and the atrocities it carried out against Israel on October 7.

Perhaps the most prominent example is that of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who caused an uproar when he said that Hamas’ attack on Israel “did not happen in a vacuum” and appeared to blame Israel for the attack.

After his remarks were widely condemned, Guterres claimed his comments were misinterpreted and that he had indeed condemned Hamas.

United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian Territories, Francesca Albanese, last week claimed that Israel's right to self-defense against the Hamas terrorist organization is "non-existent".

“Israel cannot claim the right of self-defense against a threat that emanates from a territory it occupies, from a territory that is under belligerent occupation,” she claimed.

Similar comments were made by the heads of the Commission of Inquiry established by the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate alleged Israeli war crimes against Palestinian Arabs.