United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres invoked a rarely-used article of the UN charter in an attempt to force the Security Council to act to stop the ongoing war between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization.
Guterres invoked Article 99, which states: "The Secretary-General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security." This is the first time Guterres has invoked this article since becoming Secretary-General. He did not do so in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine or the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban following America's withdrawal in 2021.
In his letter to Security Council President José Javier De la Gasca Lopez Domínguez, the Secretary-General claimed that he expects “public order to completely break down due to desperate conditions, rendering even limited humanitarian assistance impossible.”
In a post to X, Guterres wrote: "Facing a severe risk of collapse of the humanitarian system in Gaza, I urge the Council to help avert a humanitarian catastrophe & appeal for a humanitarian ceasefire to be declared."
UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told reporters that Guterres took this course of action “given the scale of the loss of human life in Gaza and Israel, in such a short amount of time.”
Dujarric said that invoking Article 99 is a "dramatic constitutional move" designed to put greater pressure on the Security Council to act in accordance with the Secretary-General's wishes and that it is "the most powerful tool that he has."
Guterres acknowledged the 1,200 people who were murdered in the Hamas massacre of October 7 which started the war and called for the unconditional release of the Israeli hostages still being held by Hamas. However, he claimed that the current war could lead to a regional conflagration and demanded a ceasefire which would leave Hamas in power and with the ability to fulfill its stated goals of repeating the atrocities of October 7.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said in response to Guterres' move: "Today, the Secretary-General has reached a new moral low. He writes that he is activating, for the first time, Article 99 of the UN Charter in relation to the Israel-Hamas war, an article that can only be invoked in a situation where international peace and security are threatened."
"The Secretary-General decided to activate this rare clause only when it allows him to put pressure on Israel, which is fighting the Nazi Hamas terrorists. This is more proof of the Secretary-General's moral distortion and his bias against Israel.
"The Secretary-General's call for a ceasefire is actually a call to keep Hamas' reign of terror in Gaza. Instead of the Secretary-General explicitly pointing to Hamas' responsibility for the situation and calling on the terrorist leaders to turn themselves in and return the hostages, thus ending the war, the Secretary-General chooses to continue playing into Hamas' hands.
"The distorted positions of the Secretary-General only prolong the fighting in Gaza, because they give hope to the Hamas terrorists that the war will be stopped and they will be able to survive. I again call on the Secretary-General to resign immediately - the UN needs a Secretary-General who supports the war on terror, not a Secretary-General who acts according to the script written by Hamas," Erdan stated.