Ambassador Gilad Erdan
Ambassador Gilad ErdanIsrael National News

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, on Thursday criticized the UN for its failure to condemn Hamas for its October 7 attack on Israel and for its kidnapping of Israelis that day.

Speaking at a UN Security Council discussion which, for the first time, focused on the hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza, Erdan noted that “our hostages have been held in Gaza for 223 days, and this is the first meeting being held by any UN body to focus on their suffering and ways to release them.”

“In the past 32 weeks since October 7th, the Security Council and the UN have done practically nothing to secure the release of the hostages. It is heartbreaking and amoral,” he added.

“Our hostages are enduring beatings, torture, and rape. Those in need of medication are being deprived. Those suffering from mental illness are languishing,” continued Erdan.

“Israel has done everything possible to get medication to the hostages in need – through the Red Cross and through other mediators – but to this day, there has not even been any confirmation that they reached the hostages. Not a word.”

While he acknowledged the importance of issuing calls to release the hostages, Erdan also pointed out that such calls do not have any real impact on Hamas.

“The hostages are the most urgent and critical humanitarian issue that the Council must focus on. The reason the war started was not because of the humanitarian situation in Gaza. There was a ceasefire on October 6th. The reason this war started was because Hamas took our loved ones hostage and refused to release them! Kidnapping the hostages is why this war began and the hostages are why this war continues!” he pointed out.

“If the Council truly wants this war to end, then bringing the hostages home should be the top priority!” Erdan said. “How do you think the Israeli people feel when they see the dozens of UN meetings held only on the humanitarian situation in Gaza, and not even one meeting, formally, dedicated to securing the release of the hostages?”

“Until today, the inaction of the UN has been outrageous, but its true effect will be felt in the years to come. It has become clear to all that taking innocents hostage as a weapon in the hands of terrorists bears no consequences from the international community,” he continued, warning, “This inaction may lead to a catastrophic precedent that will incentivize rogue entities to kidnap civilians.”

He pointed out that Palestinian Arab terrorist groups have inspired other groups in the past, noting, “Plane hijackings were first carried out by Palestinian terrorists and then became a global phenomenon. The same can be said of the targeting of night clubs and revelers. They were first carried out against Israelis by Palestinians before being adopted by other terrorists. We all remember the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, the Reina massacre in Istanbul, and the attack at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris, and lately the attack against Crocus City Hall in Moscow, among many others.”

“Taking civilians hostage is now being tested on Israelis, but soon it will be the modus operandi of terrorists everywhere,” Erdan warned.

“Kfir Bibas was taken hostage at 9 months. His brother Ariel was taken at 4-years-old. Shlomo Mantzur, an 86-year-old, was dragged to Gaza. They are all still there. Take a moment to think about this. It’s truly unfathomable. Babies and grandparents are rotting in terror tunnels! How can you call for a ceasefire before you’ve done everything possible to bring the innocents home?”

Erdan called for the UN to take action by designating Hamas as a terror organization, holding formal weekly meetings focused on ensuring the release of the hostages and passing resolutions condemning Hamas and demanding that the International Red Cross visit those in captivity.

“The Security Council passed Resolution 2474, mandating that all nations share the responsibility to return missing persons in armed conflict. The Council should abide by its own resolution and take steps to implement it. There is no humanitarian issue more severe! Please, enforce your own words and take action against Hamas leadership and those who aid them!” he added.

“If the spotlight is finally shined on the suffering of the hostages, if concrete action is taken, then a clear message will be sent to terrorists worldwide: taking civilians hostage will never be tolerated!”

He added that the pressure on Hamas must come not only from Israel but also from the Security Council, noting, “As long as Hamas knows that the international community is only pressuring Israel, this will only embolden Hamas. I urge you to uphold your mandate. Make the hostages your prime focus, take concrete action against Hamas, and stand in support of Israel as we defend our future.”