Julian Sorsby

Think of a number, Mr Guterres

I get very upset if I fall out with a friend. I question what I’ve done to upset him or her. I assume that it’s my fault. I feel sick to my stomach and punish myself over it. On the other hand, I welcome new friends who pop out of nowhere, without a moment’s thought about why this friend has suddenly appeared.

Imagine how tough it must be to manage ‘friendships’ in international diplomacy! Such friendships can be as fleeting as the next sound-bite. Secretary General Guterres of the UN is a case at hand. Israel welcomed his elevation to his post with open arms.

“I understand the security concerns of Israel, and I repeat that the idea or the intention or the will to destroy the State of Israel is something totally unacceptable from my perspective,” he said in Jerusalem in 2017.

He went on “it is our duty to do everything possible and, as Secretary-General of the United Nations, I fully assume that commitment to do everything possible to fight anti-Semitism in all its expressions.”

So, what went wrong? Six years on to a time when his words are put to the test and he comes out with the atrocities of October 7th “did not happen in a vacuum”.  “The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation,” Guterres said to the 15-member U.N. Security Council on Tuesday after the Hamas-led Ministry of Health in Gaza reported more than 700 Palestinians were killed in 24 hours of Israeli airstrikes, the highest daily death toll since the bombardment began.

Mr Guterres, there is an old adage in public speaking which I’m sure you know well. Say what you’re going to say, say it and finish off by saying what you just said. Let’s analyse your message.

  • The atrocities did not happen in a vacuum
  • Palestinians have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation.
  • 700 Palestinians killed in 24 hours

Now let’s look at what I and many others suspect you meant to convey.

Statement 1          The Jews brought it upon themselves

Statement 2          The Jews brought it upon themselves

Statement 3          The Jews continue to bring it upon themselves!

Mr Guterres you really did let your guard down and show the world that you are no better than the rest of your allies at the UN. No better, for example, than former ‘friends’, Russia and China who yesterday refused to condemn the Hamas atrocities of the 7th October. By the way, did you know that, according to Google, since 1992, China and Israel have developed increasingly close economic, military and technological links with each other. China is Israel’s third largest trading partner globally and largest trading partner in East Asia. Bilateral trade volume increased from $50 million in 1992 to over $10 billion in 2013. So, there’s another ‘friend’ who looks away at a time of need. And let’s not forget little Portugal where a hard-won anti-fascist consensus is beginning to crumble. Portugal, part of the European Union, is backing Guterres.

They say a week is a long time in politics. It’s been almost three weeks since the world witnessed atrocities committed by Hamas upon Jews. Guterres has touched a raw nerve. After three weeks is it possible that he has judged that the time is right to reconvene  the anti-Israel, anti- Semitic dominant elements of the UN? Sadly we know that is perfectly possible, and from bitter experience we know that as the images of October 7th fade from our TV screens, much of the world that was horrified by the atrocities, will slowly get back into line behind him.

Let’s just take one more look at his important statement to see what it tells us about the man.

1       The atrocities did not happen in a vacuum.      He could have made an unequivocal statement that such atrocities can never be allowed in a civilized world, but instead he opened up the possibility that they could be justified. Ipso facto he believes that there are circumstances in which atrocities against Jews can be justified. He should get along well with well-known holocaust denier, Mahmood Abas! It’s unedifying today to see the Secretary General of the UN trying to swim backwards up Niagara Falls, but he said what he said and he can’t now unsay it!

2       Palestinians have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation. Yes Mr Guterres, they have. But Mr Guterres, your knowledge of history seems a little weak. The Gazan Palestinians are nothing short of prisoners of Hamas. Human shields in Hamas’s ideological war to exterminate Jews wherever they are. Hamas was elected by the Gazan Palestinians after Israel unilaterally handed back the Gaza strip to the Palestinian Authority.

You have a similar misconception about the West Bank Palestinians. Yasser Arafat, at Camp David with Bill Clinton was offered a comprehensive peace treaty including the establishment of Palestine on the West Bank and Gaza, with joint sovereignty over Jerusalem. He accepted it, shook hands with Prime Minister Ehud Barak, went back to Ramallah and changed his mind! Neither the Palestinian Authority nor Hamas has held an election in decades.  Israel has not, in my opinion, dealt fairly with the Palestinians but the appalling calibre of Palestinian leadership driven by their anti-Semitic ideology and their determination that the two-state solution should never come to pass, has made it virtually impossible to do so. Only a one state solution will do. Hence ‘from the river to the sea’.

3       700 Palestinians killed in 24 hours.   Mr Guterres, a word about numbers. 6500 dead Palestinians in GAZA since October 7, that is truly horrific and requires examination. Surely that has occurred to you?

The daily toll is announced by the Gaza Ministry of Health. The Director General of the Ministry is Medhat Abbas, a member of Hamas and directly responsible to the Hamas Authority. So, it is in fact Hamas who publish the figures. The same Hamas who on October 7th cut open a pregnant woman in front of her family and all the members of her kibbutz. The same organisation that tore out her baby and chopped off its head, and then for good measure, chopped off the mother’s head too. The same Hamas who threw babies onto fires and filmed them burning to death. Why would anyone in their right mind believe a word from that organisation of evil? Even now, as their own videos continue to be viewed all over the world, they are denying the atrocities were committed by Hamas members. Every statement they make, like the missile attack on the hospital, is later proven to be a pack of lies. Yet every time, Mr Guterres, you are among the first to jump to their defence and condemn Israel.

Mr Guterres, on the matter of numbers, would you like to make the next announcement about casualties in Gaza? I’ll explain how you can do it. Think of a number between 50 and 100. Double it. Multiply by 9 and add a thousand. Etc Etc. Your answer will be as close to the truth as Hamas’s! Every single innocent Jewish and Palestinian death drives the wedge the terrorists relish further into the hope for peace. It’s time you did something to bring peace closer!

About the Author
Julian Sorsby was born in London three months before the rebirth of the State of Israel. He is a lifelong Zionist, a student of Jewish history and an advocate of human rights.
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