Israel has accused Russia of denying its right to “self-defense” in response to criticism from the Russian ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, about Israel’s ongoing military campaign in Gaza. According to Israeli media outlet Ynet, relations between the two countries have been in decline due to the IDF operation in Gaza.
During an emergency session of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, Nebenzia stated that Israel could not claim self-defense as a justification for its invasion of Gaza because it had no jurisdiction to operate in the enclave and was acting as an “occupying power.” This statement from the Russian diplomat outraged West Jerusalem.
In response, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, called it “ridiculous” for the Russian representative to lecture Israel on human rights and international law. Erdan pointed out that Moscow’s expulsion from the UN Human Rights Council made it the last place that could criticize Israel in such a manner.
Russia was suspended from the UN body in April 2022, shortly after it began its military operation in Ukraine. The decision to suspend Russia was supported by 93 members of the UN General Assembly, while 24 voted against it and 58 abstained.
The Israeli diplomat accused Russia of trying to divert attention from its own military campaign in Ukraine by focusing on the IDF’s actions in Gaza. He described these attempts as “unfortunate.”
In his speech, Nebenzia emphasized that Russia did not deny Israel’s right to fight terrorism but called on the IDF to target terrorists rather than civilians. He emphasized that killing innocent people does not contribute to restoring justice and suggested that Jewish people should understand this better than anyone.
Israel launched its latest operation in Gaza in response to a surprise attack by Hamas, a Palestinian militant group based in Gaza. The attack claimed the lives of more than 1,400 Israelis, mostly civilians. The Israeli military campaign in Gaza, which has involved extensive bombings and some ground operations, has resulted in the deaths of approximately 9,000 Palestinians, including over 3,700 children, according to health officials in the enclave.
While Russia condemned the Hamas attack, it also criticized Israel for its indiscriminate killing of civilians and called for an immediate ceasefire.
In summary, Israel has accused Russia of denying its right to self-defense after the Russian ambassador to the UN criticized Israel’s military campaign in Gaza. Relations between the two countries have deteriorated, with Israel responding by criticizing Russia’s human rights record. The ongoing IDF operation in Gaza and Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine have heightened tensions between the two nations.