The Spanish government decorated UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday, November 7, in particular because of his role in “defending the rights of the Palestinian civilian population”, in the midst of the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
Ratified by the Council of Ministers, the presentation of this honorary distinction of “the order of Carlos III” comes at a time when the head of the UN is the subject of criticism in Israel, which has accused him of “bias” in the dispute.
“Throughout his political and international career, Antonio Guterres has shone through his defense of Democracy, multilateralism and human rights,” explained the spokesperson for the Spanish left-wing government, Isabel Rodriguez.
This commitment “has been particularly evident (...) in recent weeks in the Gaza crisis, to defend international law, international humanitarian law and the rights (...) of the Palestinian civilian population,” he said. she continued.
The UN Secretary General, former High Commissioner for Refugees (2005-2015) and former Portuguese Prime Minister (1995-2002), has in recent days increased calls for a ceasefire in the Palestinian enclave, transformed according to him into a “cemetery for children”.
The UN official, who firmly condemned "the horrible and unprecedented terrorist acts of Hamas in Israel on October 7", also estimated at the end of October that these massacres had "not occurred outside of any context".
This statement angered the Israeli ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, who called for the resignation of Antonio Guterres and assured that Israel would no longer grant visas to UN representatives deemed “hostile” to Israel.
The Gaza Strip has been pounded by Israeli airstrikes since October 7, when Hamas carried out an attack on an unprecedented scale in Israel, killing 1,400 people, the vast majority civilians, according to the authorities.
After a month of war between Israel and the Islamist movement in power in Gaza, more than 10,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in the Palestinian territory, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry.