Updated Dec 26, 2023 - World

Israel says it will block United Nations visa requests

Sun sets on Christmas Day in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Photo: Mahmud Hams/AFP via Getty Images

Israel said on Monday that it will deny a UN employee's visa request and not extend the visa of another UN employee.

The big picture: The UN has been critical of Israel's military actions in Gaza since Oct. 7, particularly regarding civilian deaths, and this is an example of Israel's government bristling at the blowback.

What they're saying: Eli Cohen, Israel's minister of foreign affairs, wrote in a post on X that "the conduct of the UN since October 7th is a disgrace to the organization and the international community."

  • He added that the organization has "legitimized war crimes ... ignored the acts of rape committed against Israeli women" and that Israel "will stop working with those who cooperate with the Hamas terrorist organization's propaganda."
  • UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said in a statement on Tuesday that the United Nations will continue to work with Israel on this issue.
  • "Visas for UN officials to Israel have always been issued on a case-by-case individual basis, just like any other member state," Dujarric added.

What to know: More than 20,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the war began, according to the Ministry of Health in Hamas-run Gaza.

Go deeper: UN chief says Gaza is "graveyard for children" as death toll climbs

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric.

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