US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has drawn a parallel between the terrorist attacks by Lashkar-e-Taiba in Mumbai and Hamas in Israel, emphasising that all acts of terrorism are “unlawful and unjustifiable.”
Speaking at the United States Security Council ministerial meeting regarding the situation in the Middle East, following the October 7 attack on Israel by Gaza-based Hamas, Blinken denounced member states that provide support, including arming, funding, and training, to terrorist groups.
“We must affirm the right of any nation to defend itself and to prevent such horror from repeating itself. No member of this Council, no nation in this entire body could or would tolerate the slaughter of its people,” the US Secretary said.
In his statement, Blinken highlighted similarities between terrorist attacks perpetrated by Hamas against Israel and those by the Pakistan-based terror organization Lashkar-e-Taiba in Mumbai.
“As this Council and the UN General Assembly have repeatedly affirmed, all acts of terrorism are unlawful and unjustifiable. They’re unlawful and unjustifiable, whether they target people in Nairobi or Bali Istanbul or Mumbai, in New York or Kibbutz Be’eri,” he said.
“They are unlawful and unjustifiable whether they’re carried out by ISIS, by Boko Haram, by Al Shabaab, by Lashkar-e-Taiba or by Hamas. They are unlawful and unjustifiable whether victims are targeted for their faith, their ethnicity, their nationality or any other reason,” Blinken said.
He emphasised the Security Council’s responsibility to condemn member states that provide support in terms of arming, financing, and training to Hamas or any other terrorist group involved in such heinous acts.
Blinken’s comments were in reference to the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks carried out by the Pakistan-based terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba. These attacks, which occurred in 2008, resulted in the tragic loss of 166 lives, including six Americans.
During the attacks, ten Pakistani terrorists laid siege to Mumbai for over 60 hours, targeting and killing individuals in India’s financial hub.
Blinken also said “humanitarian pauses” in the Gaza war must be considered in order to protect Palestinian civilians, The Times of Israel reported.
Blinken’s idea falls short of a ceasefire which US officials have rejected in recent days as a step that would amount to help for Hamas, arguing that Israel still has a right to forcefully respond to the October 7 onslaught in order to ensure that it doesn’t happen again, according to The Times of Israel.
“Palestinian civilians must be protected. That means Hamas must cease using them as human shields. It’s hard to think of an act of greater cynicism,” he said.
“It means Israel must take all possible precautions to avoid harm to civilians. It means food, water, medicine and other essential humanitarian assistance must be able to flow into Gaza and to the people who need it. It means civilians must be able to get out of harm’s way. It means humanitarian pauses must be considered for these purposes,” the US State Secretary added.
The US official also called out the international community for failing to explicitly condemn the October 7 Hamas onslaught.
In in his speech he said that in his conversations with world leaders since the assault, there has been agreement that countries have a right and obligation to respond to terror attacks against their civilians but indicates that not all of them have acknowledged this publicly.
Meanwhile, Israel has demanded the resignation of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres from his position over his remarks against the Israeli counteroffensive in Gaza after terror attacks by Hamas on October 7.
The Israeli envoy to the UN, Gilad Erdan called Guterres “unfit” to lead the UN and called for his resignation.
This came after the UN chief said that the attacks by Hamas “did not happen in a vacuum” further adding that the attacks cannot justify the “collective punishment of the Palestinian people”.
“It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum. The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation. They have seen their land steadily devoured by settlements and plagued by violence; their economy stifled; their people displaced and their homes demolished. Their hopes for a political solution to their plight have been vanishing,” the UN chief said at the General Assembly., as per The Times of Israel.
The Ministry of Health in Gaza has reported over 5,000 Palestinians have been killed so far, including over 2,000 children and 1,100 women as well as journalists, medical workers and first responders, with more than 15,000 injured.