Israel 'let down' by UN and its agencies, envoy says

United Nations in New York City

By Emma Farge

GENEVA (Reuters) - Israel's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva said on Monday her country had been "let down" by the global body, saying its agency chiefs had not done enough to condemn Islamist movement Hamas and growing anti-semitism.

"I have to say, generally, the United Nations has let down the people of Israel," Israeli Ambassador Meirav Eilon Shahar told reporters, saying that some heads of agencies had not condemned the Oct. 7 attacks when Hamas killed 1,400 people and took more than 200 hostages.

"What happens when you have an organisation here working in Geneva, WHO, that the next day on the 8th of October starts talking about Gaza?" she said.

Eilon Shahar appeared to refer to comments by World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on social media platform X voicing concern about civilian deaths in Gaza the day after the attacks, the most deadly in Israel since the country was founded in 1948.

WHO did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Since the Hamas incursion, Israel has responded with retaliatory air strikes and a ground offensive, killing more than 8,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza medical authorities, drawing calls for a ceasefire or at least a humanitarian pause even from some of Israel's closest backers.

Her comments follow Israel's criticism of U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres whom it accused of justifying Hamas' attacks on Israel. Guterres rejected Israel's accusation, calling them a misrepresentation of his remarks.

Eilon Shahar also said she expected international organisations to call out growing anti-semitism and signs of Hamas operations in Gaza, including those Israel's military says are beneath Gaza's main hospital.

"We've shared information quite widely and we do expect the international community and international organisations including WHO but not only, to condemn Hamas for using these protected facilities for military use," she said.

(Reporting by Emma Farge; Editing by Ed Osmond and Sandra Maler)