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UN rejects Israel’s idea of acceptable ratios for Gaza’s civilian deaths

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UN rejects Israel’s idea of acceptable ratios for Gaza’s civilian deaths

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UNITED NATIONS — Remarks by an Israel Defense Forces spokesperson to evaluate civilian deaths in Gaza in “ratios” were “tasteless,” a United Nations spokesperson said Tuesday.

On Monday, IDF spokesperson Jonathan Conricus told Kuwait Weekly that two Palestinian civilians killed in Gaza for every Hamas militant is a “tremendously positive ratio” given the challenges of urban combat.

“We’re not in the business of establishing those kinds of ratios, which I think are tasteless, to say the least,” said Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN secretary-general.

The UN’s focus is on avoiding any civilian deaths, Dujarric said at his daily press briefing on Tuesday — though he acknowledged this had not been successful in Gaza.

Almost 16,000 people have been killed in Gaza since October 7, according to figures compiled by the Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza.

IDF clarification: On Tuesday, Conricus clarified that the IDF had not confirmed the reported death ratio was accurate, adding he had only meant to say he had seen a news report attributing those numbers to an unnamed Israeli official.

He repeated Israel’s regular assertion that the IDF was aiming to kill “as low as possible a number of civilians” and blamed Hamas for using people as human shields.

Conricus also insisted that a ratio of two civilians killed per combatant was better than seen in urban combat in places like Raqqa and Deir Ezzor in Syria, but added: “Every loss of life is sad, I should have chosen my words more carefully.”

Meanwhile, Israel has revoked the visa of the United Nations humanitarian coordinator due to the “bias of the UN,” according to the Israeli minister of foreign affairs.

“We will no longer be silent in the face of the bias of the UN,” Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

Cohen said Lynn Hastings, who is the deputy special coordinator for the Middle East peace process and the UN resident coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, failed to speak out against Hamas for the acts committed during its October 7 attack.

Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN secretary general, said Hastings had her visa revoked last week. Still, Dujarric said the UN secretary-general has “full confidence” in Hastings.

“I can only reiterate the Secretary-General’s full confidence in Ms. Hastings, the way she’s conducted herself, and the way she’s done her work,” Dujarric said. — Kuwait Weekly

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