Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan sent a sharply worded missive to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres after it was revealed that the world body’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs had designated Eliyahu David Kay, an Israeli who was murdered in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem’s Old City, as a “settler”. The office shamefully differentiated between Israeli citizens and that of so-called ‘settler citizens’.

Eli Kay, a 26-year-old immigrant to Israel from South Africa, was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist on the streets of Jerusalem near the Temple Mount in November. He was not a ‘settler’, as appears to be the use of words to delegitimize Kay’s right to be in that part of Jerusalem, but was instead a citizen of Israel who lived within the borders of Israel that are recognised by the UN.

It was not only incorrect for the UN body to label Kay a ‘settler’, but appears to be a way of wording the attack to diminish the seriousness of the incident or even play on justifying attacks on so-called ‘settlers’.

“Unfortunately, there is no low the UN hasn’t sunk to, and that is why I contacted the UN secretary-general and demanded this be corrected immediately,” Ambassador Erdan said. He added: “I asked for him to personally deal harshly with those who made this immoral and illegal distinction.”

In his letter to Guterres, Erdan wrote: “Differentiating between different kinds of blood is contemptible and in complete opposition to international law and every human normal – does the UN view the murder of some Israeli citizens as a justified act? There is no distinction in international law between different kinds of citizens, not even according to their address or ideological beliefs. The lives of all our citizens are equally important.”

Erdan also commented on the UN office’s designation of Kay as a resident of Judea and Samaria when he had in fact lived in Modi’in.

“The ‘error’ puts in doubt the veracity of all the UN office’s information and raises difficult questions regarding the UN’s motives. The site not only errs in its understanding of international law but also distorts facts,” he said.

He concluded: “The Israeli government cannot accept the cheapening or disrespect for our citizens’ lives. The lives of all of Israel’s citizens are equally important, and we expect the UN to treat all human lives the same. I demand action be taken to immediately correct this grave injustice.”

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