UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday that his comments regarding the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday that his comments regarding the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas were "distorted" and were not meant to justify Hamas's initial attack earlier this month. Instead, he clarified that his comments were "distorted" in a dispute that led to Israel banning visas for UN staff.

Guterres spoke on Wednesday, just hours after Israel announced it would halt visa issuance to UN personnel as a way to "teach them a lesson" over his initial comments made during a meeting on Tuesday.

"I am shocked by the distortions of some of my statements in the Security Council as if I was justifying Hamas's terrorist acts. This is a lie; quite the contrary," Guterres told reporters in New York.

"I was speaking about the discontent of the Palestinian people, and at the same time, I also clearly stated, I quote, 'The discontent of the Palestinian people cannot justify Hamas's horrific attacks.'"

During a meeting of the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Guterres had said that Hamas's attack on October 7 "did not happen in a vacuum" but rather occurred after "56 years of stifling occupation" by Israel.

Outraged Israelis accused the high-ranking UN official of justifying Hamas's incursion, which resulted in 1,400 deaths, 2,700 injuries, and dozens taken hostage.

The decision on visas came from Israel's ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, on Wednesday morning.

"Because of [Guterres's] statements, we will refuse to issue visas to UN representatives. We have already denied a visa to Deputy Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths," Erdan told Army Radio, a national radio station operated by the Israel Defense Forces.

"It's time to teach them a lesson."

Griffiths, in his role at the UN, coordinates emergency aid to people affected by humanitarian crises. It was not immediately clear whether Israel's visa decision would affect UN staff already in Gaza and the West Bank.

Erdan called for Guterres to resign immediately, and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who visited Israel on Wednesday, said he would no longer attend a planned meeting with Guterres on Tuesday.

Instead, Guterres met with representatives of families of those held hostage in Gaza on Wednesday.

Guterres did not comment on the visa situation on Wednesday. He did, however, reiterate that in his initial speech on Tuesday, he "unreservedly condemned" the attacks carried out two weeks ago, stating, "Nothing can justify the intentional killing, injury, and abduction of civilians, or the launching of rockets at civilian targets."

Israel imposed a full blockade on Gaza in response to Hamas's incursion, bombarding the territory with destructive airstrikes over the past two weeks. Thousands of people have been killed, and surviving residents in Gaza face shortages of food, water, medicine, and electricity.

Later on Wednesday, the UN Security Council is set to vote on competing US and Russian proposals for addressing the crisis.

Both countries are pushing for UN Security Council resolutions to address the shortages of food, water, medicine, and electricity in Gaza. However, the US has called for pauses in the fighting to allow aid into Gaza, while Russia is advocating for a humanitarian ceasefire.