Israeli foreign minister said this Thursday that due to his anti-Israeli rhetoric, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres should resign.
Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said this Thursday that the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, “is not fit to head the global body,” noting that he had not done enough to condemn Hamas for its October 7 attack on Israel.
“I think that Guterres, like all the free nations, should say clearly and loudly: free Gaza from Hamas. Everyone said Hamas is worse than ISIS. Why can he not say it?” Cohen said during a press conference inside the UN building in Geneva.
Meeting with the representatives of the World Health Organization and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) alongside families of Israeli hostages, Cohen said that he expected the neutral bodies to do more to gain access to the hostages.
“I think that the minimum is the Red Cross will meet the hostages; the minimum is they receive a proof of life; and the minimum (is) that they will transfer the medicine to the hostages who are needing it,” he said, addressing ICRC President, Mirjana Spoljaric.
Responding to Cohen, Spoljaric said the UN was trying to gain access, but said it first needed agreements in place. “Please know that the ICRC cannot force its way in to where hostages are held,” she said to Cohen.
What has Guterres said to furry Israeli officials so badly?
Israeli officials are angry at Guterres because he has previously said that there was something “wrong” with Israel’s military operation which has killed more than 11,000 so far in retaliation for attacks by Hamas on 7 October, which killed only 1,200 Israelis.
“It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum,” Guterres said at a UN Security Council meeting on the Israel-Hamas war back on October 23.
In the meeting, he also noted that “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.”
Later in early November, Guterres again lashed out at Israel during a UN General Assembly meeting and said that “the grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas. And those appalling attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people,” an apparent reference to Israel’s ongoing campaign of airstrikes and ground invasion in the Gaza Strip.
In addition to Cohen, other Israeli officials expressed their outrage at Guterres and his comments. Israel’s envoy to the UN, Gilad Erdan, rebuked Guterres in the same meeting and said “what the UN chief says of Israel is shocking,” and demanded that the secretary general resign.
Erdan also wrote a tweet later that day and said that “the UN Secretary-General, who shows understanding for the campaign of mass murder of children, women, and the elderly, is not fit to lead the UN. I call on him to resign immediately.” In another tweet, he also said that “there is no justification or point in talking to those who show compassion for the most terrible atrocities committed against the citizens of Israel and the Jewish people. There are simply no words.”
But that was not the end of the story between Israel and Guterres. This Tuesday, Cohen also canceled a meeting with Guterres, which was supposed to happen in New York. Last but not least, Israeli Minister Benny Gantz also joined the ‘Guterres out’ campaign in Israel and labeled the UN chief a “terror apologist,” in a twitter post last week.