Israeli ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, made a strong demand for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to step down during a speech at the Security Council. Erdan accused Guterres of showing “compassion” towards terrorists and murderers, referring to his comments regarding the recent violence in Gaza.
Erdan took to social media, specifically Twitter, to express his disdain for Guterres. He stated, “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.” Erdan continued, “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.”
Erdan criticized Guterres’ speech as “shocking” and claimed that it demonstrated the secretary-general’s disconnect from the reality in the region. He argued that Guterres viewed the actions of Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, in a distorted and immoral manner. Furthermore, Erdan condemned Guterres’ statement that “the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum,” interpreting it as an understanding and acceptance of terrorism and murder. He expressed his disappointment that someone in Guterres’ position, particularly someone leading an organization that emerged in response to the Holocaust, would hold such views.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen also responded to Guterres’ speech in the Security Council. Cohen angrily pointed his finger at the secretary-general and yelled at him during the session. He then announced that he would refuse to meet with Guterres again. Cohen further declared, “After October 7th, there is no room for a balanced approach. Hamas must be wiped out from the world!”
However, Guterres had condemned the violence by Hamas as “appalling” and inexcusable. He acknowledged that Gaza had endured 56 years of occupation and criticized the Israeli response to the attacks, describing it as collective punishment. Guterres expressed concerns about the violations of international humanitarian law occurring in Gaza. He emphasized that no party involved in an armed conflict should be exempt from international humanitarian law. Guterres called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire to address the suffering of civilians, facilitate the release of hostages held by Hamas, and deliver aid to the Palestinian territory.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also spoke at the Security Council meeting. Blinken argued for affirming the right of any nation to defend itself and prevent further harm to its people. He questioned the lack of international outrage, revulsion, and explicit condemnation of the Hamas attacks.
In conclusion, tensions between Israeli officials and the UN Secretary-General continue to rise following Guterres’ comments on the recent violence in Gaza. Erdan and Cohen have both expressed their strong opposition to Guterres’ remarks, demanding his resignation and criticizing his understanding of the situation. Meanwhile, Guterres has denounced the violence by Hamas and called for a ceasefire and humanitarian aid for the Palestinian territory. The conflict and disagreement between the parties involved highlight the complex nature of the Israel-Palestine issue and the challenges in finding a peaceful resolution.