UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks to delegates during a United Nations Security Council meeting called to address the ongoing Israel-Palestianian conflict, in New York, New York, USA, 24 October 2023. EFE/EPA/EDUARDO MUNOZ

Guterres rejects Hamas actions against civilians and demands the release of hostages

United Nations, Oct 24 (EFE) – c

“After meeting with families whose loved ones have been taken hostage, I reaffirm my call for the immediate and unconditional release of all the hostages held in Gaza,” Guterres said in a brief message on his X (formerly Twitter) account.

“Nothing can justify the killing, wounding and kidnapping of civilians by Hamas,” the Portuguese diplomat added.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Secretary-General was asked to resign by Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan, following his intervention at the Security Council.

Cohen had planned to meet with Guterres and the families of the hostages, but canceled the meeting, which the UN spokesperson had already announced would take place without the Israeli minister’s presence.

Israeli Foreign Minister, Eli Cohen (c), speaks today at a press conference with several relatives of the hostages captured by Hamas, at the United Nations headquarters in New York (USA). EFE/Javier Otazu

On Tuesday, the Security Council held an open debate on the situation in Gaza, with 86 speakers from countries and regional groups – including more than twenty ministers -, an example of how the Palestinian conflict has returned to the center of world geopolitics.

The words of Guterres that particularly angered Israel came early in the session, when he noted that the Hamas terrorist attack of October 7 “did not arise from nowhere,” but from “56 years of suffocating occupation.”

Ambassador Erdan saw these statements as a justification for attacks against civilians.

“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.” The Israeli diplomat wrote on X.

“There is no justification or point in talking to those who show compassion for the most horrific atrocities committed against the citizens of Israel and the Jewish people. There are simply no words,” he added. EFE