With Guterres in Egypt, Israel FM says UN is 'anti-Israeli'

Israel's top diplomat, Israel Katz, accused the UN of sheltering and emboldening terror as the UN chief Antonio Guterres was visiting Gaza's border

Guterres visited the Gaza-Egypt border on Saturday (photo: National Herald archives)
Guterres visited the Gaza-Egypt border on Saturday (photo: National Herald archives)


Israel's foreign minister said the United Nations had become an "anti-Israeli body" under the leadership of Antonio Guterres, as the UN secretary general reiterated his calls for a cease-fire while visiting Gaza's border on Saturday.

The heavy civilian toll and humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where Israel battles Hamas militants, has sparked outrage among the international community while relations between the UN and Israel have continued to deteriorate.

UN 'emboldens terror,' Katz says

"Under his leadership, the UN has become an anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli body that shelters and emboldens terror," Foreign Minister Israel Katz posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

His social media comments came as Guterres was visiting the region.

The UN chief spoke on the Egyptian side of the border, not far from the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where Israel has pledged to launch a ground assault. More than half of Gaza's total population of some 2.1 million has taken refuge in Rafah. Foreign nations, including Israel's close allies, have warned Benjamin Netanyahu's government against attacking Rafah.

"Any further onslaught will make things even worse, worse for Palestinian civilians, worse for hostages and worse for all people in the region," Guterres said.

"Now more than ever, it is time for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire," he said in a statement after visiting the crossing. "It is time to silence the guns. Palestinians in Gaza, children, women, men, remain stuck in a non-stop nightmare," Guterres added.

UN cease-fire resolution fails

Guterres made his remarks a day after the UN Security Council failed to reach consensus on the wording of a resolution presented by the US, supporting "an immediate and sustained cease-fire."

"The Security Council today failed to adopt a resolution that would have determined the imperative of an immediate and sustained cease-fire in Gaza due to a veto cast by two permanent members of the Council — China and the Russian Federation — while some speakers criticized the text for being ambiguous and lacking attribution to the Israeli authorities in several key areas," the UN said in a statement on Friday.

Tensions at the United Nations around the Gaza conflict were on display yet again during this week's Security Council meeting.

This is the fourth attempt by the Security Council to pass a resolution aimed at halting the conflict in Gaza to allow aid deliveries to the Palestinian enclave. The US had vetoed three previous resolutions in October, December and February.

The Israeli government has previously accused staff at the UN agency for Palestinian refugees of involvement in Hamas' October 7 onslaught that sparked the ongoing conflict. Israel, Germany, the United States and several other countries classify Hamas as a terrorist organization.

Katz also said Guterres spoke "without calling for the immediate, unconditional release of all Israeli hostages."

In Rafah, however, Guterres did just that, saying: "In the Ramadan spirit of compassion, it is also time for the immediate release of all hostages."

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Published: 25 Mar 2024, 11:56 AM