‘It’s time to go’ – Former Israeli official says Guterres is ‘weakest’ chief the UN has ‘ever had’
A former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations has said it is time for the group’s secretary general “to go” following controversial comments about the Hamas attacks on Israel.
Dan Gillerman told Sky News that Antonio Guterres was “possibly the weakest and the lowest” chief the UN “has ever had”.
Several Israeli officials have called for Mr Guterres to resign after he said the deadly Hamas attack “did not happen in a vacuum”, and the Palestinian people had endured 56 years of “suffocating occupation”, during a news conference yesterday.
Earlier today, he gave an explanation for the remarks, saying he was condemning the Hamas attacks, and it was “false” to accuse him of “justifying acts of terror”.
But Mr Gillerman said his explanation came “too little too late”.
“What he said yesterday was very, very clear. In a totally ridiculous and outrageous statement, he actually justified the actions of those horrible killers of Hamas,” he said.
“I think that Guterres is possibly the weakest and the lowest secretary general the UN ever had and after a statement like that, it’s time to go.”
Discussing Hamas, he said the militant group is hiding its leaders in hospitals and placing rockets in private homes to use “people as human shields”.
“I’ll say something which may sound horrible – for Hamas, the more civilians casualties the better because it serves the propaganda war,” he said.
“The reason we are doing something we have never done before is because what has been done to us has never been done before in human history.”
In a briefing today, Antonio Guterres repeated a direct quote he had given during his comments on Tuesday, when he had said “the grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas”.
He said his previous remarks had referred to “all aspects of the Middle East crisis” – adding that he was “shocked by the misinterpretations” of his words.
These misrepresentations of his statement, he said, had made it seem “as if I was justifying acts of terror by Hamas”.
“This is false. It was the opposite,” he said.
“I believe it was necessary to set the record straight especially out of respect for the victims and their families.”