Israeli foreign minister says UN chief must resign

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is responsible for the actions of UNRWA workers whom Israel accuses of aiding Hamas.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz demands the resignation of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who has been filling the post since 2017. Katz’s remarks follow the allegations made by Israel that 12 employees of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) were involved in the October 7 Hamas attack, reports the EuropeNews.

„Of course [Guterres] is responsible as UN secretary-general” for the actions of UNRWA staff, Katz said in an interview with Politico’s parent company Axel Springer on Tuesday, March 12. „Guterres must resign” or „the UN must replace him,” he added.

The UN chief „ignored many complaints and information regarding the behaviour of the aid organisation, as well as indications of cooperation with Hamas,” the foreign minister claimed.

According to Katz, UNRWA „is not part of the solution; it is part of the problem.” It must be replaced with a new agency, „in which the Arab states should be more involved than before,” he said.

In a statement on Sunday, Guterres said „the abhorrent alleged acts of these staff members must have consequences,” including criminal prosecution. According to the UN, it fired nine UNRWA employees in connection with the allegations. However, he urged countries not to follow in the footsteps of the US, Germany and Italy, who cut funding for UNRWA. Some 2 million Palestinian civilians in Gaza depend on the aid provided by the agency to survive, the UN chief noted.

Israel already demanded Guterres’ resignation in October after he said the attack on the country „did not happen in a vacuum” as it followed „56 years of suffocating occupation” of Palestinian lands.


Photo credit: United States Mission Geneva