Israel slams Guterres over Gaza war comments, demands UN secretary general’s resignation

The head of Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial has criticised UN secretary general António Guterres for his remarks on the Gaza war.

The Israeli government asked the UN chief to resign over his comments about Hamas terror attacks.

Dani Dayan, chairman of Yad Vashem, said on Wednesday of the controversy, “The slaughter of Jews by Hamas on October 7 was genocidal in its intents and immeasurably brutal in its form.”

Mr Dayan added, “Part of why it differs from the Holocaust is because Jews have today a state and an army. We are not defenceless and at the mercy of others. However, it puts to test the sincerity of world leaders, intellectuals and influencers that come to Yad Vashem and pledge ‘Never Again’.

“Those who seek to ‘understand, look for a justifying context, do not categorically condemn the perpetrators, and do not call for the unconditional and immediate release of the abducted fails the test.”

Mr Guterres “failed the test,” Mr Dayan said in a statement.

Mr Guterres on Tuesday criticised Israel’s relentless bombardment of the Gaza Strip and spoke of “clear violations of international humanitarian law’’ and collective punishment.”

The UN chief condemned the Hamas attack on October 7 but said it had not taken place in a vacuum.

In his speech to the Security Council on Tuesday, Mr Guterres said, “The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation. They have seen their land steadily devoured by settlements and plagued by violence; their economy stifled; their people displaced and their homes demolished.

“Their hopes for a political solution to their plight have been vanishing. But the grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas. And those appalling attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”

Meanwhile, Gilad Erdan, the Israeli ambassador to the UN, has called on Mr Guterres to resign.