“Of course he is responsible as U.N. secretary-general,” Katz said in an interview with Axel Springer, POLITICO’s parent company. “Guterres must resign” or “the U.N. must replace him.”
Israel has been at loggerheads with the U.N. for months, after Guterres said in October that Hamas’ attack “did not happen in a vacuum,” and accused Israel of carrying out “56 years of suffocating occupation.”
On Friday — after the International Court of Justice reproached Israel over its ongoing retaliatory bombardment of Gaza but stopped short of calling for a cease-fire — Israel accused a dozen U.N. employees of having participated in Hamas’ assault.
The United States, Germany and Italy, among others, responded by pausing funding to the relief agency. “The countries acted correctly even though it was a humanitarian organization,” said Katz.
The UNRWA denies that it knowingly aided Hamas or any other militant group. It says that it thoroughly investigates allegations and holds staff accountable: On Friday, the U.N. fired nine of the accused employees. One is reportedly dead, the U.N. said, with two still being identified.
“The abhorrent alleged acts of these staff members must have consequences,” Guterres said in a statement Sunday. “Two million civilians in Gaza depend on critical aid from UNRWA for daily survival.”