U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres met with released Israeli hostages for the first time on Thursday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The U.N. chief sat down with Nili Margalit, 41, and Moran Stela Yanai, 40, who were freed from Gaza in November as part of a ceasefire-for-hostages deal with the Hamas terrorist organization. The meeting was also attended by Noam Perry, the daughter of 80-year-old Haim Perry, who is still held captive in the Gaza Strip.
Representatives of Israel’s Hostages and Missing Families Forum, which represents the relatives of those taken captive by Hamas on Oct. 7, were also present.
During the meeting, Guterres stressed that he had called for the immediate release of all hostages. He also displayed a dog-tag necklace calling for the release of the hostages, which he carried in his pocket.
Jerusalem has in recent weeks accused Guterres and numerous U.N. agencies of ignoring or even legitimizing the atrocities committed by Palestinian terrorist organizations, including the murder, rape and kidnapping of civilians.
On Dec. 6, then-Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen went as far as calling Guterres’s tenure as U.N. chief “a danger to world peace.”
Cohen spoke after Guterres wrote to the Security Council under Article 99 of the U.N Charter, calling for a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip. Charter, which allows the secretary-general to bring to the council’s attention issues that he perceives as a threat to international security.
It was the first time Guterres had invoked the clause since assuming office in 2017, and the first time any U.N. chief has done so since 1989.
“I don’t think any U.N. secretary-general in history has gone so far to secure the survival of a terrorist organization,” an Israeli government spokesman subsequently told journalists.
According to official figures, around 136 hostages remain in Gaza, although dozens are believed to be dead. Hamas kidnapped some 240 people during its invasion of the northwestern Negev on Oct. 7, in which terrorists murdered around 1,200 people and wounded thousands more.