Antonio Guterres
Antonio GuterresReuters

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday told Israeli protesters outside his New York home that talks for a potential hostage release deal with Hamas in Paris are "progressing well" and that there’s "a glimmer of hope to reach an agreement very soon", Ynet reported.

A protester asked Guterres what he would do if his own children were held in captivity.

"I would do everything I could. I have colleagues who are experiencing this," the UN Secretary-General replied. "I know exactly the terrible suffering they’re going through. I do everything in my power, but unfortunately, I don’t have the authority."

The protester rebuked him, claiming he worked more for the sake of UNRWA, the UN agency for “Palestinian refugees”, than that of the hostages.

Guterres replied, "That's not true. I’ve been following this from day one. I have no authority. If I had any, they would have already been released, and I’ve been calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the hostages from day one."

Israel has presented proof that UNRWA employees cooperated with Hamas and were involved in the October 7 massacre.

Guterres and other UN officials have decried the reduction of aid to UNRWA despite the serious accusations against the organization, arguing that UNRWA is necessary in order to maintain the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.

Guterres has been repeatedly critical of Israel’s fight against Hamas in Gaza in response to the October 7 massacre.

In one incident, he said that Hamas’ attack on Israel “did not happen in a vacuum” and appeared to blame Israel for the attack.

After his remarks were widely condemned, Guterres claimed his comments were misinterpreted and that he had indeed condemned Hamas.

Two weeks ago, the UN chief was pressed by Channel 12 News correspondent Yuna Leibzon about his ongoing claims that Israel is carrying out “collective punishment” in Gaza.

Asked by Leibzon what he would have done if a terrorist organization had launched a murderous attack against his people, the UN chief replied, “I think there is something wrong in the way the military operations are being conducted.”

When Leibzon pointed out that Hamas hides within civilian populations, Guterres retorted, “I have condemned the use of human shields. I even said that it is a violation of international humanitarian law, but the same international humanitarian law is clear that even when there are human shields, there is an obligation to protect civilians, so in that regard, I think we are abiding by principles without double standards.”

A day later he appeared to criticize Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he told protesters that, if he was the Israeli Prime Minister, his first priority would be the hostages.

Last week, Guterres condemned the IDF’s operation in a Khan Yunis hospital, failing to mention that Hamas was using the hospital as a terrorist base.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)