Did UN chief express sympathy for terrorist prisoners?

PA media reports Guterres promised to work to ease conditions of imprisoned terrorists. His spokesman: The quotes were fabricated.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Antonio Guterres
Antonio Guterres

The official Palestinian Authority (PA) news agency Wafa reported on Tuesday that, during his visit to Ramallah, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he would work to ease the conditions of Palestinian Arabs terrorists who are serving time in Israeli prisons.

Guterres’s spokesman later said, however, the quotes attributed to the UN chief were untrue.

According to Yediot Aharonot, which cited the Wafa report, while in Ramallah, the UN Secretary-General met with families of terrorists and Palestinian Arab prisoners who are locked up in Israel and receiving medical care while serving their sentences.

The family members reportedly asked Guterres “to act seriously to save the lives of more than 6,500 male and female Palestinian prisoners who are being subjected to serious harm.”

Guterres reportedly responded, “We understand the suffering of the Palestinian prisoners, and are working with the relevant officials in order to stop their suffering.”

Later on Tuesday, Guterres’s spokesman clarified that the UN chief learned that a group of parents of Palestinian Arab children detained in Israel wanted to meet with him in order to present him with a petition calling on him to act on the matter.

The spokesman said that Guterres indeed received the petition, but stressed that "all the quotes attributed to the Secretary-General on this issue are fabricated."

Guterres is visiting Israel and the PA this week as part of a wider tour of the Middle East.

On Monday, he met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin.

Guterres also met with Herzi Halevi, the head of the Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate, who briefed him on the threat from both Iran and Hezbollah.