Antonio Guterres
Antonio GuterresReuters

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday evening met with families of hostages who are being held hostage by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Following the meeting, Guterres took to X to denounce Hamas.

“After meeting with families whose loved ones have been taken hostage, I reaffirm my call for the immediate and unconditional release of all the hostages held in Gaza,” the UN chief wrote.

“Nothing can justify the killing, wounding, and abducting of civilians by Hamas,” he added.

The meeting and post came hours after Guterres caused an uproar when he said that Hamas’ attack on Israel “did not happen in a vacuum” and appeared to blame Israel for the attack as he added, “The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation. They have seen their lands steadily devoured by settlements and plagued by violence, their economies stifled, their people displaced and their homes demolished. Their hopes for a political solution to their plight have been vanishing.”

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, demanded that Guterres resign in the wake of the comments.

"The UN Secretary-General, who shows understanding for the campaign of mass murder of children, women, and the elderly, is not fit to lead the UN. I call on him to resign immediately. There is no justification or point in talking to those who show compassion for the most terrible atrocities committed against the citizens of Israel and the Jewish people. There are simply no words," Erdan said.

In response to Guterres' speech, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen announced that he is boycotting the UN Secretary-General and refused to meet with him.