Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon on Sunday said the only request he had for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who took over the same day, was to be “objective”, reported The Jerusalem Post. He said since the UN system creates a “negative energy” against his country, he wanted Guterres to be “able to withstand the tremendous pressure against Israel that exists inside the UN”.
Moreover, Israel had said on Sunday that it would withhold the bodies of Palestinian militants killed in attacks against its citizens, Reuters reported. “The security cabinet discussed ways to effect the return of fallen soldiers and of civilians held in the Gaza Strip...and decided that [the bodies of militants] should be buried, rather than returned,” Israel said in a statement.
On December 27, Israel said it will curtail ties with countries that voted for a UN resolution condemning the settlements on Palestinian territory. Jerusalem has threatened to provide Trump with evidence that outgoing President Barack Obama coordinated the Security Council resolution. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week had accused Obama of a “shameful ambush” because of the US’ decision to abstain from voting on the resolution.
Guterres, who served as Portugal’s prime minister between 1995 and 2002, took over the position of UN secretary-general on Sunday. In his New Year’s speech, he appealed to everyone to “resolve to put peace first”. Guterres, the former UN high commissioner for refugees, also hoped to meet United States President-elect Donald Trump soon. “The United States is not only the main donor of the United Nations but a fundamental element in its actions,” he was quoted as saying by The Times of Israel.