UN Chief Guterres Meets Trump's Envoy Greenblatt in Israel, Discusses Gaza and Peace Process

Antonio Guterres visits Yad Vashem on first visit to Israel since taking the helm at the UN

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks during a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev, Ukraine on July 9, 2017.
Efrem Lukatsky/AP

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres met with U.S. envoy Jason Greenblatt on Sunday, shortly after arriving in Israel on his first official visit.

The secretary-general and the special envoy discussed the worsening humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip and the possibilities to promote the peace process.

On Monday, Guterres visited Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial, and laid a wreath in the Hall of Remembrance. Guterres was joined by Israel's ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, who was elected to be the vice president of the General Assembly's 72nd session beginning in September. Dannon told the secretary-general: "In these days when we witness shocking and dangerous manifestations of anti-Semitism, the entire world must stand up to anti-Semitism and condemn it."

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, left, visits Yad Vashem's Holocaust memorial museum with Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon August 28, 2017.
Shlomi Amsalem

"I believe that the horror of the Holocaust should be such that anti-Semitism should now be dead forever," Guterres said, adding how he was shocked "to listen to the chant of a group of neo-Nazis in a developed country in the world, chanting 'blood and soil', the slogan of the Nazis."

On his first visit to the country since assuming his position at the head of the United Nations in January, the Portuguese-born academic and politician is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday. Scheduled to tour Gaza Wednesday, Guterres is expected to make overtures to ease restrictions on the coastal enclave.

Guterres will also meet the families of soldiers missing in action in Gaza, although he is not expected to play a role in resolving this issue since he has no contact with Hamas and is not expected to meet its officials. Nevertheless, Israeli sources say he could indirectly pressure Hamas by appealing to Qatar and Egypt.