Speaking to Israel Radio on Friday, the new U.N. leader, Antonio Guterres acknowledged that “the Temple the Romans destroyed in Jerusalem was a Jewish temple,” and went on to say that he has no intention of forcing a peace process on Israel and the Palestinians.
BY ADAM RASGON
Palestinian officials criticized United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday for saying that a Jewish temple existed atop the Temple Mount.
Speaking to Israel Radio on Friday, Guterres reportedly said that it is “completely clear that the Temple that the Romans destroyed in Jerusalem was a Jewish temple.”
The new UN chief added that there is “no doubt” that Jerusalem is holy to all three of the major monotheistic religions. He also said, according to Israel Radio, that he had no intention of pushing for a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, though he believes in the two-state solution and would assist in that goal if asked.
Ahmad Majdalani, a Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee member, said that the statements “undermine the trustworthiness of the UN as a body that should support occupied peoples.”
“It appears that the secretary general of the United Nations lacks culture and knowledge in his specialization,” Majdalani, who also serves as an adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, told Xinhua, calling on the UN secretary-general to clarify his position “that gives a green light to the occupation to undertake more measures against Jerusalem.”
@antonioguterres They are BULLIES & use threats to support a narrative/lie that UNESCO & UN agencies support.
Truth & History are irrelevant
— ✡Israel and Stuff✡ (@IsraelandStufff) January 30, 2017
Fayez Abu Eitah, the secretary-general of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, said that Gueterres’s statements are unacceptable politically and morally.
“[The statements] are a direct attack on the Palestinian people’s right in the holy city, bias[ed] in favor of the site of occupation, and akin to granting legitimacy to Israel’s illegal presence in Jerusalem.”
Moreover, the Palestinian representative to UNESCO Munir Anstas said that the statements do not give Israel any legal authority over the site, adding that it is holy and for all three Semitic religions.
In October, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee approved a resolution that ignored Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.
Tovah Lazaroff and Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.
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