(JNS.org) United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who assumed office Jan. 1, said it is “completely clear” that Jerusalem’s Temple Mount was home to the ancient Jewish Temple.
Guterres told Israel Radio last Friday that it is “completely clear the Temple that the Romans destroyed in Jerusalem was a Jewish temple,” referring to the second of the two Jewish Temples. He added that there is “no doubt” that Jerusalem is holy to all three Abrahamic religions.
On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Guterres said he has no intention of pushing for negotiations, but believes in a “two-state solution” and would assist in helping to attain that goal if asked to do so.
Guterres’s comments comes amid ongoing Palestinian attempts to erase the Jewish connection to Jerusalem. Last October, the U.N. cultural body UNESCO passed two Palestinian-backed resolutions ignoring Jewish and Christian claims to the holy sites in Jerusalem.
Palestinian officials were quick to condemn Guterres’s remarks.
“[The statements] are a direct attack on the Palestinian people’s right in the holy city, biased in favor of the site of occupation, and akin to granting legitimacy to Israel’s illegal presence in Jerusalem,” said Fayez Abu Eitah, secretary-general of the Fatah Revolutionary Council.
Ahmad Majdalani, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee, told China’s Xinhua News Agency that Guterres’s comments “ignored UNESCO’s decision that considered the Al-Aqsa mosque of pure Islamic heritage,” and “violated all legal, diplomatic and humanitarian customs and overstepped his role as secretary-general…and [he] must issue an apology to the Palestinian people.”