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UN Sec-Gen "sinned" when he acknowledged Jewish Temple
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Op-ed in PA daily:
New UN secretary-general "sinned"
when he acknowledged Jewish history
and the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem,
must "apologize" 
  • Op-ed: "Jerusalem is Palestinian Arab. It belongs only to the followers of Islam and Christianity, and not Judaism"
  • Op-ed rejects Israel's right to exist in any borders: "Jerusalem and all of Palestine from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea - are the land of the Palestinian people"
  • PA Ministry of Religious Affairs: "The entire holy site of Jerusalem is a purely Islamic site, to which nobody else has any right"
  • PA Mufti: "The Al-Aqsa Mosque is a purely Islamic mosque and no one but the Muslims has a right to it, and only they are allowed to intervene in its affairs"
Nan Jacques Zilberdik
 
On Jan. 29, 2017, new UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated that it is "clear" that "the Temple of Jerusalem that was destroyed by the Romans was a Jewish temple." In his interview on Israeli radio, Guterres also emphasized that "Jerusalem is today a holy city for three religions. These are the facts that nobody can deny." [Voice of Israel radio, Jan. 29, 2017]
 
These comments have led to sharp criticism and condemnations in the Palestinian Authority because they contradict the PA narrative, which denies any Jewish historical ties to Jerusalem and rejects the existence of the Jewish Temple, always referring to it as "the alleged Temple." 
 
An op-ed in the PA daily accused Guterres of having "sinned against peace" by attesting to the Jewish tie to Jerusalem:
 
"Antonio Guterres clearly and explicitly sinned against peace and the Palestinian-Israeli political agreement when he claimed... that he 'believes in the connection between Jerusalem and the Jews.'"
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 30, 2017]
 
The writer reiterated the Palestinian stance that Jerusalem belongs only to Muslims (and Christians), and that Israel does not have a right to exist in any borders, lecturing Guterres that "Palestine" is "from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea":
 
"Jerusalem and all of Palestine - from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea - are the land of the Palestinian people, and their history is its history... Jerusalem is Palestinian Arab. It belongs only to the followers of Islam and Christianity, and not Judaism."
 
The PA Ministry of Religious Affairs also condemned Guterres' remarks and repeated the PA's claim that "the entire holy site of Jerusalem is a purely Islamic site, to which nobody else has any right." The PA Minister of Religious Affairs Sheikh Yusuf Ida'is stated that Guterres' remarks "misconstrue the historical facts."[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 30, 2017]
 
The PA Mufti called Guterres' statements "severe violations," and lectured in a statement that "the Al-Aqsa Mosque is a purely Islamic mosque and no one but the Muslims has a right to it, and only they are allowed to intervene in its affairs." [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 31, 2017]
 
Palestinian Media Watch has documented the "alternative facts" disseminated by the PA, for example through official PA TV, where Palestinian viewers are told that the Jews' "so-called Temple" is "nothing but legends and myths." PA Chairman Abbas similarly denies Jewish roots in Jerusalem, calling Jewish history "delusional myths." 

Many of his appointed officials and advisors have likewise reiterated the claim that only Muslims have a history in and the right to Jerusalem and its holy places.
 
The PA Mufti Muhammad Hussein and Abbas' Advisor on Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash ardently present this narrative in their sermons, stating that the entire Temple Mount has always been a purely Islamic property and that "all of Palestine is Islamic land." 


 
The following are longer excerpts of the reports above and additional statements by Palestinian officials:
 
Excerpt of op-ed by Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul, regular columnist of the official PA daily

Headline: "Guterres, apologize"
"The world was optimistic regarding Mr. Antonio Guterres recently taking up his role as UN secretary-general... but apparently the optimism was misplaced, since someone who wants to carry out a reform and advance the UN does not deviate from the UN's own charter, its resolutions, and laws. He is wiser and more courageous when taking political stances, and does not volunteer judgements according to caprices and narrow interests. Antonio Guterres clearly and explicitly sinned against peace and the Palestinian-Israeli political agreement when he claimed yesterday [Jan. 29, 2017] in an interview with the Hebrew-language Voice of Israel [radio] that he 'believes in the connection between Jerusalem and the Jews.' In contradiction to the UNESCO resolutions, history, and facts, the secretary-general claimed that it is as clear as day - in his opinion which is far from the truth and the facts - that 'The Temple in Jerusalem that was destroyed by the Romans was a Jewish Temple'...
Mr. Antonio, if you care about history and if it is important to you, [you should know that] Jerusalem and all of Palestine - from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea - are the land of the Palestinian people, and their history is its history. The establishment of Israel on the basis of international [UN] partition resolution 181 which was made in November 1947, and the fact that the Palestinian people agrees to peace and the two-state solution on the basis of the June 4, 1967 borders, in no way change the history of Palestine; Jerusalem is Palestinian Arab. It belongs only to the followers of Islam and Christianity, and not Judaism, but this does not prevent followers of the Jewish religion from visiting it. What is called the 'Wailing' Wall is nothing but the Al-Buraq Wall (i.e., the Western Wall). There is and never has been any sort of Temple of Prophet Suleiman (i.e., King Solomon) in Palestine. The Israelis have been excavating for nearly 100 years throughout the length and breadth of the land since occupying it in its entirety in June 1967 (sic., 50 years), and they have not found a single thing connected to Judaism (sic., numerous Jewish artifacts have been unearthed -Ed.) in all of Palestine, and not just in Jerusalem...
The great sin which the new secretary-general committed regarding Palestinian Arab (Islamic-Christian and humanity's) Jerusalem obligates him to immediately apologize to the Palestinian people and its leadership, and to fix this by declaring a clear, explicit, and direct standpoint that is consistent with the resolutions of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - UNESCO...
Since taking the role of UN secretary-general, you are not representing yourself. You are representing the entire UN, with all of its peoples, states, resolutions, conventions, and laws. Therefore, you are not authorized to openly express everything that comes to your mind or your caprices and the caprices of the rogue states that you fawn over, and particularly Israel and its ally America. So will you have the courage and admit this in order to fix the scandalous sin?"
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 30, 2017]
 
Headline: "The [PA] grand mufti: Guterres' statements are severe violations"
"[PA] Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Territories and preacher at the Al-Aqsa Mosque [and acting Secretary-General of the PLO Popular National Conference of Jerusalem] Muhammad Hussein responded to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' statements regarding the connection between the Jews and the Al-Aqsa Mosque (sic., Guterres referred to the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, see below). [Hussein] emphasized in a statement yesterday [Jan. 30, 2017,] that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is a purely Islamic mosque and no one but the Muslims has a right to it, and only they are allowed to intervene in its affairs. He also emphasized that the mosque has special significance for Muslims worldwide, and the decision to harm it is dangerous and deserving of condemnation by all standards. Regarding this, he mentioned the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) resolution [of Oct. 13, 2016], according to which the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque belongs to the Muslims and the Israeli occupation has no connection to the mosque, its walls, its plazas, and what is underneath it. In addition, Hussein described Guterres' statements as 'severe violations' and a violation of the international status quo regarding Jerusalem.
The mufti called on the UN secretary-general to update himself on the resolutions of UNESCO, the international [UN] Security Council, and the international organizations concerning Jerusalem and the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque. He also demanded to implement the resolutions of the international bodies on the matter, instead of dispatching ingratiating and biased remarks in order to satisfy the extremists and the settlers. The mufti called on the Arab and Islamic nations to invest their greatest efforts in action to defend the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem, and to help them in all possible ways and means. This is in order to protect the holy city and to prevent a policy of imposing facts on the ground, which is being carried out at full steam on the Palestinian land, particularly in Jerusalem and its surroundings, for the purpose of changing its Arab and Islamic characteristics."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 31, 2017]
 
Headline: "In light of the demands for an apology from Guterres - broad national condemnation of the statements of the UN secretary-general on the topic of the Al-Aqsa Mosque"
"The [PA] Ministry of Religious Affairs and the national action factions condemned in the strongest language the statements of new UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the matter of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and the alleged Temple in occupied Jerusalem...
Guterres said earlier in his statements to Voice of Israel radio that the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque is 'a Jewish Temple and belongs to the Jews,' and in doing so contradicted dozens of resolutions passed by his organization [the UN], its institutions, and its committees that are concerned with the matter, which have emphasized that the entire holy site of Jerusalem is a purely Islamic site, to which nobody else has any right...
[PA] Minister of Religious Affairs Sheikh Yusuf Ida'is condemned Guterres' statements. He said that they misconstrue the historical facts and constitute an attempt to return the crisis to the starting point, ignoring the UNESCO resolution [of Oct. 13, 2016], which clearly determined the legal and historical status of the Al-Aqsa Mosque as the exclusive right of Muslims and a sacred property belonging only to them. [He added that] it is forbidden to change this status under any circumstances, and called to distance political fawning from the sites holy to Islam and Christianity.
Ida'is demanded that the Arab nation, the Islamic nation, and the international community stand determinedly against these statements that serve the interest of those calling for a religious war in the region."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 30, 2017]
 
Headline: "PLO: The UN secretary-general's statements are outside the scope of his authority"
"The PLO Department of International Relations condemned the claims made by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in an interview with Voice of Israel [radio] regarding the 'Jewishness of the Temple' in occupied East Jerusalem. The department emphasized that Israel has no connection to the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, its plazas, its walls, or what is underneath it, and referred to the UNESCO resolution [of Oct. 23, 2016] that determined that the mosque belongs to the Muslims and nobody but them.
The department added that the secretary-general has deviated from his neutrality and his role with this grave statement, and crudely favored the Israeli occupation state, which indicates his clear ignorance regarding the international decisions regarding occupied Jerusalem.
The department said that the role of the UN and its secretary-general is being put to the test as long as Guterres does not apologize for these grave statements that contradict international law, which it is the role of the UN to uphold and implement.
The department called on the international community and its organizations in general, and the Arab and Muslim states in particular, to fulfill their roles and come out against these claims that encourage Israel and its extremists to commit many more violations at the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and in occupied East Jerusalem in general. This destroys the two-state solution and contradicts dozens of UN and [UN] Security Council resolutions on this matter."
[Ma'an, independent Palestinian news agency, Feb. 2, 2017]
 
"PLO Central Committee member [and Secretary-General of the terror organization Palestinian Popular Struggle Front (PPSF)] Dr. Ahmed Majdalani... said yesterday, Monday [Jan. 30, 2017], in an interview with Radio Mawtini... that UN Secretary-General [Antonio Guterres'] statements regarding the connection between the Jews and the Al-Aqsa Mosque (sic., he made statements about the clear Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, see below -Ed.) are a crude political bias in favor of the Israeli occupation and [contradict] the historical facts."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 31, 2017]
 
On Oct. 13, 2016, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) passed a resolution in Paris on "Occupied Palestine" with 24 countries voting in favor, 6 against, and 24 abstentions. The resolution was later approved by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee on Oct. 26, 2016, in a secret ballot in which ten countries voted in favor of the resolution, two opposed, eight abstained, and one country, Jamaica, was absent.
In the resolution, UNESCO refers to the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, only as "Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif," and presents it only as a "Muslim holy site." The resolution condemns "escalating Israeli aggressions" and Israeli "violations" at the site, and calls on Israel "to respect the integrity, authenticity and cultural heritage of Al-Aq?a Mosque/Al-?aram Al-Sharif... as a Muslim holy site of worship." The resolution likewise refers to the Western Wall Plaza as the "Al-Buraq Plaza 'Western Wall Plaza,'" adding quotation marks to the Jewish name for the site.
The resolution was submitted by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and Sudan.
The countries voting for the resolution were: Algeria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chad, China, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Mauritius, Mexico, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, and Vietnam.
Those voting against it were: Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, The Netherlands, the UK, and the US.
Mexico later noted for the record that its position on the issue is one of abstention, although the vote count was unaffected.
On Oct. 14, 2016, Director General of UNESCO Irina Bokova indicated her opposition to the proposal, making the following statement: "The heritage of Jerusalem is indivisible, and each of its communities has a right to the explicit recognition of their history and relationship with the city... To deny, conceal or erase any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site, and runs counter to the reasons that justified its inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list. When these divisions carry over into UNESCO, an organization dedicated to dialogue and peace, they prevent us from carrying out our mission."