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PA Mufti criticizes UN Sec-Gen’s statement on Jewish Temple: "The Al-Aqsa Mosque... no one but the Muslims has a right to it", calls to defend Jerusalem

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.”
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On Jan. 29, 2017, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was interviewed by Benny Avni of the Voice of Israel radio station. In the interview Guterres discussed the rise in Antisemitism in both Europe and the US, saying that it is a "dangerous trend" and that what particularly worries him about it is that it is "directly impacting Jewish communities," and that "people are attacked," He also noted that the Antisemitism against Jewish communities doesn’t seem to be related to the State of Israel.
Regarding the discrimination against Israel in the UN, Guterres said: "Israel needs to be considered as a state as the same as all the others with exactly the same rights and obligations and without any form of discrimination."
Addressing the issue of Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple that stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Guterres stated that: "It is clear to me that the Temple of Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, was a Jewish temple. As it is clear for me today that Jerusalem is today a holy city for three religions. These are the facts that nobody can deny."

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-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram 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." Full text here

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