JERUSALEM, Israel – Palestinian Authority officials demanded an apology from United Nations Secretary General António Guterres for his remarks affirming the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount.
Guterres, who replaced former Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, noted the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount in an address on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Guterres later told Israel Radio, "Imperial Rome not only destroyed the temple in Jerusalem, but also made Jewish pariahs in many ways," The Tower reported. "No one can deny the fact that Jerusalem is holy to three religions today."
According to the report, senior P.A. officials went ballistic.
P.A. Minister for Jerusalem Affairs Adman al-Husseini accused Guterres of violating "all human, diplomatic and legal rules and laws" as well as his position as secretary-general, accusing him of ignoring recent UNESCO resolutions declaring the al-Aksa Mosque (the Muslim name for the Temple Mount) a "purely Islamic heritage."
U.N. Security Council resolution 2334, which followed the UNESCO resolutions, denied Israeli sovereignty over select neighborhoods in Israel's capital, including Jerusalem's Old City, where the Western Wall in the Jewish Quarter is Judaism's holiest site.
"[It] seems the new U.N. secretary general is lacking trust and he doesn't understand his position," said Ahmed Majdalani, senior advisor to P.A. Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, calling Guterres' remarks "a strike to the credibility of the U.N. as a global organization that should stay to the side of the occupied people [Palestinian Arabs] and be against the power of the occupation [Israel]."