World, Middle East

Hamas slams UN chief over Al-Aqsa resolution

The UN chief says the Aqsa compound belongs to all religions

Hamas slams UN chief over Al-Aqsa resolution

By Ola Atallah

GAZA CITY, Palestine

Palestinian group Hamas has criticized UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for distancing himself from a UNESCO resolution denying a Jewish connection to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

On Tuesday, the UNESCO’s executive board officially adopted a resolution that referred to the Al-Aqsa mosque as a purely Islamic heritage.

Ban, for his part, said that the holy site belongs to all religions.

“The SecretaryGeneral reaffirms the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions and stresses the importance of the religious and historical link of the Jewish, Muslim and Christian peoples to the holy site,” Ban’s spokesman Estefan Dogrec said.

Hamas described Ban’s statement as a “violation of his duties”.

“These statements are evidence of [Ban’s] violation of international resolutions for serving Israeli interests,” the Palestinian group said in a statement.

For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, in which Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Middle East War. It formally annexed Jerusalem in 1980 -- in a move never recognized by the international community -- claiming the city as the Jewish state’s capital.

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