UN Chief Guterres on 3-day visit to Palestine, Israel to seek ways for peace

DAILY SABAH WITH WIRES
ISTANBUL
Published 27.08.2017 23:01
emReuters Photo/em
Reuters Photo

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is visiting Israel and Palestine to discuss ways to revive the peace process.

Spokesman Stephane Dujarric says Guterres arrived Sunday evening. He is set to meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders during his three-day visit, his first since taking office.

Dujarric said in an email that the visit will allow Guterres "to engage directly with Israeli and Palestinian people and their leaders" about "finding a long overdue peaceful resolution to the conflict."

The visit comes at a time of Israel-U.N. tensions.

The U.N. cultural agency has adopted a resolution on East Jerusalem that caused Israel to suspend its cooperation with the agency. The resolution asserted that Jerusalem is holy to the three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

However, it denies the Jewish connection to the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, which Jews refer to as the "Temple Mount." It also strongly condemned what it described as "escalating Israeli aggression and illegal measures" against the organization and its personnel and violations of Muslims' rights to worship at the site.

After the 1967 war, Israel annexed east Jerusalem and deems the entire city its "indivisible and eternal capital," a status not recognized internationally. Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005, and it is now ruled by Hamas.

The international community regards all Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories to be illegal and a major obstacle to Middle East peace. The area, captured by Israel in 1967, is not sovereign Israeli territory, and Palestinians there are not Israeli citizens and do not have the right to vote.

Palestinians accuse Israel of waging an aggressive campaign to "Judaize" the historic city with the aim of effacing its Arab and Islamic identity and driving out its Palestinian inhabitants.

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