Palestinian officials voiced outrage Sunday over comments made by United Nations Secretary General António Guterres regarding the status of the Jerusalem's holy sites. Guterres, who took over as Secretary General on Jan. 1, told Israeli Radio Friday that a disputed site, once a temple destroyed by Romans, was clearly a Jewish temple.

Tensions over Jerusalem's holy sites, to which all three major Abrahamic faiths claim a connection, have escalated in recent months since a series of controversial U.N. world heritage resolutions passed in October that excluded the Hebrew names of some sites and condemned Israel's occupation of the city. The UNESCO resolutions included only the English and Arabic-language Islamic names for sites such as the collective area known to Muslims as "The Noble Sanctuary" and to Jews as "The Temple Mount."

Palestinian leadership claimed the resolutions only asserted the Islamic connection to the sites in addition to Christianity and Judaism, however, a number of Israeli politicians including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed their outrage, considering it a denial of the site's importance to the Jewish faith.

Guterres commented on the resolutions, which were adopted under his predecessor U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, saying "It's clear as the sun is clear that the Temple, which was demolished by the Romans, is a Jewish temple," according to Israel Public Radio. The site, once home to what Jews revere as the first ever temple, currently hosts some of the holiest sites in Islam and Christianity as well.

Fayez Abu Eitah, secretary general of Fatah's Revolutionary Council that makes up the legislative body of Palestine's largest political party, responded on Palestinian radio to Guterres' remark, calling it a "direct attack on the Palestinian people’s right in the holy city, siding in favor of the occupying power, and akin to granting legitimacy to Israel’s illegal presence in Jerusalem and empowering that presence."

An official from the Palestine Liberation Organization, an entity representative of Palestine's national aspirations, also slammed Guterres' comments. In a press statement, Ahmed Majdalani called Guterres' statement "a strike to the credibility of the U.N. as a global organization that should stay on the side of the occupied people and be against the occupying power." Adnan Husseini, the Palestinian Authority's minister for Jerusalem affairs, reportedly told China's state-run Xinhua News Agency Sunday that Guterres' words violated his duties as U.N. chief and demanded an apology.

Since the establishment of Israel in 1948, the U.N. has recognized Jerusalem as being split between the two peoples, with city's west falling within Israeli territory and the city's east located in Palestinian territory. Following the 1967 war fought between Israel and its neighboring Arab adversaries, Israel occupied the entire city and has exercised ownership of its holy sites, to which Jordan's monarchy technically has custodial rights. The U.N. has repeatedly condemned Israel's occupation of the city, which both Israel and Palestine claim as their capital despite a lack of international recognition.

Since taking office, President Donald Trump has said he would consider changing Washington's traditional policy of asserting Tel Aviv as the Israeli capital by moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, effectively recognizing the city as Israel's capital and rejecting Palestinian claims. The move has been widely criticized by leaders within the Arab world as well as international organizations.