“Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish People since Days of King David,” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin told Chile’s Sebastián Piñera after he visited the Jewish Temple Mount with a Palestinians delegation.
President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday hosted Chilean President Sebastián Piñera at his official residence in Jerusalem, reprimanding him for his visit to the Temple Mount accompanied by senior Palestinian Authority (PA).
Piñera’s Temple Mount trip contradicted an earlier agreement with Israel on the issue.
At the beginning of his remarks, Rivlin noted the historic connection between the State of Israel and its capital, Jerusalem.
“Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people since the days of King David. As you know, the sovereign State of Israel allows, develops and cares for freedom of worship and religion for all those who enter the gates of Jerusalem. Our historical connection to Jerusalem, and our sovereignty in Jerusalem, make us responsible for preserving Jerusalem as a city of faith and peace,” he stated.
However, he said that “the relations between our two countries have had ups and downs, but at the basis of all this is a solid foundation of friendship.”
Piñera reportedly apologized and told Rivlin that his visit was supposed to be a private one and that the PA representatives arrived uninvited and on their own initiative.
Piñera, who is in Israel for the second time on a three-day official visit, is slated to visit the Palestinian Authority.
Referring to his counterpart’s visit to the PA, Rivlin stressed the need to promote cooperation and not boycott diplomatic initiatives.
“Peace is the aspiration of the people of Israel. The gaps between us and the Palestinians are great, but we must begin with small steps of cooperation, and not to boycott or refuse plans that will improve our economic and social situation. We must cooperate in every field where we can work together. That is the only way,” he stated.
The PA is boycotting the US-sponsored Peace to Prosperity workshop in Manama, Bahrain. The summit is considered a major step toward unveiling President Donald Trump’s peace plan for the Middle East.
Piñera stressed his country’s appreciation for Israel’s “goodwill” and its pursuit of of “the path to peace and harmony with the Palestinian people.”
He seemingly concurred with Rivlin when he said, “I know that you have always asked for peace in the Holy Land. It is a land sacred to a very large part of mankind, the capital of the three monotheistic religions. This is the place for a meeting where the three religions can cooperate with each other.”