After a closed-door session on Sunday, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court ordered the area adjacent to the Sha’ar HaRachamim (the gate of mercy, also known as the Golden Gate) on the Temple Mount to be closed for 60 days. The delay was intended to give the Waqf (Muslim authority) time to respond while legal proceedings continue.
Three weeks ago, Palestinians rioted on the Temple Mount, breaking into an area adjacent to Sha’ar HaRachamim (Gate of Mercy, also known as the Golden Gate) in the Temple Mount compound. The site was locked 16 years ago by court order after it was used as a meeting place for a Hamas-affiliated organization.
The Israeli police have allowed Muslim prayers at the site and have thus far avoided confrontations. The Waqf (Muslim authority) requested permission from the Israeli police to bring in materials to convert the site to a Mosque and their request has not been rejected.
After Friday prayers, Palestinian rioters ripped the metal doors off their frame and raised a Palestinian flag over the site.
When Israel returned the Temple Mount to the Jewish people in the 1967 Six-Day War, there was on mosque on the site; the silver-domed al-Aqsa Mosque. The Waqf has established three more prayer sites since that time causing irreparable damage to antiquities.
The Waqf has requested permission from the Israeli police to bring construction materials in to the site in order to renovate it into a mosque. Their request has not yet been denied.
Last Thursday, a Palestinian threw a firebomb into the police post adjacent to the Dome of the Rock.
In negotiations to find a solution, Jordan suggested to Israel that the site be closed for long-term renovations. While the Israeli government agreed, they demanded it must first be closed without renovations taking place, as a statement of Israeli authority. An agreement between Jordan and Israel has not been reached.