On Friday, thousands of Palestinians stormed the Shaar HaRachamim (the gate of mercy), also known as the Golden Gate, on the Temple Mount chanting “Allahu Akhbar” (Allah is greater), breaking into the locked site. The site has been closed by court order since 2003 when it was discovered that the Islamic heritage association that operated there was associated with Hamas and the site had become a meeting place for suspected terrorists. Illegal construction was also being carried out on site. Palestinian officials hailed the entry of worshipers into the Golden Gate site on Friday as a “big victory.”
On Thursday night, police arrested 60 East Jerusalem residents on suspicions of incitement and rioting ahead of the Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque.
In the video, the crowd is heard chanting, “with spirit and blood we will redeem Al-Aqsa.”
Jerusalem Police on Sunday arrested two senior officials of the Waqf (Muslim authority): the Chairman of the Wakf Department in east Jerusalem, Shiekh Abdel Azim Salhab and Sheikh Najeh Bkeirat, deputy director of the Wakf. The Waqf is under Jordanian jurisdiction and earlier this month, the Jordanian government increased the Waqf council from 11 to 18 in a move that was seen to bolster the Palestinian Authority control over the Temple Mount. It is believed that this is an attempt to consolidate control over the site before the U.S. announces President Trump’s Middle-East Peace Plan.
MK Ahmad Tibi of the joint Hadash-Ta’al party visited the controversial Golden Gate site on Saturday and said its opening was “an important and significant step.” He added that Muslims and the Waqf, custodians of the holy site, “should be given full control of the mosque, without the entry of settlers and Jewish politicians from the right,” according to Army Radio.
Israel conquered the Temple Mount in the 1967 Six-Day War and in a 1988 agreement with Israel, Jordan renounced its claim to any of the territories it had illegally occupied prior to the war. The peace treaty Jordan signed with Israel in 1994 requires Israel to “respect the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem.”
According to Jewish tradition, the Shekhinah (שכינה) (Divine Presence) used to appear through the Eastern Gate and will appear again when the Messiah arrives.