Investigators presented evidence to the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday proving that there is activity in the Waqf (Muslim authority) directly linked to the Hamas terrorist organization and warned that keeping the offices open could establish and promote the organization’s activities in Jerusalem.
The office complex is located in Sha’ar Harachamim (Gate of Mercy, also known as the Golden Gate). The area is a hall under the Temple Mount plaza, at the base of stairs. A low gate at the top of the stairs was locked to visitors, Muslim and Jewish, 17 years ago by court order after the hall was used as a meeting place for a Hamas-affiliated organization. Arabs rioted at the site last year during the first week of the month-long Ramadan, breaking into the hall. The Israeli High Court ordered the Waqf to close the site but the Waqf refused. Prime Minister Netanyahu ordered the police to close the site but this order was never carried out. The site is still being used as a mosque.
According to Jewish tradition, the Messiah will arrive via the Sha’ar HaRachamim. Out of a mistaken belief that Jewish tradition speaks of the Messiah being from the priestly caste, the Ottomans built a cemetery in front of the gate in order to prevent the Jewish Messiah from arriving and the Muslims created a cemetery outside the gate.
In the petition filed in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, police claimed that “restricting the use the site is necessary as there is solid administrative evidence that it will be used for Hamas activity and as a strong point for the terrorist organization on the Temple Mount. As per the current situation, the removal of the restriction order could allow Hamas to establish and promote their activities in Jerusalem in general and on the Temple Mount in particular.”
Last month, the Jerusalem Police issued a rare five-month ban from the Temple Mount compound to an Islamic Waqf guard who praised arch-terrorist Ramadan Shalah over the Waqf’s radio system.
Also last month, Turkey opened an Islamic center near the Temple Mount. Turkey has ties with Hamas and permits members of the terrorist organization to use their country as a safe haven.