Al-Aqsa Mosque
Al-Aqsa MosqueHaytham Shtayeh/Flash 90

The Palestinian Arab news agency Wafa reports that Arabs living in Jerusalem arrived on Thursday evening for a prayer in the square opposite the Mercy Gate in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, in order to protest the continued closure of the gate by Israeli authorities.

The Wafa correspondent in Jerusalem reported that the large participation of Arab residents of Jerusalem is a response to calls made on social media for Arabs to gather and hold a prayer in order to pressure the Israeli authorities to reopen the place of worship which, Palestinian Arabs claim, is part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The Palestinian Arab leadership created a point of friction near the Al-Aqsa Mosque and is exploiting it to mobilize the public for protests and to exert political pressure on Israel.

Hamas has called on the “Palestinian resistance organizations” to take action "in every possible way" to protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The Gate of Mercy, known as Bab al-Rahma in Arabic, was closed by Israeli authorities several years ago because the group running the area was found to have ties to Hamas. It has been kept closed to stop illegal construction work by the Waqf.

Earlier this week, riots and clashes occurred on the Temple Mount as Muslims forcibly tried enter the closed compound.

The Fatah movement described the closure of the gate by Israel as “a crime and provocation of the feelings of all Muslims.”