Palestinian Authority: Israel ‘playing with fire’ on Temple Mount

The Palestine Authority accused Israel of “playing with fire” after it closed an entrance to the Temple Mount.

By World Israel News Staff

The Palestine Authority (PA) accused Israel of “playing with fire” by closing the Golden Gate site at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem to Muslim worshipers on Monday.

Israel arrested five Palestinians who attempted to force their way into the area that had been closed by a court order.

The PA claims that Israel wants to establish a prayer site for Jews in the area and also accused Israel of “waging war on Islam.” It asked for the international community to intervene.

A spokesman for the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates condemned the gate’s closing “”in the strongest possible terms,” according to the Palestinian Wafa news site, calling it “a flagrant violation of the historical and legal status quo and Israel’s obligations under the international law.”

Israeli police closed the area in 2003 after it discovered that the Islamic Heritage Committee, whose offices were located there was operated by Hamas. When Muslim worshipers entered to pray there last week, the police locked the gate.

Also last week, the Jordanian government expanded the number of members of the Waqf, which runs day-to-day operations on the Temple Mount from 11 members to 18, adding for the first time PA members. The move is seen as an attempt to prevent Israel from changing the status quo on the Temple Mount.

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The number of Jews visiting the Temple Mount, the holiest spot in Judaism, has been rising rapidly over the last two years due to shift in thinking among Jewish religious leaders, who viewed ascent to the area as prohibited. According to a survey five years ago, 75 percent of religious Zionists believed that it was permissible to go up to the site.

However, the Temple Mount, referred to as Al-Aqsa by Muslims, is also considered to be the third holiest site in Islam and has in the past been used as a rallying cry by their leaders to rouse the population to violence. Many terrorists have attributed their attacks over the years to what they say are Israel’s efforts to change the status quo at the site.