Palestinians to protest after Friday prayers amid Golden Gate closure ruling

Palestinians to protest after Friday prayers amid Golden Gate closure ruling

Today, Palestinians are expected to protest in Jerusalem after Friday prayers, following an Israeli court ruling to again close the

jerusalem protests golden gate

Photo: AFP

Today, Palestinians are expected to protest in Jerusalem after Friday prayers, following an Israeli court ruling to again close the Golden Gate of the Temple Mount.

The contested religious site, revered in Judaism and Islam, has been the subject of recent controversy between Jewish and Muslim worshipers in Jerusalem’s Old City. Last month, the Waqf Council, the Islamic group that manages and controls the Temple Mount, defied a 2003 Israeli court order to keep the gate closed.

Palestinians claim the Israeli government is trying to systematically deny Muslims access to the holy site. The Israeli government cites construction work as the reason for closing the Golden Gate, the only eastern entrance to the Temple Mount. Expect clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces today.

Israel’s government faces a dilemma. If it takes a hard-line on protests and keeps the Golden Gate closed, it risks provoking political and civil unrest in Jerusalem. However, if little is done to quell the protests, this could reflect poorly on the current Israeli government, which may be viewed as weak in standing up to Palestinian autonomy. Enforcement of the court order will appeal to conservative Likud voters, whose coalition currently heads the government, ahead of general elections scheduled for April 9.

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