Jerusalem’s police on Tuesday night arrested and are questioning a senior Palestinian Authority (PA) official and another suspect on suspicions of “violating the law, fraud and forgery.”
The police did not provide details on the suspects’ identity, but journalist Khaled Abu Toameh identified the senior official as the PA’s “Governor of Jerusalem” Adnan Geith, and that the arrest is linked to tensions on the Temple Mount over the Waqf ‘s recent takeover of the Sha’ar Ha’rachamim (Gate of Mercy / Golden Gate) area.
The site has been shut down by a court order since 2003 because it was used by Hamas for terrorism. Over the weekend, the Waqf illegally broke into the site, occupying it and essentially established another mosque, the fifth on the Temple Mount.
The PA’s official WAFA news agency reported that Israeli forces on Tuesday detained the Director of Preaching and Guidance in the Al-Aqsa Mosque Sheikh Ra’ed Dana, two days after Israeli authorities handed him a notice banning him from entering Jerusalem for six months.
The Golden Gate area remains open in violation of a court order, and despite feeble Israeli attempts to close it.
The Muslims view the reopening of the area as a show of defiance against Israel, and with no Israeli response to this change of the status quo on the Temple Mount, a victory over Israel’s presence in Jerusalem.
The Muslim leadership alleges that Israel wants to keep the Golden Gate sealed off for Muslims “in order to give Jewish fanatics, who call for rebuilding their temple inside Al-Aqsa compound, free access and presence in the area.”
The Muslims, as well as the Hamas terror organization, have threatened an outbreak of violence if Israel attempts to re-shut the area.