Hamas warns of new conflict as Temple Mount to reopen to Jews on Independence Day

Hamas warns Jewish visits will be a "detonator for a new confrontation" with Israel.

Bridge to the Mughrabi Gate to the Temple Mount (photo credit: SEBI BERENS/FLASH90)
Bridge to the Mughrabi Gate to the Temple Mount
(photo credit: SEBI BERENS/FLASH90)

The Temple Mount is expected to reopen to Jewish visitors on Thursday, as Israel marks Independence Day, although this is dependent on situation assessments, Israel Police confirmed on Tuesday.

The Temple Mount has been closed to Jewish visitors since April 22. 

Makor Rishon reported on Tuesday afternoon that Israel Police's Jerusalem District had confirmed that the Temple Mount is expected to reopen to Jewish visitors on Independence Day, although police told The Jerusalem Post that this would be dependent on a situation assessment.

According to the Joint Headquarters of the Temple Mount Organizations, the Temple Mount is expected to be opened to Jewish visitors on Thursday from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The opening and closing times may change due to the security situation. At 8 a.m., Jewish visitors going up to the site intend to pray festive prayers to mark Independence Day, according to the joint headquarters.

Hamas Spokesperson Abdel Latif Al-Qanou warned that if Jews were allowed to enter the site on Thursday, it would be a "detonator for a new confrontation" with Israel. The spokesperson called on Arabs and Palestinians to arrive at the Temple Mount to confront the Jewish visits. The movement warned on Wednesday that Israel was "playing with fire and dragging the region into an escalation for which the occupation bears full responsibility."

 SECURITY FORCES guard Jews visiting the Temple Mount on Tisha Be'av, a day of mourning the destruction of the Holy Temple (credit: JAMAL AWAD/FLASH90) SECURITY FORCES guard Jews visiting the Temple Mount on Tisha Be'av, a day of mourning the destruction of the Holy Temple (credit: JAMAL AWAD/FLASH90)

PIJ warns of "dangerous violation of red lines"

Additionally on Tuesday evening, Palestinian media reported that Israeli police prevented the evening call to prayer at al-Aqsa Mosque due to a Memorial Day ceremony being held at the Western Wall.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement called the prevention of the call to prayer a "flagrant violation of the religious rites of Muslims and "a dangerous violation of the red lines." The movement added that it holds Israel "fully responsible for what the situation will lead to."

"Settler calls to storm Al-Aqsa are a war against our people and our sanctities, and we will not hesitate to defend our Aqsa and our sanctuaries," said the movement.

Palestinian media published reports on Tuesday claiming that Jewish visitors to the site planned to carry Israeli flags and sing the Israeli national anthem on the Temple Mount.

Israel Police warned on Wednesday against attempts by terrorist organizations and other parties to spread incitement and "fake news" concerning the situation in Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount, stressing that "these are false publications that have no grip on reality and are published to deceive the public, escalate and incite."

Police reiterated that police regulations concerning permitting Muslim prayer and prohibiting Jewish prayer have not changed and are not expected to change.

"Anyone who disturbs the peace, incites violence, riots and acts violently in any way - will be treated harshly and with zero tolerance," said Israel Police. "Any support, identification or activity within the framework of terrorist organizations will be handled by the security forces with determination and with all the forces and means at our disposal."

Tensions remain high in Jerusalem

Tensions around the Temple Mount and al-Aqsa Mosque have heightened in recent weeks, amid clashes between Israeli security forces and Arab rioters at the site.

A large Hamas banner featuring a greeting for Eid al-Fitr and a photo of a Hamas terrorist was raised on the Temple Mount on Monday morning, as over 200,000 Arabs visited the site to celebrate the holiday marking the end of the Ramadan month of fasting. The banner was removed shortly after it was raised and one of the people responsible for raising it was arrested later in the day, according to police.

Hamas's leader in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar, warned Israel against "attacking" al-Aqsa Mosque, claiming that the movement would fire a barrage of 1,111 rockets in the next conflict with Israel, during a speech on Saturday.

"Our people and our nation must prepare for a big battle if the occupation does not stop attacking al-Aqsa Mosque," said Sinwar. "Harming al-Aqsa and Jerusalem means a regional war, and we will not hesitate to take any decision with our sanctities."

The Hamas leader addressed the other Palestinian factions in Gaza saying that they must be on alert "for the battle did not end with the end of Ramadan, but will really begin with its end."