Palestinians pray in the streets of Jerusalem after denied Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa - Phoot credit Middle East Monitor Twitter account
CAIRO – 15 July 2017: Social media users launched an electronic campaign with hashtags #openAl-AqsaMosque and #AlAqsa on Saturday following the Israeli forces’ closure of the holy mosque compound after a shooting on Friday that led to the killing of three Palestinians and two Israeli soldiers.
Israel restricted access to Jerusalem for non-residents for the second day and set up checkpoints and limited traffic on some roads close to the city, claiming it was searching for weaponry.
The electronic campaign witnessed the participation and support of the Egyptian Dar Al-Ifta, former Egyptian Grand Mufti Dr. Ali Gomaa, Yemeni Islamic scholar and spiritual educator Habib Ali Zain al-Abidin al-Jifri, and Ahmed Abo El-Azm, assistant advisor to Egypt’s Grand Mufti, denouncing what the occupation forces did, saying, "Now it is time for Al-Asr prayer, and Al-Aqsa mosque did not raise the adhaan (Muslim call for prayer)."
Egyptian Dar Al-Ifta – Open Al-Aqsa Mosque
Ahmed Abo El-Azm – “Now it is time for Al-Asr prayer and Al-Aqsa mosque did not raise the adhaan (Muslim call for prayer)."
Dr. Ali Gomaa – “Now it is time for Al-Asr prayer and Al-Aqsa mosque did not raise the adhaan (Muslim call for prayer)."
Arabi21 website published a caricature saying “Al-Aqsa in danger and terrorism in Qatar”
The closure drew complaints from the Jordanian-appointed Waqf Muslim Trust that administers the compound and Al-Aqsa Mosque under the Jordanian-Israeli peace agreement “Wadi Araba”. According to Russia Today, the Israeli government rejected on Saturday the adopted position by the Jordanian government regarding the situation in Jerusalem. The channel added that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "Israel rejects the statement issued by Jordan on Jerusalem. Instead of condemning the operation, Jordan preferred to condemn Israel, which protects worshipers and preserves freedom of worship in holy places."
Furthermore, on Saturday, several demonstrations took place in Jordan, Turkey and other Muslim capitals to object the Israeli closure of the mosque throughout Friday and Saturday.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun also condemned on Saturday the “repeated Israeli attacks" on Al-Aqsa Mosque according to Russian news agency Sputnik.
On Friday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned of a flare-up of violence and called on all parties to avoid escalation and urged the Palestinians and Israelis to exercise maximum restraint.
This is the third time to close the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound since Israel's capture of East Jerusalem in 1967. The last time the compound was closed off to Muslims was in 2014, when far-right Jewish leader Yehuda Glick was shot in the area, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Glick currently serves as a member of Israel’s Knesset (Parliament). On Friday and Saturday, clashes broke out between Israeli forces and Palestinians trying to reach Al-Aqsa Mosque.
According to the Times of Israel website, the compound will gradually reopen for Muslim worship on Sunday.