Israeli desecration of the Gate of Mercy chapel in Al-Aqsa Mosque draws Palestinian angertext_fields
Ramallah: The Bab al-Rahma Chapel, also known as the Gate of Mercy, a sacred place of worship for both Muslims and Christians within the Al-Aqsa Mosque, has been repeatedly attacked and desecrated by Israelis, leading to widespread condemnation from the Palestinian authority.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh has stated that the chapel is an integral part of Al-Aqsa and only Muslims have the right to control its affairs. He emphasized that the removal of items from the chapel and its vandalization by Israel were unacceptable.
Ramzi Khoury, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee, has reported that extremist settler groups raised Israeli flags in the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque and performed religious rituals, describing their actions as unprecedented aggression against the sanctity of Al-Aqsa. Khoury added that the Israeli actions were a desecration of its religious status and a provocation to Muslims worldwide.
According to Rawhi Fattouh, president of the Palestinian National Council, the Israeli raids on the chapel constituted a flagrant violation of places of worship and an attempt to give a religious character to the conflict, which would ignite the region and worsen the situation. He called on the international community to curb the "criminal madness" of the Israeli government and its National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.
Osama Al-Qawasmi, a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, accused Israel of conducting a cowardly and provocative attack on Bab Al-Rahma as part of its systematic campaign to Judaize Jerusalem. Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the spokesman for the Palestinian presidency, stated that Israeli vandalism confirmed that the extremist government was looking for ways to detonate the situation, adding that destructive policies sought to destroy any regional or international effort to provide stability.
Abu Rudeineh warned that Israel was playing with fire, as the chapel was an integral part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. On Wednesday, Israeli police stormed Bab Al-Rahma for a fourth consecutive day, cutting off the electricity supply and damaging installations inside the chapel. Palestinians were able to open the Gate of Mercy chapel in February 2019, after it was closed by Israeli authorities for 16 years.
The Bab al-Rahma Chapel, also known as the Gate of Mercy, is an important site within the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in Jerusalem. It is located on the eastern side of the mosque and is built by the Umayyads about 1,300 years ago as a standard door between the Jerusalem Wall and the eastern Al-Aqsa Mosque.
While the chapel is considered a sacred site by Muslims, it is also significant to Christians, as it is believed to be the location of the Gate of Mercy mentioned in the New Testament. The site has therefore been the subject of religious and political tensions between Muslim and Jewish authorities, as well as between Palestinians and Israelis.
In recent years, the Bab al-Rahma Chapel has become a symbol of Muslim and Christian cooperation in Palestine, with both communities working together to protect the site and prevent its closure by Israeli authorities. However, the situation remains complex and contested, and the status of the chapel within the larger Al-Aqsa Mosque complex remains a sensitive issue for many in the region.