Fatah, the political party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, called for a “Day of Rage” Friday in the defense of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, after Israel closed the site Thursday amid continuing East Jerusalem riots and after the attempted assassination of a right-wing activist.
The official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported the call to action on Thursday.
“Fatah calls to its fighters and to the masses of the Palestinian people to aid the Al-Aqsa Mosque and occupied Jerusalem,” Fatah said in an announcement that was translated into English by Israel-based Palestinian Media Watch.
Israel has since announced it would reopen the site for Friday prayers.
WAFA also reported that the Fatah Mobilization and Organization Commission had “called to set tomorrow as a day of rage throughout the homeland and in countries which are home to refugees, to express the Palestinian people’s opposition to any attack on the holy places and foremost among them the Al-Aqsa Mosque… And to consider desecration of Al-Aqsa as a declaration of a religious war against the Palestinian people and the Arab Islamic nations.”
The declaration came after Israeli police closed the compound early Thursday out of fear of clashes in the wake of the shooting the night before of Yehudah Glick, a right-wing activist who campaigns for Jewish access to the site, and as Israeli right-wing groups vowed to march on the Temple Mount.
Glick was left in serious but stable condition at Shaare Zedek Medical Center after being shot by an assailant on a motorcycle Wednesday night as he left a conference entitled “Israel returns to the Temple Mount” in central Jerusalem.
An Arab suspect, identified in the media as Mu’taz Hijazi, was killed in a gunfight with police early Thursday morning in the mixed Jewish-Arab Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Tor.
Fatah’s official Facebook page published a poster praising Hijazi as a martyr.
The text on the poster reads, “The Palestinian National Liberation Movement–Fatah announces the death of its heroic Martyr, ‘the Martyr of Jerusalem’ Mutaz Ibrahim Khalil Hijazi who carried out the assassination of Rabbi Yehudah Glick and who rose to Heaven on Thursday, August 30, 2014, after a gunfight with the forces of the Zionist occupation in Jerusalem.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has charged that Abbas was inciting the escalating violence in East Jerusalem.
According to PMW, Abbas was seen in a short video aired on Palestinian Authority television calling to “use all ways” to stop Jews from entering the Temple Mount compound. The video aired 25 times over the past two weeks, the Israeli watchdog said.
The Glick shooting came after weeks of rising tensions between Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem. Last week, a Palestinian man drove a car into a crowded train platform located along the seam separating East and West Jerusalem, killing two. In the days following, Palestinians have clashed continuously with Israeli police in Arab neighborhoods of the capital. Israel responded to the rise in violence by increasing its police presence, deploying an additional 1,000 officers to the city.