Middle East Conflict: Palestinians Urge 'Day of Rage' As Israel Imposes Holy Site Measures After Attack

The Palestinian Fatah party, led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, called for a "Day of Rage" on Wednesday to protest new Israeli security measures at the contested Jerusalem holy site after a deadly shooting attack that killed two policemen last week.

Israel closed the site on Friday after three Arab-Israeli citizens from the northern city of Umm al-Fahm carried out a shooting attack near the entrance to the site known as the Temple Mount to Jews, and the Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary, to Muslims.

Israeli authorities reopened the compound to Muslims on Sunday, and non-Muslims on Monday, but with extra security measures, such as metal detectors. The city's police said it was a necessary requirement for the site to open.

In response, Fatah demanded marches toward Israeli checkpoints Wednesday, which are stationed across the West Bank territory that Palestinians seek for a future state but where hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers now live and where Israel maintains a military occupation.

Fatah leaders said that Friday prayers, when many Palestinians travel to the Jerusalem holy site, would instead be conducted in public squares in protest and sermons dedicated to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the venerated Muslim house of worship that sits within the site's compound. The Palestinian movement called Israel's new measures a "fierce and organized attack" against Palestinians in East Jerusalem, which was captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.

Jerusalem's Old City
Palestinian Muslims protest outside the entrance to the old city of Jerusalem as it is partially blocked by Israeli Police on July 17, 2017 in Jerusalem, Israel. Following Friday's terror attack the holy site of Al Aqsa mosque was partly closed. Now only individuals can enter through metal detectors which has sparked outrage in the Muslim community. Ilia Yefimovich/Getty

Both the Israelis and the Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital.

Jews cannot pray at Temple Mount, and instead pray at the adjoining Western Wall. A Palestinian-Jordanian waqf, or Islamic trust, governs the site, despite Israel's control of the surrounding territory, because of the sensitivity of its status.

On Monday, Islamic leaders condemned Israel's decision to close the site for the first time in decades, calling on Muslims to begin a boycott in protest of the new measures.

Palestinians subsequently rioted in Jerusalem, clashing with Israeli security forces near the Old City's Lion's Gate entrance.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the metal detectors would remain in order to prevent another deadly assault against authorities.

"I understand there is friction around the matter of the metal detectors. But we also understand that we can find ourselves in another terror attack like this and these means are necessary, including the security cameras that we intend to place around the area," he said.

Tensions have continued to simmer in the city after a wave of stabbing, shooting and vehicle-ramming attacks by Palestinians in Jerusalem, other Israeli cities and the West Bank in October 2015.

Israel blames Palestinian leaders for incitement to violence while the Palestinians charge Israel's military occupation and attempts to change the delicate status quo at the contested holy site as the factors behind the violent attacks.