Israel will not restrict access to Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan

The Israeli government confirmed on Tuesday that it will not impose any special restrictions on Israeli Arabs of Muslim faith access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, which begins between March 10 and 11, amid the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

“In the first week of Ramadan, believers will be allowed to enter the Temple Mount in similar numbers to previous years. “A security assessment is carried out every week and appropriate decisions are made,” said a statement from the Israeli prime minister’s office. Benjamin Netanyahu. “We will do everything we can to protect religious freedom,” he said before the decision at a meeting with senior defense officials and the minister of national security, the anti-Arab extremist. Itamar Ben Gvir.

The President of the United States, Joe BidenHe had warned hours earlier that the situation could become “very dangerous” if Israel and Hamas did not reach an agreement before the start of Ramadan. “If we continue under these circumstances until Ramadan, Israel and Jerusalem, it could be very dangerous.” “That’s why we’re making great efforts to achieve a ceasefire,” Biden said in statements to the press before boarding the Air Force One left to return to the White House after a few days at Camp David.

The United States, Qatar and Egypt, mediators between Hamas and Israel, were hoping to reach an agreement before the start of this holy month, when tensions between Israelis and Palestinians usually heat up over access to Jerusalem’s Old City. That’s why Ben Gvir wrote on social media that the “Hamas celebrations on the Temple Mount” were not the “total victory” that Israel had promised in its war against the Islamist group. The national security minister, known for his racist rhetoric, sharply criticized Netanyahu’s decision, believing it “endangers the citizens of Israel.”

“The decision to allow access to the Temple Mount in Ramadan similar to previous years shows that Netanyahu and the limited (war) cabinet believe that nothing happened on October 7,” he told Army Radio. The Israeli Defense Minister took the opposite view Yoav Gallant; the Chief of the General Staff, Dear Haleviand the director of the Shin Bet security service, Ronen Barhave advocated that Israeli Arabs of Muslim faith be given the greatest possible freedom to enter mosques during Ramadan in order to reduce tensions and prevent possible attacks.

In mid-January, Hamas called on Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank to rebel against any “criminal measure” that bans entry to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Every year during Ramadan, hundreds of thousands of Muslims come to the Esplanade of Mosques, which can accommodate about 400,000 people, although daily attendance is usually much lower. While Israel has imposed access restrictions on Palestinian Muslims living in the occupied West Bank during times of high tension, it has refrained from imposing these rules on the country’s Muslim minority.

Jewish Israelis call what Muslims call the Temple Mount, the Temple Mount on which the Al-Aqsa Mosque is located in the Old City of East Jerusalem. It is the holiest place for Judaism and the third holiest place for Islam, which has become a symbolic site of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Israel took control of the West Bank and East Jerusalem after the 1967 Six-Day War and has since maintained its military occupation and colonization of this Palestinian territory, which has seen the largest escalation of violence in two decades since the start of 2017 and 2023. .

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