Middle east

Israel Prevents Worshipers from Entering Al-Aqsa Mosque on the First Nights of Ramadan

The Israeli government is escalating tensions in Jerusalem despite regional and international warnings and threats from Hamas

Israeli police prevented hundreds of Palestinian worshipers from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque and assaulted several of them on the first nights of the blessed month of Ramadan, according to eyewitnesses, after Minister of National Security, extremist Itamar Ben Gvir, pledged to prevent West Bank residents from performing their rituals amidst fears of repercussions following Hamas‘ call for mobilization to protect the sanctities.

Eyewitnesses reported that large Israeli police forces barred hundreds of worshipers, who attempted to enter from several gates of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, allowing only those above the age of 40 and women to enter. They also stated that the forces assaulted worshipers who were prevented from entering at the Council Gate, one of the gates of Al-Aqsa.

Earlier on Sunday, the Israeli Broadcasting Authority (official) reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had taken upon himself the responsibility to decide whether to storm Al-Aqsa during Ramadan.

In recent weeks, the Shin Bet security agency and the army urged Netanyahu to make the unprecedented decision regarding whether to raid the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, as such an event could lead to many possible consequences, according to the authority.

They believed that this step indicates the lack of trust of the Shin Bet and the army in the police and its supervisor, Itamar Ben Gvir.

Days ago, Netanyahu rejected a recommendation from Ben Gvir not to allow residents of the occupied West Bank to enter the holy sanctuary during Ramadan, while allowing Palestinian Israeli residents to enter from the age of 70 and above.

Israeli opposition warned against the role of the extreme right in escalating tensions in Jerusalem, urging Netanyahu not to succumb to it.

Hamas warned of targeting the Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan, as the spokesman for the Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the movement, supported residents of the West Bank to mobilize to defend their sanctities.

He said, “The people of Gaza have preceded the month of Ramadan with jihad in the path of Allah,” adding that “the Zionists stand in front of a nation of billions on the threshold of the month of Ramadan, and they do not attach importance to the sanctity of their Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Palestinians argue that Israel is working to Judaize occupied East Jerusalem, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and they insist on the city as the capital of their hoped-for state, based on international legitimacy resolutions that do not recognize Israel’s occupation of the city in 1967 or its annexation in 1981.

This Ramadan comes amid a devastating war waged by Israel on the Gaza Strip since October 7, 2023, leaving tens of thousands of civilian casualties, mostly children and women, and causing a humanitarian catastrophe and immense destruction, according to Palestinian and international data.

Israel insists on continuing the war despite facing, for the first time since its establishment in 1948, trial at the International Court of Justice on charges of committing “genocide” against the Palestinians.

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