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Israel ‘still reviewing access to Al Aqsa mosque during Ramadan’

February 29, 2024 at 3:20 pm

A view of Dome of the Rock as the surroundings of the mosque stays empty due to Israeli forces continue to impose restrictions on Palestinians from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on February 23, 2024. [Mohammad Hamad – Anadolu Agency]

Israel is reviewing possible curbs on access to Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem throughout the upcoming Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, Reuters has reported. A government spokesperson made the announcement following media reports that the far-right minister for police might be overruled on the issue.

Al-Aqsa Mosque and Sanctuary is Islam’s third-holiest shrine and a focus of Palestinian statehood hopes. The site is also revered by Jews as a vestige of two ancient temples. Israeli controls on access have often stoked political friction, especially during Ramadan.

Apparently under pressure from National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week that there would be a quota for Israel’s Palestinian Muslim citizens who make up around 20 per cent of the population, and who wish to take part in prayers at Al-Aqsa during the fasting month. Ben-Gvir has since had security powers over Al-Aqsa removed from him by the Israeli War Cabinet.

READ: Hamas raises stakes in Gaza truce talks by calling for Ramadan march