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Ben-Gvir demands limit on worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan

March 4, 2024 at 11:55 am

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 16, 2024. [Mohammad Hamad – Anadolu Agency]

Extremist Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir demanded on Sunday that Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai allow only a few thousand Muslims to enter Al-Aqsa Mosque during the month of Ramadan.

Israel’s Maariv newspaper reported: “Ben-Gvir told Shabtai during their meeting, on Sunday, that it would be right to limit the number of Muslim worshippers in Al-Aqsa Mosque to only a few thousand, so that the police will be fully prepared and able to respond quickly in the event of an outbreak of unrest.”

The security establishment and political level in Israel have not yet decided how the entry of Muslim worshippers into Al-Aqsa Mosque will be organised during the month of Ramadan, which is expected to start on 11 March, according to this year’s astronomical calculations.

According to Maariv: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to hold an additional discussion tomorrow (Monday) on the issue of restrictions in Al-Aqsa Mosque during the month of Ramadan, attended by Ben-Gvir, Shabtai, and officials in the Shin Bet and the Israeli army.”

Last month, the security services in Israel expressed their objection to Ben-Gvir’s intention to prevent the entry of Palestinians from the West Bank to Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan and to restrict the entry of Palestinians from Jerusalem and the territories occupied in 1948, warning that this would cause an escalation of the situation in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Talk about restricting the entry of Palestinian worshippers to Al-Aqsa during Ramadan has sparked widespread local and Arab condemnation, given the mosque’s status among Muslims.

Since the beginning of the war on the Gaza Strip, the Israeli police have imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshippers from all areas to Al-Aqsa Mosque, especially on Fridays.

Read: Will there be another confrontation in Al-Aqsa Mosque this Ramadan?