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Security Arrangements for the Zionist Outpost at Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan; Goals and Responses

22 Feb 2024 23:30

Islam Times - Israeli security officials have cautioned that the security decisions regarding Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan could escalate the conflict with Hamas into a broader conflict involving all Muslims.

The revelation of the security blueprint by the Zionist regime for Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan, entailing stricter limitations on Palestinian worshippers, has ignited substantial controversy. Amidst the widespread and vehement reactions from Palestinians, Zionists have voiced apprehensions regarding the potential escalation of security tensions, particularly since this decision impacts not only West Bank residents but also Arab inhabitants settled in the occupied territories since 1948.

This issue gained prominence following reports from Israel's Channel 13 on Monday, indicating that Netanyahu, in response to a request from Itamar Ben-Gvir, the radical Minister of Internal Security Affairs, has endorsed a plan to curtail Palestinians' access to Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan.

According to Haaretz newspaper, this decision emerged subsequent to a cabinet meeting on Sunday, attended by senior officials from the regime's security apparatus, convened to finalize security consultations ahead of the respected month of Ramadan. During this session, it was resolved that, alongside existing constraints, new criteria for worshippers' entry into Al-Aqsa Mosque would be delineated, guided by directives issued by the Israeli regime's police force.

Nevertheless, the ultimate resolution of this matter remains pending, with Benny Gantz, the regime's Minister of Defense, affirming that security deliberations are ongoing. He emphasized, "Given the delicate nature of the prevailing circumstances, restrictions will be enforced solely based on security imperatives," while underscoring that the specifics of these restrictions are yet to be determined."

Speculations about the security plan of Ben-Gvir

Ben-Gvir's proposal hasn't been officially disclosed by the cabinet. However, local media channels of the regime have referenced their insiders within the cabinet and security apparatus over the past couple of days, offering insights into it.

The Israel Broadcasting Authority, on Monday, conveyed that "security agencies are set to provide their suggestions regarding the types of limitations to be placed on worshippers' access to Al-Aqsa Mosque throughout the Ramadan period to the Council of Ministers."

Israeli authorities have indicated that this protocol will be put into effect in the initial week of Ramadan, and upon its conclusion, a determination will be made regarding the continuation of this approach or the addition of further restrictions.

According to Channel 13 television of the government, one contentious element of the proposal is to prohibit Palestinian worshippers from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque for prayers during Ramadan from the West Bank and from areas within the Green Line leading to occupied al-Quds.

Additionally, as reported by the Israeli television network, citing two sources, the Israeli police have suggested barring men under the age of forty from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan and also specifying the age range of children and women permitted to enter.

Furthermore, as per this security official, the police have recommended deploying a permanent presence in the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan to promptly counter what they characterized as "provocative campaigns" or the display of Hamas flags.

In the midst of these events, certain media sources have suggested that both Shin Bet and the Israeli army are considering permitting only Palestinians aged 45 and above to access Al-Aqsa Mosque, while the Israeli police propose a minimum age of 60 for entry.

Furthermore, "Maariv," an Israeli newspaper, has highlighted Ben-Gvir's call for barring West Bank residents from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque, instead advocating for entry only for individuals aged 70 and above among Arab residents of the occupied territories.

Since the commencement of the devastating conflict initiated by the Zionist regime in Gaza on October 7, Palestinians' access to Al-Aqsa Mosque has been severely restricted, particularly on Fridays, in tandem with heightened assaults on the West Bank, significantly limiting movement.

Al-Aqsa Mosque holds the status of the third holiest site in Islam and remains a focal point of contention between the occupying regime and Palestinians. Jews regard it as the "Temple Mount," considering it their most sacred religious site.

Although Zionist military forces have historically overseen entry regulations for this sacred site, which falls under Jordanian custodianship per international agreements, the rise of the hardline Netanyahu administration and the implementation of the Al-Aqsa Storm Operation have led to a marked increase in settler and military attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque and the mistreatment of Palestinian worshippers.

Data indicates a surge in violence, resulting in the deaths of over 399 Palestinians at the hands of the army or Israeli settlers.

Wide Palestinian Anger; The Goal is Judaization of al-Quds City

The announcement of heightened security measures for worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque during the sacred month of Ramadan has incited a surge of angry and opposing responses among Palestinians.

According to the Palestinian news agency "Wafa," which references the High Fatwa Council and Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, the mosque's preacher, the directive to prohibit Muslims from accessing Al-Aqsa Mosque is deemed "invalid and contradictory to the freedom of worship." He cautioned against the potential onset of a religious conflict.

The High Fatwa Council in Palestine has also issued a call for those able to journey to Al-Aqsa Mosque and safeguard it. Furthermore, the council underscored that Israel's decision, aimed at emptying the mosque of worshippers, aligns with the execution of the Judaization agenda for al-Quds.

The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) also condemned the Zionist regime's decision to restrict Palestinians' access to the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan.

Hamas stated in a declaration that the acceptance of the proposal by Ben-Gvir, an extremist Zionist minister, by Netanyahu to limit Palestinians' entry into Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan, "is an expansion of Zionist crimes and a religious war led by extremist settlers against the Palestinian people."

Hamas interpreted the infringement upon worship freedom at the respected Al-Aqsa Mosque as proof of the occupiers' intention to heighten their hostilities against the mosque during Ramadan.

This movement, in a statement from the people of Palestine in the occupied territories, al-Quds, and the West Bank, urged to reject this "criminal decision" and "resist against the occupiers' brutality." Hamas also warned the Zionists against harming Al-Aqsa Mosque or restricting worship there.

Similarly, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine declared that "the occupier's decision to prevent our people from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan is part of the enemy's all-out war to end our existence through destruction, displacement, siege of holy sites, expansion of settlements, and so on."

The PFLP emphasized that our people have no choice but to defend their existence and confront this blind hatred and brutal crimes in Gaza, the West Bank, and our lands occupied since 1948, through intensifying all forms of resistance.

However, the joint warning of Palestinian groups regarding the regime's sinister plan to change the status of Al-Aqsa Mosque and expedite its Judaization under the pretext of security concerns has coincided with the blunt remarks of Bezalel Smotrich, Israel's Finance Minister, who reportedly said to Maariv newspaper, "Restricting entry to Al-Aqsa Mosque is an excellent opportunity to change course."

The Al-Aqsa Mosque is the "Key to Peace and War

Simultaneously with the strong responses from Palestinian factions and public sentiment regarding the regime's security measures concerning the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, Israeli security officials caution that these decisions might transform the conflict against Hamas into a broader "conflict against all Muslims" and endanger Israel's security.

As reported by the Palestinian website Al Mashhad, a security body of the Zionist regime has cautioned that the Al-Aqsa Mosque could rally Muslims against Israel on both sides of the Green Line.

According to the report, the Israeli Public Security Service characterized the crisis situation in al-Quds and the 1948 territories (territories occupied in 1948) as more perilous than the instability in the West Bank.

Similarly, the Zionist regime's Radio and Television Corporation stated that the army and the internal security agency (Shin Bet) did not endorse Ben-Gvir's proposal due to concerns about exacerbating tensions in al-Quds and the West Bank, as well as the occurrence of unrest among Palestinians in Israel.

In agreement, Zaid Al-Ayoubi, a Palestinian political analyst, asserts: "Israel's proposed measures are likely to escalate tensions in all West Bank cities, given that the new actions represent an assault on the religious freedoms of Palestinians."

He affirms that Netanyahu's right-wing administration is intentionally broadening the conflict into the West Bank to maintain its authority and presence in the political arena, particularly amid the Israeli public's scrutiny following the failed hostage rescue and its link to the events of October 7.

Al-Ayoubi stressed that the Al-Aqsa Mosque serves as the "Key to Peace and War" between Israelis and Palestinians, citing that the initial and subsequent intifadas, along with recent conflicts in Gaza, have largely revolved around assaults on the mosque and constraints on worshippers.

In a related manner, Dr. Mahmoud al-Habbash, Palestine's Attorney General and Presidential Advisor on Religious Affairs and Islamic Relations, cautioned about the ramifications of this decision in an interview with Al Mashhad. He described it as Israel's bid to incite a religious conflict not only in Palestine but potentially across the wider region and globally. He remarked, "If implemented, this decision will have long-lasting and perilous repercussions, fueling further escalation." al-Habbash underscored, "Al-Aqsa Mosque isn't merely a place of worship for Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims; it represents religious and cultural identity. Thus, Palestinians will not tolerate such a decree."

Dr. al-Habbash urged for immediate intervention by Arab and international nations to prevent a catastrophic religious war stemming from Israel's arrogant policies. He warned that if not addressed promptly, such policies could lead to an explosion of conflict at any moment, with the world bearing the consequences.

Story Code: 1117994

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