Israel to 'ease restrictions' on Palestinians during Ramadan to 'prevent unrest'
The Israeli government has rejected a request from the Israeli police to limit the number of Palestinians who can access the Al-Aqsa complex during Ramadan, and will instead ease restrictions on Palestinian worshippers.
The police request came following a series of attacks in Israel over the past weeks that have killed at least 11 people.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett convened a security cabinet on Wednesday to discuss the recent string of attacks and decided to ease restrictions placed upon Palestinians to enter Al-Aqsa during Ramadan to prevent further unrest, The Times of Israel reported.
The cabinet has instead opted to bolster security around the holy Al-Aqsa complex, while Bennett urged Israelis to arm themselves.
Several members of Israel’s security establishment had called for Tel Aviv to impose harsher punishments on Palestinians in light of recent attacks, such as locking down the West Bank or restricting access to Al-Aqsa.
The Al-Aqsa complex is the third holiest site for Muslims. Last Ramadan a series of attacks by Israeli security forces and extremists on Palestinian worshippers there led to hundreds of Palestinians being injured and sparked a deadly conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
There are fears of violence around the holy complex as the month of Ramadan clashes with the 74th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba and with the Jewish holiday of Passover.
Israel has continued its persecution of Palestinians, increasing house demolitions this year. A recent report by Amnesty International has described Israel's treatment of Palestinians as "apartheid".