Skip to main content

Netanyahu bans Palestinians of 1948 from Aqsa during Ramadan

Israeli PM Netanyahu 'bans Palestinians of 1948 from Al-Aqsa' during Ramadan
3 min read
18 February, 2024
Despite security warnings, Israel PM Netanyahu has agreed to limit Palestinians' access to Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan, likey to spark further conflict.

In a move sure to ignite tensions in the Palestinian territories, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly agreed to limit the entry of Palestinian citizens of Israel Israelis to Al Aqsa Mosque during the upcoming Ramadan holy Muslim Month.

This decision, reported by Israel's Channel 13, comes despite strong opposition from the Shin Bet security service, who warned it could exacerbate unrest.

Netanyahu's agreement follows pressure from far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who has long advocated for restricting Palestinian access to the holy site.

But a report in Israel's Channel 12 claimed Netanyahu remains undecided. No official announcement has come yet.

Al-Aqsa Mosque, revered by Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) and by Jews as the 'Temple Mount', is a deeply sensitive flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

Israel annexted Jerusalem in the 1967 war, a move considered illegal under international law. It has no legal sovereignty over the holy sites in Jerusalem, subject to agreements known as the Status Quo in the Old City.

Tensions typically rise during Ramadan, starting in mid-March this year, and this decision risks adding further fuel to the fire.

Israel's internal security agency Shin Bet reportedly cautioned against the restrictions, particularly if applied to Palestinian citizens and permanent residents of Israel, fearing it would provoke backlash.

A report in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz suggested the limitations on the Palestinian citizens of Israel will be based on age and residential areas. Netanyahu reportedly rejected Ben-Gvir's more provocative proposal of allowing police incursions into the compound.

The Shin Bet reportedly proposed allowing access to a limited number of older worshippers over 60, subject to prior approval and security checks. 

Netanyahu's purported decision will likely face legal challenges and will be roundly condemned by the Palestinians.

Live Story

Gaza war will continue during Ramadan

Israeli far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir called on Saturday for a ban on Palestinian Muslims visiting Al-Aqsa Mosque during the upcoming month of Ramadan

According to Israeli broadcaster Channel 12, Ben-Gvir is also pushing to ban Palestinian citizens of Israel below the age of 70 from entering the site, claiming such age restrictions are necessary for "security reasons". 

However, the channel reported that Israeli police forces disagree with the extreme-right minister and support the entrance of Palestinian citizens over 45 to the Al-Aqsa complex.

Meanwhile, the Shin Bet, Israel’s Internal Security Service, believe there should not be any limitations for Palestinians to visit the holy site.  

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the decision during a meeting of the Israeli war cabinet

In previous years, Palestinians have undergone bouts of violence in the occupied territories triggered by Israeli settler groups assaulting worshippers going to pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. 

This comes as Israel's war cabinet also signalled there would be no let down in Israel's genocidal war on Gaza during Ramadan.

The war has killed more than 30,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, since 8 October.