Israel easing Ramadan security, despite recent uptick in terror

Gazans will be granted permits to visit relatives incarcerated on terror charges; PA residents to get widespread access to Temple Mount.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Israel is planning on easing a number of restrictions and security measures for Gazans and Arab residents of Palestinian Authority-controlled municipalities in Judea and Samaria ahead of Ramadan.

Shin Bet officials have warned, however, that they expect a rise in violence during the month-long Muslim holiday.

Despite a spate of stabbing attacks perpetrated by Arab assailants in Jerusalem in recent weeks, the Israeli government is reportedly hoping that eased security measures will help relieve tensions and reduce the potential for violent rioting and terror attacks.

Among the eased restrictions Israel is reportedly planning to roll out is an initiative, spearheaded by Defense Minister Benny Gantz, to issue permits allowing Palestinians from Gaza to visit their relatives who are incarcerated on terror charges in Israeli prisons, Kan Reshet Bet reported.

Additionally, Israeli authorities will allow Palestinian Arabs virtually unfettered access to the Temple Mount for prayer during Ramadan. This marks the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and the Gaza-Israel escalation in May 2021 that residents of PA-controlled areas will be permitted to to visit the site in large numbers.

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Attorney-General Gali Baharav Miara warned Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev last week that he has no authority to preemptively ban Jewish MKs from ascending the Temple Mount during Ramadan. Nevertheless, Israeli authorities may restrict access for Jews to the site, fearing Arab violence.

“These will be very complex days, and we are making preparations for all eventualities, including extreme events,” a senior security official told Kan News.

“That means using all our intelligence capabilities, as well as forces on the ground. All the same, we will also be doing our utmost to ease restrictions on movement for Palestinian laborers, which means, among other things, extending the hours during which crossings are open.”