PA says limiting Arabs at Temple Mount on Ramadan is tantamount to ‘holy war’

Government ministers are considering a policy to restrict the access of Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria to the Temple Mount during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

The Palestinian Authority’s foreign affairs department called a proposal to limit the number of Arabs allowed at the al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount during Ramadan “racist” and said it was “leading towards the declaration of a religious war.”

In addition, the PA said that if such a proposal goes through the international community should impose sanctions on Israel.

Islamic religious authorities within the PA called Israel’s government “colonizers” and said they were attempting to “Judaize” the mosque and imagine that the Holy Temple stood there.

In a statement, the religious authorities of the PA said, “The colonialist occupation authorities are leading towards the declaration of a religious war, which will strengthen the fires of hatred in the area and escalate friction.”

The statement then encouraged as many Muslims and possible to visit the al-Aqsa Mosque in defiance of the proposal.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu backed a proposal by National Security Advisor Ben Gvir to restrict the access of Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria to the Temple Mount during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which this year begins on March 10.

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The only age groups of Palestinians from Judea and Samaria allowed to go to the Temple Mount without restrictions are those under 10 and over 60, which would limit the visitors to 15,000.

However, many Arab Israelis, including those living in East Jerusalem will be allowed to visit the holy site.

In recent years, violence has flared up during Ramadan on the Temple Mount and it is feared that, given the ongoing war and the increase in terrorism in general, this Ramadan will be even more fraught than usual.

Although many opposition MKs criticized the proposal and said Netanyahu’s agreeing with it was a “capitulation to the far right,” the present policy is a compromise from Ben Gvir’s initial proposal, which would restrict any Arabs from Judea and Samaria to enter Israel, particularly Jerusalem, at all during Ramadan.

Responding to criticism, the Prime Minister’s office said that Netanyahu “made a balanced decision that allows freedom of religion with necessary security limits, which have been set by professional officials.”