Home NEWS International News Gaza war fuels Jerusalem fears as Ramadan set to begin

Gaza war fuels Jerusalem fears as Ramadan set to begin

There are renewed fears of violence spreading, particularly to Jerusalem, during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, as a truce remains elusive.

Hamas has reiterated a call for Palestinians to step up visits to al-Aqsa Mosque.

Channel 1

Israel has accused Hamas of “striving to ignite the region during Ramadan”, which is due to begin in the next few days.

The third holiest shrine in Islam is a place of worship for local Muslims.

But the site – also the holiest place in Judaism, known as Temple Mount – is often a flashpoint during flare-ups in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Ramadan is due to begin on 10 or 11 March depending on sighting of the new moon.

This week, the courtyards of al-Aqsa were calm as I visited, but Palestinian worshippers’ minds were on the war.

“People don’t feel like celebrating and enjoying the regular Ramadan traditions,” said one woman, Ayat, sadly. “This year, they won’t go ahead because of what’s happening in Gaza.”

Hopes that a 40-day ceasefire could take effect by the start of Ramadan have faded although Egyptian sources say mediators will again meet a Hamas delegation on Sunday to try to reach an agreement with Israel.

Israel said on Saturday that its spy chief had met with his US counterpart as it continued efforts to try to release dozens of hostages.

Afterwards the Israeli prime minister’s office released a statement saying Hamas was “holding to its position,” as if it was “uninterested in a deal.”

A framework plan being discussed would see some of the Israeli hostages snatched by Hamas in its deadly 7 October attacks released in exchange for Palestinian prisoners and an increase in aid, amid UN warnings of famine.

 

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