Experts anticipate increased terrorism during Ramadan focused on Jerusalem

Israel is suffering an ongoing wave of terrorism and experts expect this to intensify when Ramadan begins Wednesday evening. Threats from Hamas and the Palestinian Authority suggest that the focus of violence will shift from Samaria to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.

On Sunday, Israeli police announced that they would increase security measures in response to threats by Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and the Palestinian Authority. Last Monday, the spokesman for the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group, Abu Hamza, spoke at a rally in Gaza, calling for Israeli Arabs to rise up en masse to wage intifada against Israelis.

“We call on all the fighters among our people and the free people in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] and in Israel to mobilize for this war, so that there will be an overall intifada that will create the basis for the end of our enemy and its expulsion from all of Palestine,” Abu Hamza said, also threatening Israel with rocket attacks from Gaza.

“We will turn the so-called Gaza envelope, including cities and the occupied colonies, into a place that cannot be lived in, and we will launch rockets to ever further ranges,” Hamza said.

Reuters quoted members of the Jenin Brigade, a Hamas terrorist group in Jericho, who threatened increased violence. 

“All the signs are that the intifada is coming,” they told Reuters. “There is a new generation of people who believe the only solution is armed struggle.”  

“The number of fighters is growing all the time and the enemy needs to know that violence against our people and our camps is increasing their number not reducing it,” the group said. 

It is likely that the focus of Arab violence will shift to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. Last week, Salah al-Arouri, deputy head of the Hamas political bureau, warned that the violence  “depends on the Israeli occupation’s violations across Palestine [Judea and Samaria] and at Al-Aqsa Mosque [the Temple Mount].” 

He said that Israel “tries to provoke the Palestinians in Ramadan, impose temporal and spatial division, and permit settlers to perform rituals,” and added that this “may prompt an action on the part of Palestinians.”

The Media Line reported on al-Arouri’s comments, noting that “the English-language version of Aruri’s remarks say that Hamas has ‘no plans’ to initiate an escalation during Ramadan, but the Arabic version does not include that disclaimer.”

Maor Tzemach, head of Lach Yerushalayim (your Jerusalem), warned that his organization had monitored a sharp rise in terrorist attacks along with increasing threats from Palestinian terrorist organizations.

“The current Mufti said he expects Arab countries to ‘defend Jerusalem and its residents,’ and that he hopes that there won’t be ‘Israeli provocations’ during Ramadan,” Tzemach told World Israel News. Tzemach explained that Jews visiting the site could be considered by the Palestinians as a form of “provocation”. 

This year, Passover falls on Ramadan. As a result, the Israeli government will place restrictions on non-Muslims during Ramadan, limiting visitation to four hours in the morning, five days a week. Non-Muslims will be entirely barred from the site on the last ten days of Ramadan. In addition, non-Muslims will be prohibited from bringing food or water to the site since Muslims are prohibited from eating or drinking during daylight hours. 

“We expect some kind of attack that will be justified as ‘protecting Al-Aqsa,’” Tzemach said.

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, an Israeli research institute specializing in public diplomacy, published a report on Thursday warning of dire possibilities during Ramadan. Citing increased violence, most notably a bombing attack in northern Israel attributed to Hezbollah, accompanied by threats from Palestinian leaders, the JCPA warned of escalation. The report noted a return to terrorists using explosive devices. 

The report quoted Marwan Issa, the deputy commander of Hamas’ military wing in the Gaza Strip, who told the Al-Aqsa channel on March 15, 2023, that the “political project in the West Bank has ended; the enemy brought the Oslo Accords to an end; and the coming days will be eventful.”

A political solution in the West Bank “is a thing of the past…. Any escalation in the Al-Aqsa Mosque area will result in a reaction in the Gaza Strip; Hamas in Gaza will not [just] be an observer to events in Jerusalem.”

“The desire to commit suicide among the (Muslim) residents of the West Bank is unprecedented, and the state of resistance in the West Bank is excellent. So is the state of national unity in the face of the Occupation,” Issa said.

The JCPA warned that localized terrorist attacks could spark a larger conflict.

“According to intelligence data from various sources, Israeli security officials assess that approaching the month of Ramadan there will be an unprecedented conflict with the Palestinian terrorist factions on several fronts that may deteriorate into a military conflict more acute than the conflict in the Gaza Strip in May 2021,” the JCPA claimed.

The JCPA pointed to Iran as the source of terrorism inside Israel.

“According to security officials in Israel, behind all this malevolent activity is Iran, which in the past year has smuggled arms and funds through Jordan to the northern West Bank into the hands of the terrorist organizations.”

“The axis of resistance led by Iran is preparing for a major escalation in the month of Ramadan. Israel is also seriously preparing for a scenario that may be bigger than the military conflict that took place in May 2021.”A wave of violence in Israel in 2021 increased after false reports in the Palestinian media claimed that the Israeli government was restricting Muslim access to the Temple Mount. This sparked off violent riots during Ramadan on the Temple Mount and in Israeli cities that were accompanied by rocket attacks from Gaza.

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