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Homechevron_rightMiddle Eastchevron_rightPalestinians brace for...

Palestinians brace for Ramadan amid heightened Israeli attack

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Gaza: As Palestinians prepare for Ramadan, the atmosphere is subdued, marked by increased measures by Israeli forces and the looming threat of conflict and hunger in Gaza.

Israeli police have deployed thousands in the Old City of Jerusalem, particularly around the Al Aqsa mosque compound, anticipating large crowds.

This holy site, known as Temple Mount to Jews, has historically been a flashpoint for tensions and was a catalyst for the 2021 war.

With the ongoing conflict now in its sixth month, the usual festive mood surrounding Ramadan is overshadowed. The current war, which began on October 7, has resulted in over 31,000 casualties and heightened concerns about famine in Gaza. The Old City of Jerusalem, normally adorned for Ramadan, remains undecorated this year as a symbol of respect for those affected by the conflict.

Despite the somber mood, plans for Ramadan prayers at Al Aqsa continue, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu affirming that admission numbers will resemble those of the previous year. Azzam Al-Khatib, director general of the Jerusalem Waqf, emphasizes the need to protect Muslim presence at the mosque peacefully.

In contrast to previous years, festivities in towns across the occupied West Bank are muted, with around 400 Palestinians killed in clashes during the current conflict. Police are working to ensure a peaceful Ramadan, cracking down on "provocative" information on social media and arresting individuals suspected of incitement to resistance.

For the global Muslim community, Israel's control of Al Aqsa has been a longstanding point of contention. The current war has dampened hopes for a ceasefire, complicating prospects for a peaceful Ramadan and the release of Israeli hostages in Gaza. Talks in Cairo appear to be stalled, prolonging the uncertainty.

In Gaza, where a severe food shortage persists, Ramadan preparations are minimal.

Many families face challenging conditions, living in makeshift shelters. The city of Rafah, housing half of Gaza's 2.3 million population, lacks supplies, and residents express little enthusiasm for the usual festivities.

The West Bank, experiencing heightened violence, anticipates further clashes in volatile towns. Despite the challenges, individuals in Gaza and beyond express a collective hope for peace, with aspirations for better condition in the future.

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TAGS:GazaRamadanIsrael Palestine Conflict
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