Temple Mount disturbances during Ramadan could affect war in Gaza, defense minister warns

In a letter obtained by Ynet, the Defense Minister Yoav Gallant cautions security officials about the potential for escalation in violence in the West Bank that would require the reallocation of forces from Gaza and the northern border; He attributes the rising tensions to increasing incitement, the economic situation in the Palestinian Authority and provocative statements made by Israeli politicians

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant recently sent an internal document to the heads of the defense establishment, explicitly warning of a potential increase in security tensions throughout the West Bank during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins next week.
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The document, which was obtained by Ynet, was addressed to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense committees, IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevy, Mossad Director Dedi Barnea, Shin Bet Chief Ronen Bar, National Security Council head Tzachi Hanegbi, as well as members of the War Cabinet, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Ministers Benny Gantz and Gadi Eizenkot.
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שר הביטחון יואב גלנט בערכת מצב בגבול הצפון
שר הביטחון יואב גלנט בערכת מצב בגבול הצפון
Gallant with soldiers on the northern border
(Photo: Ariel Hermoni, Defense Ministry)
According to several sources, Gallant has previously made similar remarks in closed forums. However, this time he has chosen to issue the warning in writing and distribute it more widely. When asked about the document's content, Gallant's office declined to comment, expressing regret for the irresponsible leaks of sensitive materials.
During a discussion on preparations for Ramadan, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized Israel's longstanding policy of preserving freedom of worship for all religions. He affirmed that this policy has been consistently applied during Ramadan and will continue to be upheld. Netanyahu said that every effort will be made to ensure freedom of worship on the Temple Mount, while also maintaining appropriate security and safety measures. The goal is to enable the Muslim public to celebrate the holiday peacefully, he said.
In the internal document, Gallant emphasizes the importance of taking proactive measures within the defense establishment to prepare for a potential escalation in the West Bank during Ramadan. A discussion on this matter, involving Netanyahu, was set to be held on Tuesday.
Gallant underscored that the ability to continue operations and achieve objectives in Gaza relies heavily on maintaining security stability in the West Bank. "The escalation will impede our ongoing efforts and the execution of IDF missions to accomplish our war objectives, as it will require diverting forces from other areas to the West Bank," he wrote.
The document highlights that an escalation in the West Bank serves the interests of Hamas and Iran. According to Gallant, recent security incidents in the region, which have the potential to escalate further, have been closely monitored by the National Intelligence Directorate and Shin Bet. These agencies have classified the situation as a strategic warning of a potential violent outbreak.
The defense minister's document also emphasizes several contributing factors to the heightened sensitivity during this year's Ramadan. These factors include the increasing scope of ongoing terrorist events, the proliferation of incitement on social networks, extensive efforts by security forces to suppress such incidents, the deteriorating economic status in the West Bank due to the restriction on the entry of workers into Israel, and weakened security mechanisms resulting from the failure to transfer funds. One section of the document specifically addresses the "irresponsible statements" made by certain political figures in Israel regarding the Temple Mount ahead of Ramadan, a likely reference to National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.
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Itamar Ben-Gvir on Temple Mount compound
Itamar Ben-Gvir on Temple Mount compound
Itamar Ben-Gvir visits the Temple Mount compound
(Photo: Courtesy)
Gallant emphasizes the need to allow the entry of Palestinian workers in a controlled manner according to the model established by the Shin Bet, facilitate the transfer of clearance funds according to the agreed-upon model in the Cabinet, and work toward reducing tensions with the civilian population to safeguard freedom of worship.
Regarding the issue of the Temple Mount, he states: "We must permit the entry of Palestinians to the Temple Mount with certain restrictions as recommended by the IDF and Shin Bet, and promptly communicate clear decisions." He insists that any entrance of security forces to the Temple Mount in a provocative situation should require approval from the prime minister, except in cases involving immediate life-threatening risks.
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