Israel Restricts Palestinians from Entering Al-Aqsa Mosque During Ramadan

Al Aqsa Mosque
Photo: Martin Forciniti

On Monday, 20 March 2023, the Israeli government officially announced several restrictions on Palestinians who wish to enter the Al Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan.

As a reporter by Anadolu Agency, Coordinator of Government Activities In the Territories, Maj Gen. Ghassan Alyan, said in a statement that only women of all ages, male children up to the age of 12, and men over 55 years are allowed to enter Al-Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan without a permit.

Meanwhile, men aged 45 to 55 must first obtain permission from the Israeli authorities to enter the Al-Aqsa Holy Complex.

The Israeli official added that security clearance is also required for Palestinians in the West Bank who wish to visit their family members in the 48 territories. The same permission applies to Palestinian with foreign nationals who will see their relatives in the West Bank.

Alyan emphasized that operating hours at various West Bank crossings would also be increased during the holy month of Ramadan.

The statement also explained that Israel imposed a limited quota for women visitors aged 50 and over and men aged 55 to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque from Sunday to Thursday.

This is not the first time Israel has restricted access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan. Last year, Israel also announced restrictions on visiting the historic holy site in Jerusalem only for women, children, and men over 50.

Mahmoud Al-Habbash, the aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, once responded to the Israeli-imposed restrictions on entering Al-Aqsa by saying that praying in the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque is an exclusive right for Muslims and supervision of the mosque is the sole responsibility of the Islamic Waqf, where the occupying power and their authorities should have no right to interfere in the affairs of the mosque.

He described Israel’s actions against the Al-Aqsa Mosque and its worshippers, including determining the age of those allowed to pray there, as “insults,” an attack on Muslims’ religious rights, and a flagrant violation of international law.

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