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Commencement of Ramadan Amidst Conflict: Muslims in the Middle East Enter the Holy Month

On Sunday, Muslims congregated at the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem to mark the commencement of Ramadan. Despite the mosque’s historical association with flare-ups in Israeli-Palestinian tensions, Tel Aviv confirmed that worship at the site would not be curtailed.

On Sunday, Muslims gathered at the Al-Aqsa mosque on Temple Mount in Jerusalem to observe the commencement of the holy month of Ramadan amid the most intense conflict the region has seen in twenty-five years.

The Al-Aqsa mosque has often been a focal point for the rapid escalation of Israeli-Palestinian tensions in the past. Until recently, Israeli security forces had imposed restrictions on individuals wishing to pray there.

However, on Sunday, Israeli War Cabinet minister Benny Gantz declared that freedom of worship would not be constrained on Temple Mount.

“Our conflict is not with Islam, but with those who undermine Islamic values. With those who perpetrate atrocities against humanity and aim to divide Israeli society and jeopardize our shared future,” Gantz stated.

Ramadan this year is overshadowed by the ongoing war and humanitarian crisis in Gaza. While Muslims around the globe celebrate with their customary traditions, the plight of their brethren weighs heavily on their hearts. In Gaza, options for observing the Holy Month are limited due to the destruction of over 1000 mosques during the recent conflict.

Efforts to negotiate a truce for Ramadan between Gazan and Israeli officials have been unsuccessful, with both sides blaming each other for the breakdown in talks. Tel Aviv cited Hamas’ refusal to provide a complete list of hostages as a reason for withdrawal from negotiations.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh accused Israel of failing to provide clear guarantees regarding a ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) from Gaza. He reiterated that no hostages would be released without a permanent ceasefire in place.

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