Israel to help Palestinians if peace is maintained on Temple Mount, Gantz tells Abbas

Earlier on Tuesday, Gantz approved Palestinian family visits and praying at Temple Mount during Ramadan.

 PA President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz (photo credit: SPUTNIK/EVGENY BIYATOV/KREMLIN VIA REUTERS, YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
PA President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz
(photo credit: SPUTNIK/EVGENY BIYATOV/KREMLIN VIA REUTERS, YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Israel is prepared to expand on the steps taken to help Palestinian civilians celebrate Ramadan peacefully, Defense Minister Benny Gantz told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday night.

In a phone call between the two, Gantz also expressed his gratitude for Abbas' rare condemnation of the Bnei Brak terrorist attack. Gantz also stated during the call that Ramadan, which coincides this year with Passover and Easter, should be a time of peace and quiet rather than terrorism.

However, the defense minister warned, the steps taken will only be enforced if Israel's security in Jerusalem and the West Bank can be maintained.

Earlier on Tuesday, Gantz approved a string of measures that will allow Palestinians to enter Israel during Ramadan.

Palestinians pray in front of the Dome of the Rock on Laylat al-Qadr during the holy month of Ramadan, at the compound that houses Al-Aqsa Mosque, known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City, May 8, 2021. (credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)Palestinians pray in front of the Dome of the Rock on Laylat al-Qadr during the holy month of Ramadan, at the compound that houses Al-Aqsa Mosque, known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City, May 8, 2021. (credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)

West Bank Palestinians will be allowed entry to Temple Mount for Ramadan prayers, the defense minister approved. In addition, first-degree relatives of Arab-Israelis will be allowed to enter Israel for family visits from Sundays to Thursdays during Ramadan.

Women of all ages, men aged 50+ and children up to the age of 12 will be allowed to enter Temple Mount without any restrictions. Palestinian men aged 40-50, however, will be allowed entry subject to a permit.

The measures decided upon by Gantz came after consultations with IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi, Shin Bet head Ronen Bar, IDF's Operations Directorate OC Maj.-Gen. Oded Basyuk and Military Intelligence Directorate OC Maj.-Gen. Aharon Haliva.

Clashes between Palestinian rioters and Israeli forces have continued for three days straight since Ramadan began. Abbas' "governor" of Jerusalem, Adnan Gheith, was detained on Tuesday morning by Border Police.

Israel has been subject to a wave of terrorism over the last couple of weeks as Palestinian terrorist groups such as Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) called for an escalation of violence ahead of the holiest month in Islam.

Security forces have thwarted 15 terrorist attacks in the West Bank and sovereign Israel, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said earlier on Tuesday. 

Three terrorist attacks in the span of a week in Bnei Brak, Hadera and Beersheba took 11 lives in total.

Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) head Maj.-Gen. Ghassan Alian also took part in the call between Gantz and Abbas.