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Defense Minister Gallant warns: Iran wants to turn Ramadan into another Oct. 7, set fire to West Bank

Gallant cautions against irresponsible statements by National Security Minister Ben Gvir

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (Photo: Elad Malka/IMoD)

Israel is entering a dangerous phase and must exercise the utmost caution during the upcoming Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant warned on Tuesday.

Speaking at a situational assessment at the IDF’s Central Command ahead of Ramadan, Gallant said Israel is seeing a “growing preoccupation of Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas to turn the month of Ramadan into the second phase of October 7 and set fire to the area.”

“We must not give Hamas what it failed to achieve since the beginning of the war and connect the combat arenas,” Gallant stated.

In the past, Hamas repeatedly attempted to justify its armed conflicts in the Gaza Strip by pointing to tensions in Jerusalem, especially over the Temple Mount, with some noting that the terrorist organization was hoping to urge Palestinians in the West Bank to create a second front against Israel, as it did in 2021 with Operation Guardian of the Walls.

“The main goal of Hamas is to take Ramadan, with an emphasis on the Temple Mount and Jerusalem, and turn it into the second phase of their plan that began on October 7. Iran and Hezbollah are propagating this goal,” Gallant continued, stressing that Israel should do everything possible to calm tensions in every arena.

On one hand, Gallant believes Israel should pursue this goal by eliminating all terrorists who are trying to inflame the area with terror attacks.

On the other hand, Gallant emphasized that wherever possible, Israel should strive to decrease pressure on Palestinians “because we don’t want this pressure to turn from individual incidents, as dangerous as they are, into a whole other event.”

In this context, Gallant once again criticized recent statements by National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, who reportedly wants to deny West Bank Muslims entry to the Temple Mount, and only allow Arab-Israeli Muslims above age 70 to visit the holy site during the month of Ramadan, which begins on March 10.

“This is a democratic country, a digital world. In wartime, everyone says what they want - including people who are supposed to be responsible but aren’t,” Gallant said.

Gallant said that such irresponsible statements only increased the potential for a dramatic escalation of the current situation, which actors like Iran and Hezbollah are trying with all their might to destabilize further.

“Therefore, we need to know how to manage this matter properly. To give respect to people where it is necessary, not to create pressures in unnecessary places. On the other hand, if this thing turns into something else, then know how to act,” the IDF chief told troops of the Central Command serving active duty in Judea and Samaria, also known as the West Bank.

“In this period, on the one hand, we have to be very determined in the face of terrorism, but cautious in other matters.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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