February 27, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israel Sees Iran-Axis Threat Over Ramadan

February 27, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israel Sees Iran-Axis Threat Over Ramadan

Latest Developments

Israel warned on February 27 that Iran and its proxies Hamas and Hezbollah plan to escalate hostilities over the Muslim fast month of Ramadan. Ramadan, which this year is due to begin on or around March 10, has in the past seen heightened tensions around Jerusalem due to Palestinian agitation against Israeli controls and Jewish access at the Temple Mount, the site of al-Aqsa Mosque.

Though Israel has overrun the Gaza Strip and destroyed most of Hamas’s capabilities since the Palestinian terrorist group launched a cross-border massacre on October 7, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant warned that fresh escalation could loom. “Hamas’s main goal 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,” he told IDF commanders in remarks published by his office.

Hamas, Gallant said, intended to turn the centrality of al-Aqsa to Palestinians into a weapon against Israel, and Iran and Hezbollah are amplifying this goal. “We cannot let them have this, and that means that we need to do everything we can to bring calm to the area,” Gallant said, recommending both a continuation of determined counter-terrorism and an easing of conditions for innocent Palestinians.

Expert Analysis

“Hamas codenamed its October 7 atrocities ‘Al-Aqsa Flood’ in a bid to cast the mass murder, torture, and kidnapping of civilians as a sacred step in a religiously ordained destruction of Israel. So it is no surprise that, at the highest point of the Muslim calendar, it is again looking to link al-Aqsa to mayhem.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“Israel is taking a page out of the Biden playbook in alerting the world to Iran’s next moves — in this case, an Iranian attempt to foment bloodshed in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and other areas during Ramadan. This enables Israel to do two things: Preempt Iran’s disinformation by highlighting steps being taken to minimize tensions, while also justifying the need for ongoing counter-terrorism operations during the month.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

“Iran has exploited the Hamas attack on Israelis to spread chaos and instability throughout the Middle East. It has operationalized its proxies in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and the West Bank to carry out terror attacks. Further Iranian escalation must be opposed, and the regime must be deterred from continuing to support its proxies and their attacks on Israel, the United States, and other countries in the region.” — Seth J. Frantzman, FDD Adjunct Fellow

Preventing a Ramadan Explosion in the Holy Land,” by Jonathan Schanzer and Mark Dubowitz

Unless Hamas Releases Hostages, Israel to Push into Rafah During Ramadan,” FDD Flash Brief

Pray for Peace This Ramadan,” by Jonathan Schanzer and Natalie Ecanow


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