Ramadan Begins Without an Israel-Hamas Ceasefire, Amidst Fears of Violence

The Muslim fasting month of Ramadan began on Monday after a sighting of the crescent moon in Mecca on Sunday evening. However, it started without a ceasefire in place between Israel and Hamas.

President Biden said he’s worried about violence in Jerusalem without a ceasefire as Israel braces for trouble in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria, known as the West Bank, and beyond during Ramadan.

Muslims gathered for prayer at Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount on Sunday evening. Israel repeated its pledge that it will allow Muslims from Palestinian areas to pray there.

In an interview with MSNBC, Biden said Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has a right to defend Israel and pursue Hamas, but must take into account the plight of Gaza’s civilians.

“But he must, he must, he must pay more attention to the innocent lives being lost as a consequence of the actions taken,” Biden said in the interview. “He’s hurting Israel more than helping Israel…It’s contrary to what Israel stands for, and I think it’s a big mistake.”

Netanyahu responded that his policies are not private policies but represent the vast majority of Israelis.

“They (Israeli public) support the action that we’re taking to destroy the remaining terrorist battalions of Hamas,” Netanyahu said in response during an interview with Politico.

“They say that once we destroy the Hamas, the last thing we should do is put in Gaza, in charge of Gaza, the Palestinian Authority that educates its children towards terrorism and pays for terrorism. And they also support my position that says that we should resoundingly reject the attempt to ram down our throats a Palestinian state,” Netanyahu stated.

The president sent a mixed message to Israel on its plans to attack Hamas in Rafah. Biden calling it a ‘red line’ — but also said the U.S. will not abandon the Jewish state.

“It is a red line but I’m never going to leave Israel. The defense of Israel is still critical. There’s no red line so I’m (not) going to cut off the Iron Dome to protect them,” Biden said.

In an effort to get more aid to Gaza, the US is working towards construction of a temporary pier. A U.S. ship departed from Virginia with equipment needed to build the structure.

Meanwhile in London, a number of people blew shofars – rams’ horns – to bring attention to the hostages held in Gaza.

“The shofar is all about an awakening, and we want to reawaken the world to this horrific plight that the hostages have been facing for 155 days,” said Marcel Knobil from “Blow for Hostages”.

In Amsterdam, Israel’s President Isaac Herzog helped open The Holocaust Memorial Museum of the Netherlands, despite pro-Palestinian protests and calls ahead of time to arrest him. Three-fourths of Dutch Jewry were wiped out in the Holocaust.

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