Are Palestinians more violent during Ramadan? // Officials and countries strategize for calm, but some challenge their wisdom

The Muslim month of Ramadan is a violent time in Israel…or so they say.

Who says that? you might ask. The list is extensive.

Reports from the Israeli press, including the Times of Israel article quoted above, say that senior Biden administration officials counseled Israeli officials during visits to Israel at the end of January to attempt to keep violence at a minimum during Ramadan this year.

In February, Jordan held a meeting between Israeli and Palestinian officials, with the attendance of Americans, to discuss calming tensions between the two sides, with the explicit mention of concerns about Ramadan.

This past week, Egypt did the same, bringing some of the same Israeli and Palestinian officials to the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh for talks about calming violence. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry described the talks as aiming “to support dialogue between the Palestinian and Israeli sides to work to stop unilateral actions and escalation and break the existing cycle of violence and achieve calm,” as well as to possibly put in place the framework for peace talks. But there was also the mention of the need to do something before Ramadan.

Media reports also reflect that perspective, with outlets from The New York Times to Reuters publishing stories about the “expected violence” during Ramadan.

This year, Ramadan begins on March 22 and lasts until April 21. (During the month, Muslims fast from dawn until sunset, in addition to other observances.)

But is Ramadan really a violent month? Dr. Hillel Frisch, a researcher at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS), recently wrote an article in which he argued that the data simply doesn’t bear that out. Instead, he told Ami in an interview, the idea that Ramadan is particularly violent is a dangerous one that may be causing Israeli officials to fall into a trap made by Hamas.

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