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Rare Shin Bet, Palestinian meeting as fears of Ramadan tensions grow

Israeli and Palestinian officials met this week in Tel Aviv to discuss how to prevent an explosion of violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank during the upcoming holy month of Ramadan.

As fears grow of the war in the Gaza Strip spilling over into other arenas, Israeli National Security Council chief Tzachi Hanegbi and Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar met with senior Palestinian Authority official Hussein al-Sheikh in Tel Aviv Tuesday in an effort to prevent tensions from igniting clashes in Jerusalem, the West Bank and in mixed Jewish-Arab cities including Haifa and Acre. 

Israel's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Ghasan Alyan, also attended the meeting. 

Israel's Channel 12 first reported that the conversation centered on efforts to allow Palestinians over the age of 45 in the West Bank to return to their jobs in Israel, with the Shin Bet warning that the current economic strife in the West Bank could become explosive. Some 150,000 Palestinians from the West Bank worked in Israel prior to Oct. 7 and have since had their work permits suspended. 

With the holy month of Ramadan set to begin March 10, Israeli, Palestinian and American officials are also concerned about a potential increase in tensions between Jews and Muslims, particularly in Jerusalem and around the Temple Mount compound, which houses Al-Aqsa Mosque. It's the third holiest site in Islam and a flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

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