'Salah arrest an attempt to protect Zionist narrative'

Leader of the Islamic Movement's northern branch is arrested in London; MK Zoabi says Israeli Arab leadership must do more to show world Israel's "racist policies"; MK Tibi calls arrest "undemocratic behavior."

June 29, 2011 12:42
2 minute read.
Sheikh Raed Salah

Sheikh Raed Salah 311. (photo credit: Ben Hartman)

The Islamic Movement on Wednesday reacted to news of the arrest of its northern branch leader Sheikh Raed Salah in London overnight, blaming the "Jewish lobby" for the arrest in order to protect the "Zionist narrative."

"Since Salah received the invitation to come to Britain, the Jewish lobby went crazy and did everything in its power to prevent the visit, so that the Zionist narrative remains the only narrative," the movement said in a statement.

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In a direct message to "the Jewish lobby," the Islamic Movement continued, "We will protect our rights and will bring the voice of truth to the world, especially as it relates to the Palestinian people. We won't be affected by this political arrest."

MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad), reacting to the arrest, had harsh words for the Israeli government. "Instead of the British authorities supporting our just struggle for democracy, freedom and political action, it seems they support the Israeli policies of political persecution against Arabs in Israel," she said

"The primary source behind the arrest is Israeli pressure and the pressure of Zionist actors inside Britain," added Zoabi.

Calling for Salah's release, she continued, "I suggest the British be smarter in their behavior, in everything related to the rights of Palestinians in Israel. We, the Arab leadership, need to act more aggressively in the international area, so that the world understands that the policies of racism and political persecution that the Israeli government carries out against us."

Also addressing Salah's arrest was MK Ahmed Tibi, who described the arrest as, "baffling and undemocratic behavior by the British authorities."

MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad) said in reaction, the UK is "cooperating with Israeli oppression."

"The arrest is a blow to the Arab public in Israel, which sees Sheikh Raed Salah as one of its leaders," Zahalka explained. "This is a political and religious figure, and there is no justified reason to arrest him. Instead of the UK supporting the rights of Arab citizens in Israel, they are cooperating in harming them."

According to the Islamic Movement, Salah was arrested close to midnight overnight Tuesday in London after returning from a lecture in Leicester. He was reportedly scheduled to speak to the British Parliament later in the visit, an appearance scheduled at the invitation of an MP.

Lawyers said that Salah was faced with two options: to stand trial, or face immediate deportation, Channel 10 reported.

In April, Salah, was detained for interrogation on suspicions that he attacked police officers and obstructed their duties at the Allenby Bridge, connecting the West Bank to Jordan.

Late last year, the Islamic Movement leader was released from prison in Ramle after serving a five-month sentence.

Salah had been convicted of assaulting and spitting on a police officer who was providing security at a demonstration sponsored by the Sheikh in 2007.

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