Israeli police arrested the head of the Islamic Movement’s northern branch,
Sheikh Raed Salah, on Tuesday on suspicion of incitement.
Police said the
arrest was made after Salah allegedly accused Israel and the Israeli occupation
of trying to torch the Aksa Mosque and the wider Arab world as a whole, during a
speech last week in Kfar Kara in the Galilee.
Salah was arrested by the
Jerusalem branch of the YAMAR investigative unit on Tuesday at the Anava
The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court ordered him released on NIS
50,000 bail and on condition that he stay at least 30 km. away from the mosque
for a period of 30 days.
As of Tuesday night Salah has refused to agree
to the conditions and remained in jail. If he continues to refuse the
conditions, he’ll stay in custody overnight and reappear in court in Jerusalem
In response to the arrest, Meretz MK Esawi Frej said that
he and his party were against all forms of incitement but that the arrest
demonstrated a double standard between Arabs and Jews.
“It appears that
democracy in Israel is much less tolerant to comments made by Arabs as compared
to those made by settlers and rabbis. If the police had arrested rabbis saying
similar things, the prison cells would be full long ago.”
Post spoke to Sheikh Kamil Ahmad Rayan, the head of the NGO al-Aksa Association
for the Care of the Islamic Holy Sites and a member of the Islamic Movement’s
He said that the arrest of Salah is a grave matter and
that not allowing him to express his opinions is a violation of his freedom of
speech and religious beliefs regarding the Aksa Mosque.
unacceptable that they arrest him over this,” he said, adding that his arrest
“would incite the Arab public.”
He said that it did not matter to him
that Salah is from a different branch of the organization and that “we are
against arresting people for expressing their opinion.”
In April 2011,
Salah was detained for interrogation on suspicion of attacking police officers
at the Allenby Bridge, connecting the West Bank to Jordan. In 2010, he was
released from prison in Ramle after serving a five-month sentence.
also served two years in Israeli prison on charges of funding
Salah famously took part in the 2010 Gaza Flotilla, sailing on the
Mavi Marmara, and was present during the raid by IDF naval commandos that left
nine Turkish citizens dead.
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