Sheikh Raed Salah .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hadash MK Yousef Jabareen told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday he holds out hope the Supreme Court will overturn the jail sentence of Raed Salah, the leader of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement.
Salah’s 11-month jail sentence was suspended by Justice Salim Jubran on Wednesday, pending the outcome of his appeal.
Salah wrote on his Facebook page on Thursday that the current violence is the “third intifada,” which he also termed “the Jerusalem intifada.”In this intifada (uprising), so far there have been 83 “martyrs” and 1,248 injured, and it continues, he said.
The Jerusalem District Court rejected Salah’s appeal last month of the sentence he received in March for incitement in a 2007 speech. Salah was scheduled to begin serving his sentence on Sunday.
“I hope that the Supreme Court will reverse the conviction of Sheikh Salah and free him,” said Jabareen, arguing that Salah’s activity should be protected under freedom of speech laws.
“As a political and religious leader, his activity focuses on protecting the Aksa Mosque against the occupation,” he said, adding, “These goals are supported by the international community as well.”
Jabareen sees Salah’s conviction “as part of political persecution against Arab leaders with the goal of limiting their political freedoms.”
“The real incitement comes from [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and his ministers.”Jabareen said Netanyahu accused Arab MKs as being supporters of Islamic State. “This is clear incitement and delegitimization,” he said.
Netanyahu said in a speech in the Knesset last month that Joint List lawmakers were inciting to violence and that “behind them there is a trail of Islamic State flags.”
After the district court rejected the Islamic Movement leader’s appeal last month, Joint List MK and Ta’al Party chairman Ahmad Tibi told the Post
that it “was influenced by the impassioned public atmosphere.”
“We must stop the campaign against the Islamic Movement,” he had said, adding that the government is seeking to transfer responsibility for the current violence to other parties, including the Islamic Movement.
Zionist Union MK Itzik Shmuli, however, called the ruling at the time “moral and just.”
“It is about time that the lead inciter goes to jail, and the longer the better,” he said.
“In recent years, the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement has taken a radical and violent stand that, on a regular basis, uses malicious and false incitement against the state.”