Democracies have a responsibility to defend themselves, and are obligated to protect themselves from those who seek to undermine them, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday following the announcement that the security cabinet decided to outlaw the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement.The Northern Branch seeks to undermine Israel, he said, adding that it incites to violence against innocent civilians, cooperates closely with Hamas, and seeks to replace Israel with a caliphate.
“We have nothing against Islam,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “We have nothing against the Muslim citizens of Israel, who enjoy full equal rights, and the vast majority of whom are law abiding citizens. But we will continue to act against inciters, and those who encourage terrorism.”Tuesday's announcement of the Security Cabinet's decision to outlaw the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement comes after weeks of intensive deliberations on the matter that began soon after the current wave of terrorism began last month.Government spokesmen, including Netanyahu, have been charging for weeks that the organization is largely responsible for the incitement surrounding the Temple Mount that is fueling the current round of terrorNetanyahu, who has been urging the move as one way to bring down the level of terrorism, issued a statement saying that the ban means that anyone belonging to the organization or providing it any service will be committing a criminal offense and subject to imprisonment.The declaration will also make it possible to seize the organization's property, he said.Netanyahu said that the Northern Branch is a “a separatist-racist organization that does not recognize the institutions of the State of Israel, denies its right to exist and calls for the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in its place. The northern branch of the Islamic Movement belongs to radical Islam and is part of the global 'Muslim Brotherhood' movement. The two movements share an extremist ideology and a common goal – the destruction of the State of Israel.”Netanyahu, as far back as June 2014, directed the relevant authorizes to weigh outlawing the group, following a protest it held in Umm el-Fahm that included calls to kidnap IDF soldiers.The Government Press Office released background information on the decision, saying the measure “is not directed in any way at Islam or at the general Arab-Israeli population, which overwhelmingly abides by the law and rejects incitement to violence and terrorist activities. It also will not affect the Southern Faction of the Islamic Movement organization in Israel.”According to this statement, the decision “is based on the threat that the organization poses to public order and its continuous incitement to violence and racism, resulting in a severe threat to life and limb. According to the statement, the Northern Movement, in collusion with Hamas, established two groups of activists – the Murabitun (for men) and the Murabitat (for women) – who are are paid to create provocations and to harass Jews and other non-Muslims peacefully visiting the Temple Mount. The violent activities carried out by members of these groups have led to an increase in tensions on the Temple Mount.”In September, the Murabitun/Murabitat were banned.The leader of the Northern Branch, Raed Salah, has been convicted and served prison sentences several times in the past for inciting to violence and racism. He is to begin in a number of days serving an 11-month sentence for incitement stemming from a speech he delivered in 2007.
Israel outlaws northern branch of Islamic Movement