Arrest of Salah 'sent message' to Hamas

Arrest of Raed Salah se

Last week's arrest of Islamic Movement leader Sheikh Raed Salah "sent a strong message to external elements trying to incite Israeli Arabs to violence," a Public Security Ministry source told The Jerusalem Post on Monday. The source's reference to "external elements" was mainly directed at Hamas, which is seen by security chiefs as being linked to Salah's repeated claims of an Israeli conspiracy against the Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount and to the riots in Jerusalem over recent weeks. Salah was released one day after his arrest and barred from entering the capital for a month. "Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharanovitch believes that Salah's arrest was important, and sent the message that we will not tolerate anyone inciting to violence or engaged in subversive actions against the state," the source said. "Both Hamas and Fatah are trying to hitch a ride on the recent disturbances we saw in Jerusalem," he added. In general, the source continued, the Public Security Ministry would like to see police crack down on all expressions of incitement to violence, whether they take the form of televised speeches or closed communications. The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) monitors the activities of the Islamic Movement and brings incidents of incitement to violence to the attention of the Israel Police during joint meetings. On Monday, Aharanovitch met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and briefed him on recent events in Jerusalem. During the meeting, Aharanovitch said he would continue to "provide full backing to the police who are safeguarding the peace on the Temple Mount." In 2003, Salah was convicted of abetting Hamas and sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison.