Islamic Movement head Salah banned from J'lem for 30 days

Yishai, Landau call for

ss (photo credit: s)
(photo credit: s)
Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the Islamic Movement's northern branch, was banned from Jerusalem for 30 days on Tuesday after being arrested on suspicion of inciting the recent Arab riots in the capital. The banning order was issued by the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court. Salah was arrested in the Wadi Joz area of east Jerusalem, on a rooftop of a home where members of the movement's northern branch had congregated. His deputy, Kamal Khatib, said the arrest was "illegal and made for political reasons." Speaking to Hamas' Al-Quds TV, Khatib said the Israeli media was inciting against the Islamic Movement and "all those who seek to defend the Aksa [Mosque.]," according to an Israel Radio translation. Jerusalem's police chief Cmdr. Aharon Franco said there was no reason to expect that Salah's arrest would lead to a resumption of Arab violence in the capital. It isn't the first time Salah has landed himself in trouble with Israeli authorities. In March this year, Jerusalem police arrested the fiery leader for assaulting police officers at an illegal east Jerusalem gathering. In January 2008, Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz filed an indictment against Salah, charging him with incitement to violence and racism in a speech he made protesting the archaeological dig carried out at the Old City's Mughrabi Gate. During his sermon in Wadi Joz in February 2007, Salah had urged supporters to start a third intifada in order to "save al-Aksa Mosque, free Jerusalem and end the occupation." In addition, Salah served a two-year jail sentence starting in May 2003 for a series of security offenses, including financing Hamas activities. Meanwhile, police announced that access to the Temple Mount on Wednesday would once again be restricted to Muslim men over 50 with Israeli ID cards, and Muslim women. The restrictions were imposed at the end of last week following security concerns, and police released footage on Monday of stockpiles of rocks inside the mount's Aksa Mosque which Arabs had apparently planned to hurl at Jewish worshipers praying at the Western Wall below. Earlier Tuesday, after Israeli ministers had called for his arrest, a defiant Salah said that he and his supporters "would pay any price to defend the Aksa [Mosque]" in Jerusalem. Salah called on all Israeli Arabs and residents of east Jerusalem to immediately make their way to the Old City and "shield the mosque with their bodies." In response to accusations of inciting the Arab violence in Jerusalem, Salah had stated prior to his arrest that if forced by the Israeli government to choose between imprisonment and defending the mosque "and occupied Jerusalem," he would choose the former without hesitation. MK Ibrahim Sarsour (UAL-Ta'al), of the Islamic Movement's more moderate southern branch, told Israel Radio on Tuesday that he could not understand why Salah and his supporters were heralding a tournament where "medals will be handed to all those who participate in the race for Al-Aksa." Sarsour asserted that his northern counterpart's incitement of aggression was counterproductive to the Arab cause. Vice Premier Silvan Shalom and National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau had called for the Islamic Movement to be outlawed for allegedly inciting the violence, while Interior Minister Eli Yishai stressed that Israel was the sovereign "in the eternal, united capital of the Jewish people." "Sheikh Raed Salah should be behind bars, and so should [deputy head] Kamal Khatib," Shalom told Israel Radio on Tuesday. "I intend to raise the issue in the next cabinet meeting." While Shalom praised the police force for doing its job, he stressed that "it's time for the state prosecution to start acting." The Palestinian Authority contributes to the situation by trying to assert its authority over east Jerusalem, Shalom said, but Israel needs to assert its sovereignty on the Temple Mount. Israel must act decisively and crack down on the rioters, because if it fails to do so, those fanning the violence will interpret this as a weakness and increase their activities, the vice premier concluded. Landau also called for the indictment of those Muslim leaders who were calling for violence and confrontation in the capital, and encouraging hateful anti-Israeli sentiments, among them "Sheikh Raed Salah and his ilk." "Israel must stop paying the salaries of imams and heads of mosques who engage in incitement against the state of Israel," said Landau. He also called for discussion in the cabinet on bringing PA activity in Jerusalem to a halt. Landau stated that implementing his suggestions could possibly "put a stop to the inflammation that brings about the wounding of soldiers, stone-throwing, riots and clashes." Also on Tuesday morning, Yishai said that "the state of Israel is the sovereign in Jerusalem and there is no force that can limit it in the eternal, united capital of the Jewish people." The interior minister went on to stress that no amount of anti-Jewish preaching could undermine the Jewish people's connection to the city. "Anti-Jewish preaching from within the country or from abroad cannot undermine nor loosen the connection between the people of Israel and their capital, and the need to strengthen and develop the city," the minister concluded. Minorities Minister Avishai Braverman told Israel Radio that the government was strict about ensuring that Jews don't pray at the Temple Mount and stressed that Jews are forbidden from entering the compound according to Jewish law. Extremists on both sides are trying to incite violence and ignite the Middle East, and stopping them is essential, Braverman said.