Salah arrested in assault of J'lem cops

Islamic Movement's northern front leader allegedly attacks policemen during illegal Arab Culture event.

Raed Salah 88 224 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Raed Salah 88 224
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Jerusalem police on Monday arrested a fiery leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel for assaulting police officers at an illegal east Jerusalem gathering, police said. Sheikh Raed Salah and his bodyguard were taken into police custody in Sheikh Jarah after refusing police orders to leave an unauthorized event marking Jerusalem as this year's capital of Arab culture, Jerusalem Police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said. Three other suspects were also detained for questioning, he said. Islamic Movement spokesman Zahi Nujidat called the arrests "unacceptable." "Salah's arrest is another step toward 'Judaizing' Jerusalem. Nobody broke the law, there was merely an intention to establish a popular committee to deal with declaring Jerusalem the capital of Palestinian culture," he said. The incident came just two days after police dispersed eight small east Jerusalem cultural events organized by the Palestinian Authority. Palestinian activists organized the events, which were also held in West Bank cities, to celebrate the Arab League's designation of Jerusalem as the capital of Arab culture for 2009. The cultural celebration in the city was aimed at stressing the Palestinian claim to east Jerusalem. According to the moribund Oslo Accords, Palestinian political activity is forbidden in Jerusalem, and police periodically bar such events. Salah, who heads the extremist northern branch of the Islamic Movement, which denies Israel's legitimacy, holds Israeli citizenship. In the past, Salah has served a two-year sentence for a series of security offenses, including financing Hamas activities.