Head of the Islamic Movement's northern faction, Sheikh Raed Salah, arrived at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court Wednesday afternoon for the first hearing over the police request to ban him from the Old City for a period of 60 days. Salah was arrested last week on suspicion of attacking police officers amid a scuffle near Jerusalem's Dung Gate after he was refused entry to the Temple Mount due to the tension surrounding the Mughrabi excavations.
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Salah was accompanied by a number of Islamic Movement activists who shouted "God is Great," while several Jewish right-wing activists, including Itamar Ben-Gvir, waited at the entrance to the court, taunting Salah with shouts of: "Terrorist!" and "The Temple Mount is in our hands!"
Police forcefully dispersed the right-wing demonstrators.
Prior to entering the court, Salah told reporters, "I have the right to enter al-Aksa and Jerusalem any time I want. Any decision made by the court is null and void," adding that the court was part of "the Israeli institution that has no sovereignty over al-Aksa."
"There is no doubt that the criminal occupation of the Israelis who occupy the mosque is continuing," added Salah.
The Islamic Movement leader claimed that the timing of the court case and the police banning order was meant to scuttle the protests against the excavations near the Temple Mount and specifically to prevent the "emergency day" which Salah had declared to take place this coming Friday.
Following the first hearing, the Islamic Movement said in a statement: "If anyone deserves an indictment, it is the Israel, that is conducting the Temple Mount excavations and is getting closer and closer to al-Aksa Mosque. The time has come for the Jewish street to understand that the government is leading it to a religious confrontation with Islam."
Until the court ruling, which is scheduled for Thursday, Salah has been ordered to keep a distance of 150 meters from the Old City.