Islamic Movement Northern Front leader Sheikh Raed Salah is likely to find himself under criminal investigation following a fiery sermon delivered Friday at a protest against the work at the Mughrabi Gate. Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter and Insp.-Gen. Moshe Karadi discussed Salah's speech hours after he delivered it, and decided to pass the call as to whether or not to continue with a criminal proceeding to the attorney-general, where "professionals" would determine whether or not there were grounds to prosecute the sheikh on charges of incitement.
Muslims clash with police after Salah speech in east J'lem
During his Friday sermon in Jerusalem's Wadi Joz neighborhood, Salah urged supporters to start a third intifada in order to "save al-Aksa Mosque, free Jerusalem and end the occupation."
Salah had called on the members of the Islamic Movement's Northern Front to join him for Friday prayers in the neighborhood, to protest the building project and archaeological digs at the site of the Mughrabi Gate.
Following a violent protest almost two weeks ago, Salah, one of the most vocal opponents of the Mughrabi Gate project was barred by a court from coming within 60 meters of the Old City walls. On Monday, the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court agreed to a police request that he be barred from coming within 150 meters of the walls for 60 days.
Salah's speech also attacked Jews, saying that "They want to build their temple at a time when our blood is on their clothes, on their doorsteps, in their food and in their drinks. Our blood has passed from one 'general terrorist' to another 'general terrorist.'" He also quoted assassinated Hamas-leader Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, saying: "The powerful won't remain powerful forever and the weak won't remain weak."
Following the sermon, the east Jerusalem neighborhood witnessed some violent clashes on a day largely characterized by its relative peace in comparison with last week's protest against the Mughrabi project.
Dozens of masked youths clashed with security forces and reporters, throwing rocks, blocking streets and burning garbage bins. Police dispersed the rioters with stun grenades, tear gas and water hoses. At least one of the rioters was wounded and three were arrested.
Despite the clashes, police guaged this Friday a success in comparison with last Friday where dozens of police officers and protesters were wounded in clashes. This week, prayers went off without a hitch on the Temple Mount.
"The Temple Mount is returning to order," said Jerusalem District Police Chief Cmdr. Ilan Franco, standing in front of the Western Wall Plaza following the prayers on Friday. Franco and his boss, Karadi, were on the scene throughout the morning to oversee police deployment around the sensitive holy sites. Approximately 3,000 police officers were on hand in east Jerusalem and the Old City and some 5,000 worshippers attended the prayer services on the Mount.
Karadi told reporters that "in contrast to last week, prayers finished quietly and peacefully. Police, and especially the Jerusalem District Police worked hard so that they could ensure freedom of worship." After police identified middle-aged stone-throwers at the Temple Mount during last week's disturbances, entrance to the mount was restricted to Israeli Muslims - males over the age of 50, and women over 40.