Court hears Sheikh Salah’s appeal against Temple Mount ban

Lawyer for head of the Islamic Movement in the north says his client did not call for any form of violence.

Sheikh Raed Salah 311 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Sheikh Raed Salah 311
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the Islamic Movement’s northern branch, accused Israel of “trying to destroy the [Aksa] Mosque,” said Police Supt. Yigal Almaleah.
Almaleah was arguing against Salah’s appeal on Thursday at the Jerusalem District Court and trying to maintain a 30-day restraining order against the Islamic leader that would prohibit him from coming within 30 kilometers of the Aksa Mosque.
Almaleah listed other statements by Salah that the police superintendent considered incitement, including blaming Israel for an alleged attempt – decades ago – to burn down the mosque, accusing Israel of trying to establish a Third Temple on the same spot and blaming Israel and Egypt for attempting “to burn the Muslim world.”
On the basis of these and other statements by Salah at a speech in Kafr Kara in Wadi Ara on August 23, Almaleah blamed Salah for inciting the massive violence that occurred at the Temple Mount between September 4 and 6.
Had Salah not been arrested and kept away from the Temple Mount, there could have been “two rounds of violence”– not only the one that occurred – Almaleah said.
Salah’s lawyer claimed that the state had mistranslated his client’s speech and that all he had called for was to “defend the mosque” without appealing for any form of violent “defense.” The attorney pointed out that it took 10 days until Salah’s arrest on September 3, thus suggesting that police had not viewed him as a real threat; otherwise, they would have arrested him sooner.
Salah’s lawyer repeatedly accused police of being on a “politically motivated witch hunt” against Salah because, he said, they do not like his political agenda and were inventing reasons to restrict his freedom of speech and movement.
Previously, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court had ordered Salah released on NIS 50,000 bail and on condition that he stay at least 30 km. away from the mosque for a period of 30 days, but he refused to cooperate, remained in jail and appealed to the higher district court level.
In response to the arrest, Meretz MK Esawi Freige said that he and his party were against all forms of incitement but that the arrest demonstrated a double standard between Arabs and Jews.
“It appears that democracy in Israel is much less tolerant to comments made by Arabs as compared to those made by settlers and rabbis. If the police had arrested rabbis saying similar things, the prison cells would be full long ago,” Freige declared.
The Jerusalem Post spoke to Sheikh Kamil Ahmad Rayan, head of the NGO al- Aksa Association for the Care of the Islamic Holy Sites and a member of the Islamic Movement’s southern branch.