Islamic Movement leader Salah arrested for alleged incitement

Controversial cleric accused Israel in speech of trying to torch Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque.

Sheikh Raed Salah 311 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Sheikh Raed Salah 311
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Israeli police arrested the head of the Islamic Movement’s northern branch, Sheikh Raed Salah, on Tuesday on suspicion of incitement.
Police said the arrest was made after Salah allegedly accused Israel and the Israeli occupation of trying to torch the Aksa Mosque and the wider Arab world as a whole, during a speech last week in Kfar Kara in the Galilee.
Salah was arrested by the Jerusalem branch of the YAMAR investigative unit on Tuesday at the Anava interchange.
The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court ordered him 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.
As of Tuesday night Salah has refused to agree to the conditions and remained in jail. If he continues to refuse the conditions, he’ll stay in custody overnight and reappear in court in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
In response to the arrest, Meretz MK Esawi Frej 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.”
The Jerusalem Post spoke to Sheikh Kamil Ahmad Rayan, the 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.
He said that the arrest of Salah is a grave matter and that not allowing him to express his opinions is a violation of his freedom of speech and religious beliefs regarding the Aksa Mosque.
“It is unacceptable that they arrest him over this,” he said, adding that his arrest “would incite the Arab public.”
He said that it did not matter to him that Salah is from a different branch of the organization and that “we are against arresting people for expressing their opinion.”
In April 2011, Salah was detained for interrogation on suspicion of attacking police officers at the Allenby Bridge, connecting the West Bank to Jordan. In 2010, he was released from prison in Ramle after serving a five-month sentence.
He also served two years in Israeli prison on charges of funding Hamas.
Salah famously took part in the 2010 Gaza Flotilla, sailing on the Mavi Marmara, and was present during the raid by IDF naval commandos that left nine Turkish citizens dead.