First Published: 2017-08-17

Israeli court extends detention for Islamic cleric over ‘incitement’
Jewish state extends detention for Salah over sermon allegedly leading to death of two policemen near sensitive Jerusalem religious site.
Middle East Online

Salah supporter holds up sign outside courtroom near Tel Aviv

TEL AVIV - An Israeli court on Thursday extended the detention of a firebrand Islamic cleric accused of inciting violence in connection with deadly tensions last month over a sensitive Jerusalem holy site.

Arab Israeli Raed Salah, a prominent member of a now-banned Islamist movement, was arrested on Tuesday.

The Rishon Lezion Justice court near Tel Aviv extended his remand to August 21.

Supporters in the courtroom stood and shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest) when the decision was announced, while around 25 people demonstrated outside in support.

Police told the court the allegations against Salah relate to a sermon he gave after a July attack that killed two policemen near Jerusalem's ultra-sensitive Haram al-Sharif mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

Police alleged the sermon was "directly related to the murder of the two policemen and delivered in front of a large crowd."

Salah's lawyers and supporters say his sermons are always within the bounds of free speech and that he "stands against the murder of innocents."

They have called the preacher's arrest political intimidation and say it was intended to silence dissent.

Salah said in court that he had been threatened by Jewish prisoners.

"If something happens, my blood is going to be on (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu's hands," he said.

The 58-year-old is accused of inciting violence and terrorism as well as support for and participation in an illegal organisation.

His arrest came following his release from prison in January after serving a nine-month sentence on similar allegations.

His group, the radical northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, was outlawed in 2015 for incitement linked to the Haram al-Sharif, which includes the revered Al-Aqsa mosque and the golden-topped Dome of the Rock.

The site in Jerusalem's Old City is the third-holiest in Islam and the most sacred for Jews.

Violence erupted in and around the compound last month after three Arab Israelis shot dead two policemen on July 14 before being killed by security forces.

Israel responded by installing metal detectors at the entrance to the site, which the assailants had used as a launch site for the attack.

For nearly two weeks, worshippers refused to submit to the checks and staged mass prayers in the surrounding streets.

Ensuing protests and clashes left seven Palestinians dead, while three Israelis were fatally stabbed by a Palestinian assailant.

The crisis abated when Israel removed the detectors.

Central to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the complex lies in east Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognised by the international community.

Palestinians fear Israel will gradually seek to assert further control over it, though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said he is committed to the status quo.

Arab-Israelis are descendants of Palestinians who remained on their land following the creation of Israel in 1948.

They account for some 17.5 percent of the population of eight million and largely sympathise with the Palestinian cause.

 

Lebanon’s Hariri suspends resignation

Divided Syria opposition meets in Riyadh

Revolt in US State Department over child soldier law

US carries out air strikes against IS in Libya

Morocco bans bitcoin transactions

Saudi-led coalition to reopen Yemen airport, port to aid

Turkey court rules to keep Amnesty chief in jail

France calls for UN meeting on Libya slave-trading

Egypt detains 29 for allegedly spying for Turkey

WTO panel to hear Qatar’s complaint against UAE blockade

Three dead as diphtheria spreads in Yemen

Israel seizes explosive material at Gaza border

Activists call for release of UK journalist held by IS

Bahrain upholds jail sentence for activist

Iraq attacks at lowest since 2014

Turkey continues crackdown in post-coup probe

Hariri back in Lebanon

Putin to hold Syria peace talks with Erdogan, Rouhani

Lebanon's Hariri in Egypt ahead of return home

Rebels say Sanaa airport 'ready to run' after coalition bombing

Greece to amend historic sharia law for Muslim minority

Turkey to ask Germany to extradite top coup suspect

Car bomb in northern Iraq kills at least 24

13 million Syrians need aid despite relative drop in violence

Sudan urged to improve plight of Darfur's displaced people

Brain drain means Syria can’t recover for a generation

Palestinians close communication lines with Americans

Anti-IS coalition strikes drop to lowest number

German police arrest six Syrians ‘planning terror attack’

Palestinian factions in Cairo for reconciliation talks

Turkish opposition daily web editor sentenced to 3 years in jail

Israeli police arrest 33 in ultra-Orthodox draft riots

Turkish lira at new low against US dollar

Islamic republic declares end of Islamic State

Assad in Russia for talks with Putin

UN chief horrified by Libya slave auctions

Qatar 2022 chief has no regrets over hosting World Cup

Gheit says Lebanon should be 'spared' from regional tensions

Saudi Arabia, Arab allies push for unity against Iran, Hezbollah meddling

Syria ‘de-escalation zone’ does nothing to stop civilian deaths

Is a demilitarised Palestinian state a viable option?

S&P affirms good Saudi credit ratings

Israel president faces big backlash over Palestinian scarf

Sudan leader to visit Russia Thursday

Seven years into Libya’s civil war, the chaos continues