The Jerusalem District Court on Monday rejected the appeal of Sheikh Raed Salah and determined that the head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, who was convicted of incitement to violence and racism over a speech he gave in 2007, will serve a prison term of 11 months. In his speech, Salah called on Muslims to reach the Al-Aqsa Mosque and use every means possible to stop the “Israeli takeover of the site.”
Raed Salah Abu Shakra, the three-term mayor of his home town, Umm al-Fahm, Israel, has been convicted in the past of funding Hamas, and of having contact with an Iranian intelligence agent. He served a two-year sentence from 2003 to 2005, and a five-month sentence in 2010 for assaulting a police officer and leading a violent demonstration.
Salah will begin serving his sentence on November 15. Pandemonium broke out at the start of the court hearing Tuesday, as right-wing activist, attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir shouted at him, “You are a terrorist, in any other country you would not have seen the light of day.” Ben-Gvir was pushed away by local security. Dozens of Salah supporters were waiting for him outside the courthouse and called out: “With spirit and blood we will redeem the al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Since the outbreak of the latest wave of terrorism, many Israeli politicians have accused Salah of being one of the leaders of the Arab incitement to violence. Two weeks ago, Minister of the Interior Silvan Shalom signed a decree preventing Salah and his deputy from leaving the country. The minister argued he was certain that state security could be harmed should Salah be allowed to leave Israel.
Salah arrived at Ben Gurion airport expecting to fly to Istanbul, Turkey, for a conference of “The Global Coalition for Al-Aqsa Mosque,” but in light of the order was not permitted to board the plane, and was forced to leave.
That same day, in the morning, Salah arrived in Jerusalem District Court to appeal his sentence after being convicted of incitement to violence and racism. Before entering the courtroom, Salah said: “We will continue on our way and will always say — with spirit and blood we will redeem al-Aqsa.”
But presumably not before October 14, 2016.