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Islamic Movement Approved in Israel, Barred by Jordan

While Israel allows the radical Islamic Movement to conduct its activities and even run for Knesset, Jordan denies access to the group's leaders.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 4/9/2010, 10:08 AM / Last Update: 4/9/2010, 10:51 AM

Flash 90

While Israel allowed the radical Islamic Movement to operate openly and even allows its members to sit in the Knesset, Jordan has apparently decided that the extremist group is a threat it is unwilling to tolerate. Jordan recently turned away a senior Islamic Movement official who attempted to visit the country, and has barred access to several others as well.

Among those Islamic Movement leaders deemed too radical for Jordan are the head of the movement's northern branch, Sheikh Raed Salah, and his deputy, Khamel Hatib. Several other senior members of the group have been barred from the country as well.

Most recently barred from Jordan was Sheikh Ahmed abu-Ajweh, head of the Islamic Movement's branch in Yafo. “I arrived at the border... I passed over to the Jordanian side, and when I presented my passport, I was told to wait,” Ajweh told the Palestinian Authority's Wafa news on Thursday.

"I was held at the border for more than five hours, and then a captain informed me that I am not authorized to enter Jordan,” he continued. Awjeh said he was taken to an office with sophisticated equipment. There, workers photographed his eyes and took his fingerprints. After that, he was ordered to return to Israel.

"I don't understand the Jordanian policy, apparently they have decided to prevent Islamic Movement activists from entering Jordan, for no logical reason,” he complained.

The Islamic Movement is widely considered to be an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, a transnational Islamic group that started in Egypt. It calls for Israel to cede Judea, Samaria, historic Jerusalem, and the Golan to Arabs, and to grant citizenship to millions of Arabs who claim descent from Arabs who fled Israel in 1948 as Arab armies attacked the fledgling Jewish state.

The Islamic Movement refers to itself as being based in “Palestine,” not in Israel. The group has been accused of providing financial support to family members of Hamas terrorists. Northern branch head Raed Salah has been charged multiple times with assaulting law enforcement officers and with incitement, primarily in connection to his unsupported claims that Israel is attempting to demolish the Al-Aksa mosque.

The northern branch is considered more radical than its southern counterpart due to its opposition to the Oslo Accords and its rejection of participation in Israeli elections.

The Ra'am Ta'al Knesset faction includes the southern branch of the Islamic Movement. In 2009 the elections committee barred Ra'am Ta'al from running, charging the group with incitement, support for terrorism, and refusal to recognize Israel. Israel's Supreme Court later overturned the ban.