Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the hostile Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, will begin a five-month jail sentence later this month.
He was convicted of spitting at a policeman during a violent protest near the Western Wall in 2007. He and other Arabs pushed, yelled and cursed in response to Israel’s archaeological dig at the Mughrabim Gate to the Temple Mount adjacent to the Western Wall plaza.
The Jerusalem Magistrates Court had originally sentenced Salah to nine months, but the District Court reduced the sentence upon appeal. The justices of the higher court that Salah had not expressed remorse for his actions, and that his security offenses over the course of the past five years justify a jail sentence – but that five months would suffice.
Salah’s lawyer’s requested that the sentence begin in October, after the month of Ramadan, but the judges said they saw no reason to push it off.
Salah, a former mayor of Umm el-Fahm, was first arrested and jailed from 2003 until 2005 on charges of raising millions of dollars for Hamas. He was most recently aboard the Turkish flotilla ship carrying weapons and some of whose passengers attacked IDF soldiers. Salah has called for the liquidation of the State of Israel, and played a leading role in the Israeli-Arab riots of October 2000 that included major highway-blockings and attempted murder of Jewish motorists. "Very soon,” he said in a speech in 2006, “Jerusalem will be the capital of the new Moslem Khalifate, and the Khalif will dwell there."
Shortly afterwards, Salah told another crowd, “History has proven to us, for hundreds of years, that the occupier is destroyed and we remain on our land. And you, o Israeli occupier - disappear! And we will remain in our country, with Allah’s help.”