Ra'ed Salah, the head of the Islamic Movement in Israel's northern branch, is “undesirable” and can be deported from the United Kingdom, a British immigration board decided Wednesday. Salah, the board decided, was a troublemaker who, if allowed to remain in the country, might very well result “in the unacceptable behaviour of fostering hatred which might lead to intercommunity violence in the UK.”
Salah, who has been in Britain since June – when he managed to outwit British immigration officials after Home Secretary Theresa May tried to keep him out – has five days to appeal the decision.
The immigration tribunal said “in the balancing exercise necessary for any consideration of proportionality, great weight must be attached to the public interest of preventing disorder or crime, and that it was “satisfied that the appellant’s words and actions tend to be inflammatory, divisive, insulting and likely to foment tension and radicalism.”
Salah has served time in Israeli prisons for incitement and participation in numerous riots in northern Israel and in Jerusalem. In 2010, Salah served a sentence of five months in prison for setting off riots in Jerusalem and encouraging violence against Jews, over Israel's renovation of an entrance to the Temple Mount next to the Kotel.
Officials in Britain said they would deport Salah as soon as possible. If he fails in last appeal attempt to remain in the country, he will hauled onto a plane back home – where he will once again be Israel's problem.
Earlier, MK Michael Ben-Ari appealed to British authorities to keep Salah. In a letter to the immigration board, Ben-Ari wrote that since Britain was very involved in searching for ways to make peace in the Middle East, it would be helpful if Salah was allowed to remain there. “As you know, Salah has worked to increase tensions between Arabs and Jews in our small country, and this was proved by a government committee examining riots by Israeli Arabs in 2000.
“With his talents as a Muslim leader, I believe Salah will do well with the large and growing Muslim community in Britain. Allowing him to remain in Britain will show your true commitment to peace in this region, and you will also benefit from the presence of such an important personage,” Ben-Ari wrote.