There are risks in banning the Islamic Movement in Israel, Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) said Tuesday, hours after the security cabinet made the fateful move early Tuesday – but the risks are worth the rewards, he said in an interview on Channel 10.
“The price we pay could be negative responses by the Arab public, or in the international community and the Arab world,” Erdan said. “The cabinet's decision means that it recognizes that there is a greater benefit in drying up the 'swamp' of incitement and hatred that the movement grows in, as compared with the negative implications of the decision."
"We took all this into account when making this decision, discussing it with all those who will be potentially involved, including police, a department that falls under my jurisdiction.”
If there are negative responses, said Erdan, “police will be ready for them. This is a decision that should have been made in 2000, at the time there was clear proof that the Movement was involved in incitement and terror.”
Fifteen years after the second intifada when the Movement incited mass rioting in northern Israel, “the time has come to make that decision," said Erdan.
In the interview, Erdan refused to elaborate on details of the rumored connection between Hamas and the Movement, but did say that the two were intertwined, financially and otherwise.
“There is funding connected to Hamas, and they do work with Hamas cells in Jerusalem. They operate openly in the field – for example, when Movement members on the Temple Mount gather rocks and other weapons to throw at visitors and police.”
In a statement earlier, the Security Cabinet said that "for years, the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement has been leading a campaign of deception under the headline 'Al Aqsa is in danger,' which falsely accuses Israel of intending to damage the Al Aqsa mosque and break the status quo. Within this framework, the Northern Branch established an array of paid activists – the murabitoun / murabitat – for the purpose of initiating provocations on the Temple Mount. This activity has led to a meaningful escalation in tensions on the Temple Mount. Many of the terror attacks carried out recently were executed against the background of this incitement and propaganda."
"The Northern Branch under Sheikh Raed Salah is a sister to the Hamas terror organization," the Cabinet added. "The two movements cooperate closely and secretly. The Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement is a separatist-racist organization that does not recognize the institutions of the state of Israel, negates its right to exist and calls for an Islamic caliphate in its stead."