Israeli court extends religious leader’s detention

Author: AFPThu, 2017-08-17 17:54ID: 1502997265991250300TEL AVIV: An Israeli court has extended the detention of an Islamic religious leader accused of inciting violence in connection with deadly tensions last month over a holy site in Jerusalem.
Arab Israeli Raed Salah, a prominent member of a now-banned movement, was arrested on Tuesday.
The Rishon Lezion Justice court near Tel Aviv extended his remand to Aug. 21.
Police told the court the allegations against Salah relate to a sermon he gave after a July attack that killed two policemen near Haram Al-Sharif mosque compound.
Police alleged the sermon was “directly related to the murder of the two policemen and delivered in front of a large crowd.”Free speech
Salah’s lawyers and supporters say his sermons are always within the bounds of free speech and that he “stands against the murder of innocents.”
They have called the preacher’s arrest political intimidation and say it was intended to silence dissent.
Salah said in court that he had been threatened by Jewish prisoners.
“If something happens, my blood is going to be on (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu’s hands,” he said.
The 58-year-old is accused of inciting violence and terrorism as well as support for and participation in an illegal organization.
His arrest came following his release from prison in January after serving a nine-month sentence on similar allegations.
His group, the radical northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, was outlawed in 2015 for incitement linked to the Haram Al-Sharif, which includes Al-Aqsa Mosque and the golden-topped Dome of the Rock.
The site in Jerusalem’s Old City is the third-holiest in Islam.
Violence erupted in and around the compound last month after two policemen were shot dead on July 14.
Israel responded by installing metal detectors at the entrance to the site.
For nearly two weeks, worshippers refused to submit to the checks and staged mass prayers in the surrounding streets.
Ensuing protests and clashes left seven Palestinians dead, while three Israelis were fatally stabbed by a Palestinian assailant.
The crisis abated when Israel removed the detectors.
Central to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the complex lies in East Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognized by the international community.
Palestinians fear Israel will gradually seek to assert further control over it, though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said he is committed to the status quo.
Arab-Israelis are descendants of Palestinians who remained on their land following the creation of Israel in 1948.
They account for some 17.5 percent of the population of 8 million and largely sympathize with the Palestinian cause.
Main category: Middle-EastTags: Israeli courtTel AvivJerusalemRaed Salahrelated_nodes: Religious leader arrested for ‘inciting violence’Israel detains 5 women over prayer at Western Wall

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