On Wednesday morning, an Arab delegation representing the Higher Follow-up Committee for the Arab community inside Israel, met with the British Ambassador to Israel, Mathew Gould, at the British consulate in Tel Aviv. The Committee is the representative body of the Arab Palestinian population in Israel which includes all Arab political trends and parties active in the country.
Following the meeting, members of the delegation confirmed their frank and forthright demand for the immediate release of Sheikh Raed Salah. They informed Mr Gould that Salah’s arrest was tantamount to the arrest of every leader of the Arab community in the country; and that Britain had perpetrated an act that even Israel had not undertaken and that Salah did not represent only himself, but the whole Arab population.
Sheikh Kamal Khatib, vice chairman of the Islamic Movement in Israel who was part of the Arab delegation, said that despite reservations about British policy, it was inappropriate for Britain to have dealt with the Sheikh in this way. He said that the Committee had confirmed that Sheikh Raed did hold very clear positions on Israeli policies against Palestinians which he was dedicated to combatting using all factual, legal and popular means available.
After the meeting, Committee Chairman, Mohammad Zeidan, said that the meeting had been a conduit to convey the united and official Palestinian position to decision-makers in Britain. Other members of the Committee confirmed the opinion that the arrest was baseless, unlawful and political in nature and accused the British government of doing Israel’s dirty work for it.