The Palestinian National Assembly for Jerusalem is the highest representative body for Palestinians in the Holy City, with members from all Palestinian political parties, Muslim and Christian religious denominations and civil society organisations, as well as independent national figures and academics. The Assembly has issued the following statement regarding the detention and threatened deportation of Sheikh Raed Salah by the British government:
“We, the members of the Palestinian National Assembly for Jerusalem, proclaim our dismay and condemnation of the British government’s decision to arrest and detain Sheikh Raed Salah in London.
Such an unjustified and unlawful procedure fails to acknowledge the most basic of human rights and represents a dangerous escalation of the levels of indignity directed at the Palestinian people as a whole; Sheikh Raed Salah is one of the national symbols of our people.
That the British government should yield to pressure from the Zionist lobby by arresting Sheikh Raed Salah is a serious blow to its credibility in respect of Westminster’s relations with the Palestinian people and their cause. In effect, this move by Home Secretary Theresa May makes the British government complicit in the Israeli occupation and its repression of Israel’s own Palestinian citizens as well as those in the occupied Palestinian territories.
It would have been more appropriate for the British government to apprehend Israeli officials accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, particularly in the Gaza Strip, rather than arresting a Palestinian leader who has been and continues to be a victim of Israeli oppression.
In the name of the people of Jerusalem, we call on the British government, without restriction or condition, to release Sheikh Salah immediately and bring those responsible for his arrest to account. We similarly call on international human rights organisations, primarily Amnesty International, to condemn this latest violation of Palestinian rights and work towards securing the Sheikh’s release.”