The Arab League has called upon the international community, international organizations and human rights bodies to put pressure on Israel to release Sheikh Raed Salah from prison. Sheikh Raed is the head of the Islamic movement inside northern Israel and he was sentenced by a Magistrates Court in Jerusalem to nine months' in prison for a "disturbance" the so-called "Moroccans' door" issue – at Al-Aqsa Mosque in February 2007.
In a statement issued by the Palestine department in the General Secretariat, the League condemned the sentence and held Israel responsible for this dangerous development, which paves the way for attacks on clergy and scholars, something relatively unknown in the region. The statement appealed to Arab and Islamic countries to take immediate action to support Jerusalem and the Palestinian people who are steadfast therein.
The member states believe that the sentence against Sheikh Raed is purely political and nothing to do with justice or democratic principles. The Sheikh is being punished for taking part in legitimate action to address the transgressions by Israel against Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque. By taking Sheikh Raed out of the public domain in this way, the Israelis have shown that they are very close to taking serious measures against Al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy city of Jerusalem.
This prison sentence is the latest in a series of Israeli moves against prominent Palestinian leaders in Jerusalem, notably Sheikh Sabri Sabri, Sheikh Abu Zahra and a number of Christian clergymen.