Concerns are growing over the fate of Shaikh Raed Salah who was wounded early on during the Israeli attack on the aid convoy ships. Initial reports suggested that he had a serious head wound and had to undergo emergency surgery. Since then there has been a news blackout over his condition.
Sheikh Raed Salah is one of the most prominent Palestinian leaders living in Israel. Born in 1958 in the town of Umm al-Fahm, he rose to prominence when he was elected to be mayor of his home town with more than 70% of the votes. He is an internationally well-known and respected figure, regarded not only for his dedication to the cause of the Palestinian people but also for his very modest lifestyle. Although as a “1948 Palestinian” he holds an Israeli passport, he is a staunch critic of Israeli’s discriminatory policies against the Palestinians Arabs in Israel and in the occupied Palestinian territories.
His opposition to Israel’s policies has led to him being arrested on a number of occasions. In 2000 he was shot in the head by Israeli soldiers in what many believe was a deliberate assassination attempt. Following his recovery, he continued to be a fervent campaigner, particularly for the rights of the occupied city of Jerusalem and its inhabitants. It was a typical gesture by this very modest and caring man that he was on a ship carrying humanitarian aid to his fellow Palestinians besieged in Gaza.
Palestinians in the diaspora are waiting for the latest medical bulletin about Shaikh Raed Salah.