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Shaikh Raed Salah accuses non-Israelis of trying to ban him from Al-Aqsa Mosque

March 27, 2015 at 2:24 pm

The leader of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel said on Thursday that a court’s decision to imprison him is intended to keep him away from Al-Aqsa Mosque, in which Israelis want to allocate time for Jewish prayers. Shaikh Raed Salah insisted that it is also a way of increasing illegal settlements in Jerusalem; he accused non-Israeli parties, which he did not identify, of being behind this move to keep him away from the Noble Sanctuary.

Speaking to Anadolu, Shaikh Raed said that the foreigners have “formed an alliance” with Israel to block Palestinian defence of Al-Aqsa from Israeli incursions. When asked if the non-Israelis were Arabs, he declined to elaborate further, saying only that the parties want to deter Palestinian efforts to defend the holy mosque against Israeli aggression.

Pointing out that Israel’s right-wing government has chosen a critical time to imprison him for 11 months, just as Jewish institutions are attacking Jerusalem, particularly Al-Aqsa Mosque, he noted that Palestinian areas inside Israel are also being threatened. “The most serious threat against Al-Aqsa Mosque are calls to destroy it and build a Temple structure in its place,” Shaikh Salah explained.

An Israeli court in Jerusalem sentenced him to 11 months in prison for “inciting violence” during a mosque sermon he gave in 2007. “Our warnings are not random,” said the Palestinian leader, “and we stress that the future Israeli government’s plan for Jerusalem are to divide the city and undermine the Palestinian existence there.” He pointed out that Israel attacks him because he defends Al-Aqsa Mosque and Islamic heritage.

Known locally as “Shaikh of Al-Aqsa”, Salah accused the Israel army of attempting to assassinate him during their attack on the Mavi Marmara aid ship in 2010 as it attempted to break the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip. He was imprisoned for trying to defend his people’s rights. “I know that the danger still exists but it will not scare me and I will not hesitate to defend Al-Aqsa and Jerusalem with all my power,” he added as he called on all Muslims and Arabs to come to the defence of the holy city and mosque.