Islamic Movement head prevented from leaving Israel

Interior minister issues order barring Raed Salah, on his way to Turkey, from exiting country for one month amid incitement charges

Raed Saleh, leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Raed Saleh, leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The head of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel was barred from boarding a flight to Turkey Wednesday per a court order preventing him from leaving the country for a month.

Sheikh Raed Salah arrived at passport control at Ben Gurion International Airport ahead of his flight when Shin Bet security officers presented him with the ban issued by Interior Minister Silvan Shalom.

The travel ban was issued because of the legal proceedings against Salah over his conviction for incitement to murder Jews.

Salah allegedly tried to flee the country after a court found him guilty in March of this year and handed him an 11-month sentence.

Senior Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have recently charged that Salah incited the Arab public to violence against Israeli Jews, and ministers say they are exploring options to outlaw the group in the wake of a round of deadly violence over the last two weeks.

Last week, Salah said his organization intends to respond to what he called “continued Israeli escalation” on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

“We have a package of plans ready to be unleashed immediately,” Salah said. “May the streets of Jerusalem be purified with the blood of the innocent, who shed it in order to separate from their souls the soldiers of the Israel occupation, also in the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque,” he said during that sermon.

Salah was sentenced earlier this year to 11 months in prison for incitement to violence and racism. The prosecution charged him in connection with a sermon he delivered in 2007 in Jerusalem, Army Radio reported. He has served previous terms for terror-related offenses.

The security cabinet on Sunday discussed possible legal measures to outlaw the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel for incitement to violence.

Netanyahu instructed the relevant judicial officials to begin assembling evidence that would make the organization illegal. A senior official in Jerusalem said following Sunday night’s meeting that the ministers would continue their debate on the issue in the coming days.

Earlier on Sunday, Shin Bet officials told the cabinet and security chiefs that the current wave of violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories is being fueled by the Islamic Movement in Israel and Hamas, not by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

In his statement during the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday, Netanyahu named Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and the Northern Branch Islamic Movement in Israel as sources of recent incitement.

Last week, Netanyahu charged that the terrorist attacks targeting Israelis “are all the result of wild and mendacious incitement by Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, several countries in the region and — no less, and frequently much more — the Islamic Movement in Israel” over the Temple Mount.

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