Oct. 6, 2009
After Israeli ministers called for his indictment on Tuesday morning, Islamic Movement leader Raed Salah stated in the afternoon that he and his supporters "would pay any price to defend Al-Aqsa [Mosque]" in Jerusalem, Israel Radio reported.
Salah, who leads the Islamic Movement's northern branch, called on all Israeli Arabs and residents of east Jerusalem to immediately make their way to the Old City and "shield the mosque with their bodies."
In response to accusations of inciting to violence in the Temple Mount compound in the past days, Salah stated that if forced by the Israeli government to choose between imprisonment and defending the mosque "and occupied Jerusalem," he would choose the former without hesitation.
MK Ibrahim Sarsour (UAL-Ta'al), of the Islamic Movement's more moderate southern branch, told Israel Radio on Tuesday that he could not understand why Salah and his supporters were heralding a tournament where "medallions will be handed to all those who participate in the race for Al-Aqsa." Sarsour asserted that his northern counterpart's incitement of aggression was counterproductive to the Arab cause.
Earlier Tuesday, in the wake of the Arab riots in Jerusalem, Vice Premier Silvan Shalom and National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau called for the Islamic Movement to be outlawed for allegedly inciting the violence, while Interior Minister Eli Yishai stressed that Israel was the sovereign "in the eternal, united capital of the Jewish people."
"Sheikh Raed Salah should be behind bars, and so should [deputy head] Kamal Khatib," Shalom told Israel Radio on Tuesday. "I intend to raise the issue in the next cabinet meeting."
While Shalom praised the police force for doing its job, he stressed that "it's time for the state prosecution to start acting ... enough is enough."
The Palestinian Authority contributes to the situation by trying to assert its authority over east Jerusalem, Shalom said, but Israel needs to assert its sovereignty on the Temple Mount.
Israel must act decisively and crack down on the rioters, because if it fails to do so, those fanning the violence will interpret this as weakness and increase their activities, the vice premier concluded.
Landau also called for the indictment of those Muslim leaders who were calling for violence and confrontation in the capital and encouraging hateful anti-Israeli sentiments, among them "Sheikh Raed Salah and his ilk."
"Israel must stop paying the salaries of imams and heads of mosques who engage in incitement against the st
Landau stated that implementing his suggestions could possibly "put a stop to the inflammation that brings about the wounding of soldiers, stone-throwing, riots and clashes."
Also on Tuesday morning, Yishai said that "the state of Israel is the sovereign in Jerusalem and there is no force that can limit it in the eternal, united capital of the Jewish people."
The interior minister went on to stress that no amount of anti-Jewish preaching could undermine the Jewish people's connection to the city.
"Anti-Jewish preaching from within the country or from abroad cannot undermine nor loosen the connection between the people of Israel and their capital, and the need to strengthen and develop the city," the minister concluded.
Minorities Minister Avishai Braverman told Israel Radio that the government was strict about ensuring that Jews would not pray at the Temple Mount and stressed that Jews are forbidden from entering the compound according to Jewish law.
Extremists on both sides are trying to incite violence and set fire to the Middle East, and stopping them is essential, Braverman said.