Salah calls for ’intifada’ against Temple Mount excavation
|Wednesday, February 21,2007 00:00|
|By Jonathan Lis, Haaretz|
The head of the northern branch of Israel’s Islamic Movement, Sheikh Ra’ad Salah, called Friday for an "intifada" to save the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Israel Radio reported.
According to the radio, Public Security Minister Avi Dichter asked Attorney General Menachem Mazuz on Friday to investigate whether Salah’s comments constitute incitement and sedition.
In a fiery speech at his protest tent in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Joz, Salah accused Israel of attempting to build the Temple on the Temple Mount while drenched in Arab blood, according to the radio.
Police Commissioner Moshe Karadi said Friday that police will investigate Salah’s comments, and should they be found to be seditious in nature, steps will be taken against him. The police are weighing whether to ask for a court order prohibiting Salah from entering Jerusalem altogether.
On Thursday, Salah dismissed a court ruling to extend by another month the order to keep him 150 meters away from the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem because he is accused of organizing demonstrations against Israeli renovations near the Temple Mount, spitting at police officers and calling them murderers, occupiers and cowards.
"They have no right to make decisions on anything connected to the Al-Aqsa Mosque," he said. "I emphasize that I will enter the mosque at any time I think is right."
Salah’s comments drew fire from political leaders. MK Effi Eitam (National Union-National Religious Party) called Salah a "ticking bomb under the fabric of relations between Israeli Arabs and the State of Israel."
Eitam called on the government to deal with Salah in the same manner in which it deals with Israel’s most dangerous enemies. "Israel must sever the dangerous alliance between the Islamic Movement and Israel’s enemies that seek its destruction," said Eitam.
Jerusalem Affairs Minister Yaacov Edri called on Salah to be placed under administrative detention. "Salah is engaging in serious incitement against the State of Israel," said Edri.
Yisrael Beiteinu MK David Rotem called on Attorney General Menachem Mazuz and Karadi to arrest Salah and ask the court to detain him until the end of legal proceedings against him, saying "once he has served his sentence, his citizenship must be revoked and he must be expelled from Israel."
National Union-NRP MK Zevulon Orlev called for Salah to be tried in court. "[Salah’s] comments are the result of negligence and forgivingness on the part of the courts and prosecution regarding the Arab public’s leaders," he said.
Labor MK Danny Yatom also called for Salah to be tried for incitement, and Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yonah Metzger called for Salah to be prosecuted to the full extend of the law for comments that are "based on lies and anti-Semitism."
Temple Mt. prayers end peacefully; scattered clashes in Jerusalem
Friday prayers at the Temple Mount ended without a recurrence of last week’s violent protests against Israeli renovations near the holy site, but several clashes took place between police and Arab youths in East Jerusalem.
Police arrested 10 Arab youths in East Jerusalem, including four suspected of attacking police officers in an attempt to get into the Temple Mount. Police said the others were arrested for participating in riots to protest Israeli renovations near the Temple Mount, including five who threw stones at police near the Old City’s Damascus Gate.
Arab youths also threw stones at police in the Ras al-Amud neighborhood of East Jerusalem. Police dispersed the demonstration with stun grenades.
Some 6,000 worshipers attended Friday prayers, Israel Radio reported.
Jerusalem police raised the the minimum age of worshipers allowed to enter the Temple Mount compound to 50. No restriction was imposed on female worshipers.
Police had been expecting another outbreak of the violence that erupted last week over a salvage dig near the Mugrabi Gate leading to the Temple Mount, which is meant to precede the replacement of a temporary bridge.
Police raised the alert level across the country Friday in anticipation of possible protests, deploying some 3,000 police officers in East Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, Turkey announced Thursday that a delegation led by Ankara’s ambassador to Israel would visit the site of the Mugrabi ascent in the near future to investigate whether the walkway causes damage to the foundations of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Last week, the police forbade men under 45 from entering the compound, but found that many of the worshipers took part in the stone throwing and disturbances. Police considered forbidding men under 65 to enter Temple Mount this week, but ultimately decided against that for the time being.
During the past week, police arrested more than 70 worshipers who had been photographed rioting last Friday. Policemen posted along the Old City gates blocked Arab residents of Jerusalem who are under age 45 and live outside the Old City from entering. Everyone working, studying or residing within the Old City was required to present identity cards before entering.
Muslim separatists in Kasmir protest against Temple Mount dig
Traffic was thin and most streets in Srinagar, summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority state, were deserted in response to the call by Islamist militants fighting New Delhi’s rule in the disputed region.
"We appeal to Kashmiri Muslims to protest against the nefarious designs of Israel," Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen, a hardline militant group, said in a statement. Al-Badr, another militant group, backed the call.
Scores of Muslims shouting "Al-Aqsa mosque is crying ... down with Israel" took to streets of Srinagar and burned Israeli flags.