Sunday, January 17, 2010

Barghouthi: Detention of Sheikh Salah an attack on Jerusalem

Ramallah – Ma’an – Mustafa Barghouti, secretary general of the Palestinian National Initiative, condemned the recent Israeli court decision to incarcerate Sheikh Raed Salah.

The religious leader is head of the Islamic Movement in northern Israel, and is a seminal figure in mobilizing Muslims in the country in the protection of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. He was previously banned by the state from entering the Holy City, and has faced arrest on more than one occasion. On Monday he was sentenced to 9 months in prison for assaulting an Israeli officer.

Barghouti, a well known moderate and unity politician, said in a public statement that the decision represented an "attack" on Jerusalem and an "attempt to shut the mouths of those who defend it." He said the trial of Sheikh Salah "reveals the truth and the uselessness of the negotiations with an extremist Israeli government."

He called it a clear escalation of attacks on Jerusalem, adding to the project of displacement evidenced by home demolitions and arest campaigns.

The attack Sheikh Salah was convicted of occur ed in 2007, and involved spitting on a policeman who was barring him from entry to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.