aghrabia - Moti Kimche - March 30 2006
Dr. Suleiman Aghrabia, former mayor of Umm al-Fahm. Photo by Moti Kimche
Text size

A Jerusalem court on Sunday sentenced former Umm al-Fahm mayor Dr. Suleiman Aghbaria to a six-month suspended sentence and a fine of 15,000 NIS, for attacking a police officer and impeding another offiicer in the line of duty in a fight that broke out at the Mughrabi Gate in 2007.

Islamic Movement chief Sheikh Raed Salah is serving a jail sentence after he was convicted of participating in a riot and assaulting a police officer at the same demonstration. During Salah's sentencing, the court noted that Salah spat in the face of a policeman and told him, "You are racists and murderers, you have no respect."

There was a demonstration against construction work being done at the Mughrabi Gate in February 2007, and the demonstrators, Islamic movement members and residents of Jerusalem, fought with police. After the incident, Salah and Aghbaria were investigated and it was decided to hand down indictments.

The Mughrabi Gate is adjacent to the Temple Mount, which contains the Western Wall of the ancient Jewish temple in Jerusalem, the holiest site in Judaism, and the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam.

After his conviction, Raed Salah said that he did not recognize the prison sentence handed down to him by a Jerusalem court, but that he was not afraid to "be behind bars" for the sake of the al-Aqsa Mosque.