Israeli Islamic Movement Deputy Leader Indicted for Incitement, Support for Terrorism

Sheikh Kamal Khatib was arrested last week following remarks he made after violence erupted at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem Day

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Sheikh Kamal Khatib in Nazareth Magistrate's Court on Thursday.
Sheikh Kamal Khatib in Nazareth Magistrate's Court on Thursday.Credit: Gil Eliahu
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

The State Prosecutor's Office filed charges on Thursday against the deputy chairman of the northern faction of the Islamic Movement in Israel for incitement to terrorism and incitement to violence as well as supporting a terrorist organization.

Sheikh Kamal Khatib was arrested last week in the northern Arab town of Kafr Kana following remarks he made after violence erupted at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount on May 10, Jerusalem Day. His lawyers rejected the allegations against him, calling them "political persecution."

The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee in Israel, an independent political organization that coordinates the political activity of various Israeli-Arab entities, also protested Khatib’s arrest, calling it an effort to intimidate the Arab public.

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The prosecution asked the Nazareth Magistrate's Court to order that Khatib remain in custody until the end of legal proceedings against him, but for the moment, the court ordered his detention extended for another three days.

The Shin Bet security service said that in recent weeks, Khatib had “made use of his public position to incite and inflame the rioters on the Temple Mount and throughout the country. His remarks resonate on social media and encourage violent demonstrations and disturbances."

According to a Shin Bet statement, Khatib “had been warned a number of times and it was made clear to him that his messages encourage terror activity and were approaching the level of criminal violations.” It added that Khatib had been arrested “in light of the major risk his activity poses to public safety and public order.”

Following Khatib's arrest, riots broke out in Kafr Kana in which 28 people were injured, four of them seriously. According to a Haifa hospital to which 18 of the wounded were brought, most had been wounded by live fire.

Last week, about 200 people protested outside the entrance to the Haifa Magistrate's Court over Khatib arrest. Thes sheikh's driver was arrested during the protest. Public figures, including the mayor of Umm al-Fahm, Samir Mahameed, attended the demonstration.

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