Ra'ad Salah: Ban Doesn’t Worry Us; We’ll Continue to Act Toward Removing Occupation of Al-Aqsa

Islamic Movement’s northern branch leader responds to cabinet’s decision to outlaw his organization: 'The Islamic Movement is not a passing phenomenon, its roots are everywhere.'

Gil Eliyahu

Sheikh Ra’ad Salah, leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, responded on Tuesday night to the cabinet’s decision earlier that day to outlaw his organization, saying that “it was contemptible.” He vowed that his organization would continue to work toward the removal of “the occupation of Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

In a press conference in Umm al-Fahm, Salah said that he vehemently objects to the decision. “I’ll remain in my post and uphold the principles of the Islamic Movement and its message to the wider public. The movement is not a passing phenomenon but a movement with deep roots everywhere. It receives inspiration from God and the principles of Islam, as well as the principles of the Arab and Palestinian peoples.”

Salah emphasized that the “rights of the Islamic Movement in the past, present and future are much stronger than any arbitrary decision. We’ll continue to act – in spirit and blood we’ll redeem you, Al-Aqsa, until the occupation is removed from Jerusalem and the mosque.”

Salah related that he was interrogated by police as a member of an illegal organization, adding that he was proud to be a member of the Islamic Movement.

Earlier that day the security cabinet declared the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel to be an unlawful organization. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon signed the declaration under the authority given him by the 1945 [British Mandate-era] Emergency Rules. Following this decision, the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee decided to launch a general strike on Thursday, which will include schools. On Saturday, the committee plans to hold protest rallies across Israel.

The corollary of the cabinet decision is that anyone belonging to this organization, acting in its name or providing it with services will be criminally liable and subject to imprisonment. Any property belonging to the organization can be confiscated.

Following this decision, the police and Shin Bet security service seized property belonging to the organization and shut down its offices. Closure injunctions were handed to 17 NGOs that are associated with it in Rahat, Jaffa, Nazareth and Umm al-Fahm. The Shin Bet said that bank accounts serving these NGOs were frozen, since “they were used in the organization’s activities against state security.” Computers and documents were also seized in offices raided by police and Shin Bet forces.

The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee was scheduled to hold an emergency session on Wednesday morning.