For the first time since the northern wing of the Islamic Movement in Israel was outlawed last month, police made an arrest this week of a 64-year-old East Jerusalem Palestinian woman on suspicion of membership in the group.
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The woman, Zinat Jalad, is also suspected of illegal activity related to the Mourabitat, a Muslim women's group that maintained a presence on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and is seen by the authorities as partially responsible for the violence there. Her arrest is also the first of a suspected Mourabitat member since that group was outlawed.
One of Jalad's lawyers, Khaled Azbarga, denied that his client is a member of the northern wing of the Islamic Movement or of the Mourabitat, and said she is not aware of any "services" that she is alleged to have provided the Islamic Movement northern wing. (The southern wing of the movement has not been outlawed).
Jalad was arrested on Tuesday. On Thursday, the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court extended her detention by an additional three days, a decision that the Jerusalem District Court refused to reverse.
Azbarga accused authorities of attempting to incriminate his client simply for praying at the Al-Aqsa mosque. Another lawyer representing Jalad, Ramzi Ktilat, said the detainee refused to respond under police questioning, and told police she would only do so in court. The police have declined to specify what she is suspected of, Ktilat said.
Joint Arab List Knesset member Osama Saadia roundly condemned Jalad's detention, saying that if being a "mourabat," literally, a defender of the faith, being present at the Al-Aqsa mosque and "defending this holy place is illegal, then we are all criminals." And he added: "Every Palestinian is a mourabat from the day he is born and he has an obligation to defend the places that are holy to him. His crime amounts to being present at those holy sites, or do the messianic government and ministers have other plans?" Saadia asked than an urgent Knesset session be convened on the matter.
In another development on Thursday, two Jews, including one minor, were arrested when police dispersed an illegal demonstration by Temple Mount activists at the entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City. The group behind the demonstration, "Hozrim Lahar" (Returning to the Mount), is considered the most extreme of the various organizations seeking increased access for Jews to the Temple Mount. Its activists come from the same circles as do members of the outlawed Kach party and Lehava, the violent Jewish supremacist organization headed by Bentzi Gopstein.
Hozrim Lahar’s members periodically try to enter the mount. This time, they announced that they planned to light Hanukkah candles on the Mount, and about 40 members showed up for the event, but police stopped them from even entering the Old City, intercepting them at Jaffa Gate.