Israeli Arab Committee Demands Release of Detained Islamic Leader

British ambassador to Israel says U.K. issued the order due to Salah’s extremist positions.

A delegation from the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee met Wednesday with British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould in anattempt to secure the release of Sheikh Raed Salah, who was detained lastTuesday in London.

Salah, a radical Palestinian who headsthe northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, arrived in London at theinvitation of several pro-Palestinian organizations, and had planned to hold aseries of lectures and meet with a number of British parliamentarians, but was arrestedat his hotel in London late Tuesday evening.

Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the Islamic Movement's northern branch
Tess Scheflan

According to committee member and Balad MK Jamal Zahalka, Gould told the delegation that that the order preventing Salah’s arrival went out only several hours before his arrival at the airport, and that the British Interior Ministry issued the order due to Salah’s extremist positions.

Zahalka stated that the British government’s position is completely unacceptable, and accused an anonymous source of “incitement against the Sheikh”.The delegation condemned the arrest, saying that it constitutes a blow to theentire Arab leadership which has chosen a "nonviolent struggle for equal rights." The delegation delivered a letter to the British government demanding Salah’s immediate andunconditional release.