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Palestinian cleric gets 9 months in jail by Israel
01-14-2010, 01:33 PM,
Palestinian cleric gets 9 months in jail by Israel
Quote:An Israeli court has sentenced senior West Bank cleric Sheikh Raed Salah to nine months in prison for protesting Tel Aviv's construction plans near the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The outspoken critic of Israel and a leader of the Islamic Movement allegedly clashed with Israeli forces who confronted Palestinian protesters during demonstrations held in February 2007 in Jerusalem Al-Quds against excavations near the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

In August 2007, Sheikh Salah was indicted for "inciting racism and violence" for calling for a "third Intifada" to defend the holy site. He was arrested in October during similar demonstrations at Al-Aqsa, following reports that Jewish extremists were attempting to attack the mosque, the third holiest site for Muslims.

He was consequently banned from the area where clashes between angry demonstrators and Israeli troops had already given Tel Aviv enough headaches.

The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on Wednesday sentenced Salah to nine months in jail for the 2007 incident, begining next month. He received an additional suspended sentence of six months and has until February 28 to appeal the decision.

Salah previously served a two-year jail sentence after sending money to needy Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, funds that Israeli prosecutors claimed to have been used by Palestinian resistance fighters.

The Gaza-based Hamas government condemned the Israeli court ruling and accused Tel Aviv of an attempt to dampen the Palestinian leader's activities against the Al-Aqsa takeover.

Sheikh Salah's lawyer, Khaled Zabarka, accused Israel of making efforts to distract the public opinion "from its real crime" of occupying Al-Aqsa and to "satisfy the mood in Israel by convicting the honorable Sheikh Salah."

Jerusalem Al-Quds, revered by both Muslims and Jews as well as Christians, was occupied by the Israeli army in the six-day war in 1967 and was later annexed despite strong opposition from the international community, which still refuses to recognize the city as part of Israel.

The Palestinians demand Jerusalem Al-Quds as the capital of their promised future state but Ultra-Orthodox Jews claim that the city is their "God-given eternal capital."

Israel's hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also insisted not to abandon Jerusalem Al-Quds or share it with the Palestinians, vowing that "in any peace agreement, Jerusalem will remain the united capital of Israel."
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