Israel Islamist leader likely to face 'incitement' prosecution

Israeli Northern Islamic Movement deputy likely to face 'incitement' prosecution
2 min read
25 May, 2021
Kamal Khatib was first arrested on 16 May in relation to purported comments following Israeli aggression at Al-Aqsa on Jerusalem Day.
Kamal Khatib's arrest relates to purported comments following Israeli aggression at Al-Aqsa [Eyad Tawil/Anadolu Agency/Getty]

The deputy chief of Israel's Northern Islamic Movement is likely to face prosecution over accusations of "incitement", according to reports, following purported comments regarding Israeli aggression at Al-Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem Day.

Kamal Khatib, who was first arrested on 16 May and rejects the accusations against him, has now been "remanded", Haaretz reported on Tuesday.

The measure, which lasts up to Thursday, was implemented following assertions that a "reasonable basis for fearing that the defendant will endanger public peace" exists.

Nevertheless, Khatib will be set free should an indictment fail to be lodged within this timeframe.

This follows a previous four-day extension given last Thursday.

Director of Palestinian rights group Adalah, Hassan Jabareen, who is also a member of Khatib's legal team, told the court on Monday that his client's comments did not provide sufficient basis for arrest.

Moreover, the court was shown footage from a religious lecture given by Khatib the same day he was arrested, in an attempt to dispel incitement allegations.

In it, he slammed violence used against a Jewish man who entered the Kafr Kana area, explaining that, if he was there he would assist the victim.

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Last Thursday, approximately 200 people came to demonstrate against Khatib's detention outside Haifa Magistrate's Court.

It has been argued by the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee that the detention seeks to frighten Palestinians.

Khatib was first also held over allegations he belongs to a terror group, according to Haaretz, however, the prosecution did not reference this in its Monday statement.

The Northern Islamic Movement, a political and social organisation, was banned in 2015 by then-Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon.

The move was criticised by then-Shin Bet head Yoram Cohen who, according to Haaretz, said they had no evidence connecting the organisation to terror.

It seems likely this ban was the source of the early terror-related claims against Khatib.

The Northern Islamic Movement's leader, Sheikh Raed Salah, is presently jailed for incitement and "supporting terrorism", Haaretz reported.