Israel extends arrest of religious leader

Supporters of Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, protest against his arrest and detention, outside the Rishon Lezion Justice court near Tel Aviv recently. (AFP)
Updated 21 August 2017
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Israel extends arrest of religious leader

JERUSALEM: An Israeli court has extended the remand of a religious leader accused of inciting violence in connection with last month’s deadly tensions over a Jerusalem holy site, his lawyer said.
Raed Salah, arrested on August 15, had his remand extended until Thursday, Khaled Zabarka said.
The 58-year-old Arab Israeli is accused of inciting violence and terrorism as well as support for an illegal organization.
Prosecutors told the court on Monday that they intend to file charges against Salah, Zabarka said.
Salah and his supporters call the accusations “political intimidation” intended to silent dissent.
His group, the radical northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, was outlawed in 2015 for incitement linked to Haram Al-Sharif Mosque compound.
Police say the allegations against Salah include a sermon he gave after a July 14 attack that killed two policemen near Haram A-Sharif, which includes Al-Aqsa Mosque and the golden-topped Dome of the Rock.
Violence erupted in and around the site after two policemen were killed by security forces.
Israel responded to the July 14 deadly shootings by installing metal detectors at the entrance to the holy site, used as a staging point for the attack.
For nearly two weeks, worshippers refused to submit to the checks and staged mass prayers in surrounding streets.
Ensuing protests and clashes left seven Palestinians dead, while three Israelis were stabbed to death in a West Bank settlement by a Palestinian assailant.
The crisis abated when Israel removed the detectors.
The Jerusalem site is the third-holiest in Islam. It is central to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Salah’s latest arrest follows his release from prison in January after serving a nine-month sentence on similar allegations.


Assad accused of ‘using urban development law to carry out ethnic cleansing’

Pro-government forces stand in the destroyed Thalateen Street in the Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp on the southern outskirts of the capital Damascus on May 24, 2018, as civilians return to see their homes after the regime seized the camp and adjacent neighborhoods of Tadamun and Hajar al-Aswad earlier in the week from the Daesh group. (AFP / LOUAI BESHARA)
Updated 27 May 2018
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Assad accused of ‘using urban development law to carry out ethnic cleansing’

  • he so-called “Law 10” allows the regime to acquire previously private property in which to create zoned developments, and to compensate the owners with shares in the new projects.
  • Many of the displaced have lost the necessary paperwork, are struggling financially or may not learn of the legal requirements in time.

JEDDAH: The Assad regime in Syria was accused on Saturday of using a new law on urban development to carry out and rid the country of all political opposition.

The so-called “Law 10” allows the regime to acquire previously private property in which to create zoned developments, and to compensate the owners with shares in the new projects.

However, after a seven-year war that has created more than 5 million refugees and 6 million internally displaced people, property rights are in a state of confusion. Many of the displaced have lost the necessary paperwork, are struggling financially or may not learn of the legal requirements in time.

The Assad regime is using the confusion to create a suitable environment for demographic change, Syrian opposition spokesman Yahya Al-Aridi told Arab News. 

“The regime has a two-fold goal,” he said. “First, terrorize the opposition and supporters of the Syrian revolution so that they lose the right to their properties.

“Second, there is talk of reconstruction in Syria now. This law sends out a message to investors that their interests lie with the regime. It is an attempt to tempt companies and business people to support the regime, because the regime is the only party that approves bids and gives grants and contracts. All this merely adds to the Syrians’ plight and misery.”

Al-Aridi said the attempted land grab was being resisted by European countries, especially France and Germany. “The Syrian Negotiating Committee is also exerting a very important effort so that such an evil act will not happen,” he said. 

Also on Saturday, the US warned Damascus it would take “firm action” if the regime violates a cease-fire deal, after Syrian aircraft dropped leaflets on a southern province in advance of an expected offensive.

Al-Aridi said any such offensive would be a breach of agreements between Russia and the US on de-escalation zones, and he warned the regime and Iran against “playing games” with the US. “Such threats are part of a response to the two unanswered Israeli attacks on Iran’s military positions in Syria,” he said.

“They area also meant to divert attention from the American-Israeli intent to kick Iranian militias and forces out of Syria.”

He said the regime and Iran could do nothing without Russian support. “We don’t think the Russians are willing to provide such support, or to mess with the US or Israel. Parallel to such threats, Assad is trying to make certain reconciliation agreements with what they call ‘Syrians in liberated areas.’ We believe that they cannot do anything of the sort.”