​The Northern Faction of the Islamic Movement denies Israel’s right to exist, calls for replacing the State of Israel with an Islamic caliphate and does not recognize governmental institutions.

 Behind the Headlines: Northern Faction of the Islamic Movement organization outlawed

 

Copyright: Reuters archive photo

​The Security Cabinet has decided to declare the Northern Faction of the Islamic Movement organization in Israel to be an unlawful organization. Headed by Sheikh Raed Salah, the Northern Faction of the Islamic Movement denies Israel’s right to exist, calls for replacing the State of Israel with an Islamic caliphate and does not recognize governmental institutions.
 
The decision to declare the Northern Faction of the Islamic Movement in Israel an unlawful organization is based on the threat that the organization poses to public order and its continuous incitement to violence and racism, resulting in a severe threat to life and limb.
 
A significant body of evidence demonstrates that the Northern Faction is closely related to the Hamas terrorist organization and clandestine cooperation between the two groups is ongoing. Like Hamas, the Islamic Movement organization in Israel is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Representatives of both Hamas and the Islamic Movement hold senior positions in the Muslim Brotherhood leadership and share a radical ideology and a common extremist goal: the destruction of the State of Israel, along with other moderate states in the region.
 
Under the banner "Al-Aqsa is in Danger," the Northern Faction of the Islamic Movement organization is leading a campaign of lies and incitement based on the false accusation that Israel intends to harm Haram al-Sharif (the Temple Mount) and to violate the status quo on this site, which is holy to both Jews and Muslims. The vast majority of the recent Palestinian terrorist attacks were inspired by this propaganda and incitement to violence.
 
As part of its campaign – and in collusion with Hamas – the Northern Faction set up two groups of activists: the Murabitun (for men) and the Murabitat (for women). These activists are paid to create provocations and to harass Jews and other non-Muslims peacefully visiting the Temple Mount. The violent activities carried out by members of these groups have led to an increase in tensions on the Temple Mount.
 
In September, with the beginning of the Jewish High Holidays, the Islamic Movement’s incitement campaign greatly intensified. Inflammatory speeches, social media postings and other forms of hate-speech resulted in rioting on the Temple Mount and in the current wave of terrorism against Israelis in the West Bank, Jerusalem and the rest of Israel, in which 14 Israelis have been murdered. The movement’s leaders praise these attacks and grant them legitimacy.
 
To counter the incitement to violence by the Northern Faction of the Islamic Movement organization, a number of legal measures have been implemented by Israel in recent years. These include outlawing some of the Movement’s institutions; a ban on the Murabitun/Murabitat issued by the Defense Minister in September 2015; and indictments against members of the movement, including Raed Salah, for serious security offenses including incitement to violence and racism. Salah has been convicted and sentenced to prison a number of times in the past and will shortly be starting a prison sentence of 11 months.
 
Under Israeli law, any group or person belonging to an unlawful organization – or any person colluding with the organization – is committing a criminal act and can be subject to imprisonment and/or confiscation of funds and property. This measure is not directed in any way at Islam or at the general Arab-Israeli population, which overwhelmingly abides by the law and rejects incitement to violence and terrorist activities. It also will not affect the Southern Faction of the Islamic Movement organization in Israel.
 
 
Background on the Islamic Movement’s top leaders
 
Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the Northern Faction of the Islamic Movement:
 
Salah is the leader of the Northern Faction of the Islamic Movement and thedominant and most charismatic figure in the entire Islamic Movement organization. He is the prime mover behind the "Al-Aqsa is in Danger" campaign and is branded as the "Shield of Al-Aqsa" in the Muslim world. In his position as leader of the Northern Faction of the Islamic Movement, he maintains contact with figures from the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas abroad in order to coordinate activities and receive funding. He also works with senior Hamas leaders in Jerusalem to coordinate actions in Jerusalem, particularly on the Temple Mount. He was arrested in 1981, 2003 and 2010. Born in 1958, he is a resident of Umm al-Fahm in lower Galilee.
 
Sheikh Kamal Khatib, deputy head of the Northern Faction of the Islamic Movement:
 
Khatib is the deputy head of the Northern Faction and acting head in Salah’s absence. He is a senior member of the Islamic Movement’s national directorate and a close confidant of Salah and other movement leaders. Lately, he has been a key figure in fomenting unrest connected to the Temple Mount. Born in 1962, he is a resident of Kafr Kana in the lower Galilee.
 
Husam Abu Leil, second deputy head of the Islamic Movement:
 
Abu Leil is the head of the Islamic Movement in Ein Mahal, near Nazareth. He is also a member of the political bureau of the movement. In 2014, he participated in violent confrontations on the Temple Mount and was banned from the site for three months. Born in 1966, he is a resident of Ein Mahal.
 
Yousef Awawdeh:
 
Awawdeh is a senior Islamic Movement official and chair of the NGO Imarat al-Aqsa (which was closed down in September 2014). He was recently appointed to an additional position, chair of the movement’s external affairs office. Recently, he was served with an order forbidding him from leaving the country. Born in 1975, he is a resident of Kafr Kana in the lower Galilee.
 
Ziyad Zir’ini:
 
Zir’ini is secretary of the Islamic Movement and head of the movement’s branch in Tur’an. Born in 1961, he is a resident of Tur’an near Nazareth.
 
Dr. Suleiman Aghbaria:
 
A senior official of the Islamic movement, Aghbaria is responsible for the movement’s activities in Jerusalem and maintains contacts with many Hamas activists in the capital. Born in 1975, he is a resident of Umm al-Fahm in lower Galilee.
 
 
Incitement by Islamic Movement leaders
 
Following are examples of extreme and inciting quotes from senior leaders of the Islamic Movement organization made over the past year. Many of the quotes concentrate on the al-Aqsa mosque, located on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem. The Islamic Movement in Israel frequently attempts to incite violence, particularly on the Temple Mount, including by spreading the lie that Israel threatens the mosque:
 
Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the Northern Faction of the Islamic Movement:
 
Statements by Raed Salah (as included in the criminal indictment against him, File No. 5425/08):
 
• "The finest moment in our destiny is when we meet God as shaheeds (martyrs) in al-Aqsa mosque… The streets of Jerusalem will be purified by the blood of the innocents whose souls were taken by the Israeli Occupation soldiers…
 
• We have never allowed ourselves to knead the blood of children into the bread of the meal breaking the fast of the blessed month of Ramadan … Whoever needs more explanation should ask what happened to some of the children in Europe, whose blood was mixed into the dough of the sacred bread (matza)…
 
• We are not alone in this struggle… The battle that was started by the Israeli occupation against holy Jerusalem and against the blessed al-Aqsa mosque has not ended up to now. Since 1948, the Israeli establishment is continuing its war against holy Jerusalem and the blessed al-Aqsa mosque… and in 1967 a battle took place there that is being continued by the Israeli occupation establishment, which is occupying holy Jerusalem and the blessed al-Aqsa mosque.
 
• We call on every Muslim and Arab in the Islamic and Arab present… to help the Palestinian people. Now is the time to fulfill their obligation to carry out an Islamic Arab Intifada from sea to sea, in support of holy Jerusalem and the blessed al-Aqsa mosque."
 
Additional Statements by Raed Salah:
 
• "We will be faithful to Jerusalem and al-Aqsa even if it means that we will die and meet Allah" (press conference, 8 Oct 2015).
 
• "With spirit and with blood we will redeem you, al-Aqsa" (Facebook, 7 Oct 2015).
 
• It is impossible to live in coexistence with the ‘Occupation’ (i.e. Israel) and its presence in al-Aqsa, and the solution is its disappearance forever" (interview in Safa news agency, 31 Aug 2015).
 
• "According to Allah’s will, we will win or die, and thus we will remain until the ‘Occupation’ passes… Any price for the sake of al-Aqsa is cheap, whether it is prison, exile, injury or martyrdom" (interview in Qpress, 29 Sept 2015).
 
Excerpts from articles written by Raed Salah and published on the Islamic Movement’s website (pls48), May 2014:
 
• The Israeli occupation is cursed and obscene. It doesn’t have a right to even one stone of al-Aqsa mosque; it doesn’t have a right to even one grain of sand in Jerusalem… It is a corrupting, evil, oppressive, terrorist, destructive occupation with which it is forbidden to have close contact or coexist.
 
• Let us go all together to al-Aqsa mosque and call "Allah Akhbar" …  the Muslims come day and night, from the East and from the West, chanting "With spirit and with blood, we will redeem you, al-Aqsa."
 
• We must continue to reject the ‘Occupation,’ its existence, its continuation, and its spreading to even one grain of sand in Jerusalem or al-Aqsa… to resist any attempt of the Israeli occupation to invade al-Aqsa, or to impose on it a time-sharing arrangement or a physical division, or to build the legendary Temple on the ruins of the Dome of the Rock… "
 
 
Sheikh Kamal Khatib, deputy head of the Northern Faction of the Islamic Movement:
 
• "I demand of our people in the West Bank to rise up against the ‘Occupation,’ for the victory of Jerusalem and al-Aqsa."
 
Husam Abu Leil, second deputy head of the Islamic Movement:
 
• "Al-Aqsa is part of our ideology; it’s the blood flowing through our veins…  today we sign in blood to defend our holy sites – it is a matter of honor for us."
 
• The ‘Occupation’ has no existence here; we will not keep silent even if you fight us; we will not keep silent even if you outlaw the Islamic Movement…  Woe to you if you harm al-Aqsa mosque. Alas (for) the Israeli occupation."
 
• "This is the behavior of animals. It is known that there are animals that are educated to kill. For these predators, it is their nature. When they hunt their prey, they grasp it and hold it until it dies. Just so is the ‘Occupation’" (sermon, 31 Oct 2014).