JERUSALEM (JTA) – A Jerusalem court acquitted the head of the Islamic Movement in Israel of involvement in a 2007 riot in Jerusalem.
Sheik Raed Salah, who leads the Islamic Movement’s northern branch, was arrested and charged with assaulting a policeman during a riot in the Old City of Jerusalem in protest of Israeli archeological excavations next to the Mugrabi Gate, which leads to the Temple Mount from the Western Wall plaza.
A panel of judges from the Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court ruled Tuesday that footage taken during the protest and submitted by Salah’s defense "could prove inaccuracies in the indictment."
In a speech during the riot, Salah said, "It is now the duty of every Arab and Muslim to launch an intifada from one end to another to save Jerusalem and the Al-Aksa Mosque. We are not the ones who allowed ourselves to eat a meal based on bread and cheese soaked in children’s blood."
Salah also accused Israel of undertaking the dig in order to cause the Temple Mount, upon which sits the Al-Aksa Mosque, to collapse.
According to the indictment, Salah waved a Syrian flag and spit in the face of a Border Guard officer. He also tried, with several other Israeli Arabs, to break into the excavation site.
Salah delivered fiery speeches and called his followers to the Temple Mount during recent rioting over the restoration and rededication of an Old City synagogue.