Feb. 10 (UPI) — Influential Israeli Palestinian resistance figure Sheikh Raed Salah was sentenced to 28 months in prison by an Israeli court Monday after being convicted last year inciting terrorism.
Salah had been on tightly controlled home detention when the sentence was announced at the magistrate’s court in Haifa. He will be credited with serving 11 months in prison since his initial arrest in August 2017.
Described by prosecutors as a “hate preacher,” the 64-year-old Salah was arrested after delivering a speech at the funerals of three Arab-Israelis who killed two police officers during a July 2017 terror attack outside the Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem.
Prosecutors said Salah, the former head of the now-banned Islamic Movement in northern Israel, delivered “words of praise, admiration and support for terror attacks” at the funeral.
In response to the Temple Mount attack, Israel closed the holy site to Muslim worshipers for several days while metal detectors were installed at the entrances. This prompted a boycott by Muslim worshipers and violent protests during which five Palestinians were killed.
Salah was also charged with giving speeches encouraging the clashes around the Temple Mount.
Jailed often over the years, he is regarded as an icon by backers of the Palestinian resistance against the occupation of the West Bank. Salah has had previous convictions for funding Hamas, contact with Iranian intelligence and assaulting a police officer.
Born in the Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm, he served as its mayor for three consecutive terms from 1987 to 2001.