Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the radical Islamic Movement in Israel, was handed an 11-month jail sentence on Tuesday after the courts rejected his petition on charges of incitement from back in 2007.
He was initially convicted on the incitement charge in March 2014 and sentenced to eight months in prison, but both he and the prosecution appealed.
Salah's attorney Omar Khamayseh told AFP he intended to appeal to the Supreme Court, but a prosecutor said he would have to request the right to do so, since he already appealed once.
Salah has a long history of inciting violence focused around Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, particularly during the recent wave of terror attacks that began at the start of the month.
In response to the ruling, Salah said, "Jerusalem is under occupation and we won't give up on the value of Al-Aqsa Mosque."
"With spirit and with blood we will redeem Al-Aqsa," he vowed, in an open call for violence. He went on to say US Secretary of State John Kerry "is giving legitimacy to the Zionist occupation in the mosque. When the court says we don't have the right to defend Al-Aqsa and that it's incitement, we say that we will continue to defend Al-Aqsa in our way, we will win."
The sentencing Tuesday overruled Salah's petition of his 11-month prison sentence, originally imposed way back in 2007, in a trial that has been resumed following Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's pledge to blacklist the Islamic Movement. The group has been linked to numerous cases of incitement to violence and outright support for terror from within Israel's borders.
In 2007, during a sermon, Salah declared that "the finest moments are when we meet God as martyrs for Al-Aqsa," and that "we will purify the blood of innocent people […] and remove the soul of Israeli occupation soldiers who are occupying the Al-Aqsa Mosque." Following his speech, a Palestinian Arab mob rioted and threw rocks at security forces in the Old City, wounding three Border Police officers.
A long history of incitement
Salah was acquitted of incitement and racism in his indictment, but now the court has re-examined the case and found him guilty.
The Islamic Movement is actually banned in several Muslim states – in part, due to links to the Muslim Brotherhood – and has been repeatedly involved in several incitement-laced activities, including violent "Nakba Day" protests, calls for an "intifada", and rioting on the Temple Mount.
The radical Islamist labeled Israeli leaders “terrorists” and “enemies of Allah” in a speech to Muslims in Be’er Sheva, and was also jailed for five months in 2010 for spitting at an Israeli police officer.
He was convicted by the Jerusalem Magistrates Court in November 2013 for inciting to violence, but acquitted on inciting to racism. Salah also spent a brief period in jail for transferring money to Hamas, and famously "reminisced" fondly over the drawing of swastikas as a child in a 2009 interview with a London-based Arabic-language TV station