MEMRI has published an article titled ” “The Islamic Movement in Israel: Switching Focus from Jerusalem to the Palestinian Cause” which details a shift focus on the part of the Israeli Muslim Brotherhood, otherwise known as the Islamic Movement in Israel. From the introduction:
The northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, headed by Sheikh Raed Salah, has long been considered an organization that puts the issues of Jerusalem and the defense of the Al-Aqsa Mosque at the forefront of its activity. Recently, however, the movement has expanded its ideological and political focus to the Palestinian cause as a whole – including the Hamas-Palestinian Authority power struggle, the right of return, and negotiations with Israel – and in the process now embraces and openly supports Hamas’s perception. The following review will present the Islamic Movement’s expanding political-ideological discourse as well as its ideological support for Hamas, its political activism for Hamas, its calls for war against Israel, its resolute support for the refugees’ right to return to their homes, and the issue of Jerusalem, which has remained the core of its activity. This paper will also discuss two Israeli Arab websites that post Islamic Movement and Hamas content.
Sheikh Raed Salah, profiled in an article discussed in an earlier post, is the head of the Northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, considered to be the most extreme wing of the movement that essentially comprises the Muslim Brotherhood in Israel. In May 2003, Salah was arrested along with other Northern Islamic Movement officials on suspicion of transferring funds to Hamas under the pretense of humanitarian aid. He was released after two years under the terms of a plea bargain. In August 2007, Salah was indicted for “inciting racism and violence” for calling for a “third Intifada,” or uprising, to defend the mosque and in 2008 Israeli security forces raided the offices of the Islamic Movement in northern Israel accusing it of aiding Hamas. In May of this year, Salah said that Israel has a ‘diabolical plan” to cause the Al–Aqsa Mosque to collapse “in a way that would appear as is happening as a result of natural causes, such an earthquake.” Mr. Salah was also one of the prominent participants in the recent Gaza flotilla.