Netanyahu vows crackdown on Islamic Movement

Jerusalem, Oct 18 (IANS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday that his government is going to crack down on the Islamic Movement in Israel, a group he blames for inciting the recent wave of violence.

Netanyahu said his government is “systematically operating” against a wave of Palestinian attacks and will now start tackling its roots.

He said the cabinet will take measures against the Islamic Movement, especially against its sources of funding.

The announcement followed a decision by the cabinet last week to prepare a case to outlaw the northern branch of the movement, the more hardliner group of the movement.

According to Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper, Netanyahu instructed the Shin Bet security service to give the prosecution any intelligence it has about the movement, so the prosecution can start a formal procedure to ban the movement.

Arab leaders in Israel have warned in the past that such move against the movement, which has hundreds of thousands of sympathizers among the Arab citizens of Israel, will be perceived as an assault on the entire Arab society.

The movement, which was originally founded in 1971, has been involved in Islamic education and charities among Israeli Arabs. Its northern branch is headed by hardliner Sheikh Raed Salah, who served time in Israeli prisons for his involvement in raising funds for Hamas and leading a violent rally.

The month-long violence was triggered by an increasing visits of Israeli far-right activists to Al-Aqsa Mosque, as part of their struggle to cancel a long-held ban on Jewish prayers there.

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