Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Saturday called for banning the activities of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, led by Palestinian resistance icon Sheik Raed Salah
JERUSALEM – Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Saturday called for banning the activities of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, led by Palestinian resistance icon Sheik Raed Salah.
Lieberman said that the movement shared the same values as those of three gunmen who carried out a deadly attack on a satirical French magazine in Paris on Wednesday.
“If there’s an important lesson that we learned from the terrorist attack that took place yesterday in Paris, it is to take care of extremist movements which are separated from terrorist organizations only through semantics and legal quibbles,” Lieberman said.
“Whoever is tolerant toward such movements and organizations eventually will pay from the blood of innocents and the threat to democracy that gave them the right to act,” he added in remarks posted on his Facebook page.
He accused the movement’s northern branch of sharing the values of the gunmen who attacked the French magazine, killing 12 people, including eight magazine editors.
“They [movement members] constitute a threat to Israeli democracy and the lives of the citizens of Israel,” Lieberman asserted.
He went on to call for an immediate ban on the movement’s activities.
Lieberman said the northern branch was part of a “terrorist chain” that also included Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and Al-Qaeda.
“Through the past years, we have said that this movement supports terrorism,” the foreign minister said. “Therefore, we will continue to work to get them outlawed.”
The Islamic Movement in Israel was founded by Abdullah Nimer Darwish in 1971. In 1996, the movement decided to field candidates in Israeli parliamentary polls.
The decision, however, split the movement into a northern and southern branch.
The northern branch, led by Salah, actively lobbies against Israel’s decades-long occupation of Palestinian land and settlement-building policies.
On Wednesday, three masked men armed with Kalashnikov rifles and a rocket-launcher attacked the Paris headquarters of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Twelve people were killed in the attack, including eight magazine editors and a Muslim policeman who was shown in video footage being mercilessly gunned down by the attackers.
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