Israel jails Islamic cleric for 11 months for incitement

Leader of the radical northern wing of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah speaks at a demonstration in the town of Kfar Kana, northern Israel, in May 2015 (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)

Jerusalem (AFP) - An Israeli court on Tuesday upheld a conviction of firebrand Islamic cleric Raed Salah and jailed him for 11 months for inciting violence over Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque in 2007.

Salah is leader of the radical northern wing of the Islamic Movement in Israel, which authorities have accused of inciting unrest, including the wave of recent attacks and clashes.

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's conviction comes as Israel tries to contain a wave of Palestinian violence, due in part to fears Israel was attempting to undermine the status quo at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam and holiest to Jews, who are prevented from praying there.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged legal measures to outlaw the Islamic Movement, which he accuses of leading anti-Israeli "incitement" that encourages violence.

Salah's 2007 offence took place during a demonstration against Israeli construction work near the Al-Aqsa compound, in Jerusalem's Old City, and his speech was followed by clashes during which a number of Israeli policemen were injured.