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Umm al-Fahm: Placard with Municipal Logo in Support of Sheikh Arrested for Incitement

Sheikh Youssef Albaz continues to incite in Lod, while Muhammad Abu Taher Jabarin receives a royal welcome in Umm al-Fahm.

  • Amichai Shilo
  • י"ב סיון תשפ"ד - 10:18 18/06/2024
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A procession organized by the "People's Committee of the Arabs of Lod" with the participation of Israeli Arabs waving Palestinian flags in the city of Lod on the one year anniversary of the "Guardian of the Walls" riots. Eitan Elhadez-Barak/TPS Eitan Elhadez-Barak/TPS
A procession organized by the "People's Committee of the Arabs of Lod" with the participation of Israeli Arabs waving Palestinian flags in the city of Lod on the one year anniversary of the "Guardian of the Walls" riots. Eitan Elhadez-Barak/TPS Eitan Elhadez-Barak/TPS

Incitement continues to rage among with Arab public while the State Prosecution and the courts fail to take action. Two separate cases are worth highlighting.  First, Sheikh Youssef Albaz, who was recently released from prison, was arrested on suspicion of incitement, but immediately released. Second, Mohammad Abu Taher Jabarin, leader of the Hirak Al-Fahmawi organization, was arrested but also released shortly thereafter. Following his arrest, Jabarin received a hero’s welcome in Umm al-Fahm.

Earlier in the morning on Monday (June 17th), Sheikh Youssef Albaz, a prominent figure in the outlawed Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, was arrested on suspicion of incitement during a sermon he gave for Eid al-Adha at a mosque in Lod. Albaz was heard in the sermon saying, "We will do to you what was done to Gaza."

Albaz recently completed a brief prison sentence after being convicted of two counts of incitement to violence and being sentenced to eight months in prison.

The conviction against Albaz was based on a Facebook post and and a speech at a mosque during a period of violence on the Temple Mount. He published words of love and praise for the violent rioters. The court has acquitted Albaz of previous charges of incitement and threats during the Arab riots of 2021 in Lod.

At the sentencing, Judge Ayala Oren strangely justified the light sentence, saying "there is no dispute that he [Albaz] has contributed over the years to the coexisting of Arabs and Jews in the city of Lod, including during the 2021 rioting."

In truth, in 2021 Albaz also engaged in incitement both on television and in his sermons. He was also indicted for incitement to harm policemen during that period though was acquitted due to reasonable doubt, despite the fact that numerous police officers testified against him in court. During the 2021 riots, he also hosted Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, who has been charged with incitement and has been covered extensively by HaKol HaYehudi. 

The judge also justified imposing a lenient sentence on Albaz, at the bottom range of the sentencing guidelines, due to "his personal circumstances." The judge sentenced Albaz to 8 months, with 2 of them being served as a suspended sentence in Albaz served in parallel to time being served for a separate assault conviction. The final 6 months were covered based on time served, so Albaz did not serve any additional time for the incitement convictions. In additional, Albaz was required to pay a small fine of 5,000 shekels.

Inciter is Honored by the Municipality

After Judge Maria Picus Bogdanov ordered the release of Mohammad Abu Taher Jabarin to house arrest he received a hero’s welcome in Umm al-Fahm. Jabarin served as the head of the Hirak Al-Fahmawi organization which led the 2021 Guardian of the Walls riots and was indicted several months ago for suspicion of incitement to terror and affiliation with a terrorist organization.

An announcement signed by the Umm al-Fahm municipality said "We are proud of you and your courage. We wish you health and strength."

Jabarin was arrested along with attorney Ahmed Khalifah after leading a demonstration in support of Hamas in Umm al-Fahm six months ago. Immediately after the outbreak of the war, Jabarin was arrested but released shortly thereafter.

The demonstration, as stated in the indictment, was broadcast live on Facebook and received 7,000 views. "The defendants spoke in front of a large crowd using a microphone," noted the incitement. The demonstration lasted half an hour, “during which time the defendants chanted in Arabic together with the crowd including calls to carry out terror, attacks, as well as expressing support and encouragement for terrorists." It was further noted in the indictment that "there is a distinct possibility that such actions could lead to a terrorist attack."

The prosecution had requested that the defendants be remanded until the end of the trial due to the danger they pose.

Marches in Megiddo and the 2021 riots

In a special investigation, HaKol HaYehudi previously reported on how Mohammad Abu Taher Jabarin and the Hirak Al-Fahmawi organization participated in and led the 2021 Guardian of the Walls riots. Ironically pitching their marches as "demonstrations against violence," members of the group attacked police and called for the eviction of police from Arab towns and villages.

The group also sent buses with its members to the Temple Mount to support rioting, and many group members were arrested for involvement in the riots.

In addition, Jabarin was one of the organizers of protests against Kibbutz Megiddo. These recurring protests by Arabs, mainly from Umm al-Fahm, relate to claims of ownership of the area before the War of Independence.

Just a year ago, following our reports on Hirak Al-Fahmawi, the Umm al-Fahm municipality and several other groups in the city announced that they would take legal actions against HaKol HaYehudi. On their Facebook page, they claimed that HaKol HaYehudi was inciting against them and was damaging the reputation of their town.

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