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How outlawing the Islamic Movement could backfire on Israel

The decision to outlaw the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel might actually strengthen its status among Palestinians there.
Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the The Islamic Movement northern branch in Israel poses for a photo after Israel outlawed the Movement today in Nazareth, November 17, 2015. Israel on Tuesday outlawed an Islamist group it says has played a central role in stirring up violence over a Jerusalem holy site in a wave of bloodshed that began seven weeks ago. The decision by Israel's security cabinet, accompanied by police raids on the offices of the Islamic Movement's northern branch, were some of the strongest acti

Following months of consultations, checks and assessments, Israel's diplomatic-security Cabinet decided on Nov. 17 to outlaw the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel. This means any activity affiliated with this organization will be a criminal offense and could entail a prison sentence. Shortly after the announcement, the Shin Bet froze the bank accounts of nonprofit associations affiliated with the movement. Property was impounded, and cease-and-desist notices were issued to 17 foundations and nonprofit organizations operating in the north (Nazareth and Umm al-Fahm), in the south (the Bedouin town of Rahat) and Jaffa.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tried for nearly two years to outlaw the organization, but his efforts were bogged down mainly by objections from the Justice Ministry, when it was headed by Tzipi Livni. The ministry held that the move could not be defended before the Supreme Court. In May 2014, an interministerial team was established to come up with a solution, but Operation Protective Edge, the general elections and concern over deepening the rift between the Israeli establishment and Palestinians in Israel delayed the decision.

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