Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the radical northern branch of the Islamic Movement who is currently serving a nine-month jail sentence, on Sunday announced that he was starting a hunger strike to protest his being held in isolation.
Salah was sentenced to jail after being convicted of encouraging violent attacks and inciting racism in a 2007 sermon.
The radical cleric has in the past labeled Israeli leaders “terrorists” and “enemies of Allah” in a speech to Muslims in Be’er Sheva, and was also jailed for five months in 2010 for spitting at an Israeli police officer.
Even after being convicted of incitement, Salah has continued his rhetoric. In February he accused Israel of being “racist” and claimed it had adopted racist policies against Israeli Arabs.
The Israeli government outlawed the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, which Salah heads, last year.
Hunger strikes are a tactic often used by terrorist prisoners in an attempt to pressure Israel to free them. Israel has several times in the past caved to the pressure and released some hunger strikers.
Most recently, Israel agreed to release Bilal Kayed, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group, who was on a hunger strike for 70 days in protest of his administrative detention.