|Ar’ara [Image Source: Alamy]|
A news report by Jacob Magid and published yesterday [“Shin Bet says it nabbed Arab Israeli Hamas agent who posed as aid worker“, Times of Israel, March 15, 2020] says an Israeli Arab woman in her early thirties, a resident of the Israeli town of Ar’ara and a mother of two young children, was arrested last month.
She is charged with offences connected with “scamming aid organizations she worked for as well as civilians who donated money to the needy population in Gaza” [Ynet].
Her name and other details had remained confidential until yesterday (Sunday) and are now public.
The charges as described in the Times of Israel article are that she used her position as a humanitarian worker to funnel money and supplies intended for the needy in Gaza, along with giving field intelligence, to the Hamas terror group. This included intelligence on the movements of IDF forces during what the Shin Bet called “one of the fighting rounds with the Gaza Strip”.
Ynet says she was arrested two months ago in “a special operation” and that she admitted to the charges under interogation which included “terrorist activity against Israeli targets”.
It’s alleged that Aya Khatib, 31, was recruited by a pair of Hamas terrorists, active in Hamas’ so-called “military” wing, the Izzadin al-Qassam Brigade. The Jerusalem Post names them as Muhammed Pilpel, 29 from Beit Lahiya, and Mahmoud Halua (others write Muhammad Khalawa), 32, from Jabaliya.
Through them, according to Israel’s Shn Bet, she is said to have transferred hundreds of thousands of shekels to the Hamas terrorists
“while scamming aid organizations and innocent civilians who donated funds with the aim of reaching patients and the needy”
in the Gaza Strip.
The Jerusalem Post report says an indictment is expected to be filed against Khatib in the Acre Magistrate’s Court in the next few days. It’s a news item worth keeping in mind the next time demands are made – as they are regularly and often – for Israel to free Palestinian Arab female prisoners.
Ar’ara, a town in the Wadi Ara region of northern Israel, is south of Umm al-Fahm and northwest of the Green Line. Israelis know the area, inhabited mainly by Arabs, as “the Triangle”. In 2018, Ar’ara’s population was about 25,000.