ISA and Israel Police have arrested eleven leading Hamas members in Jerusalem. The purpose of their activities was to recruit support for Hamas and give the organization a foothold on the Temple Mount.
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Office)
The Israel Security Agency (ISA) and the Israel Police have recently concluded a lengthy investigation during which eleven senior Hamas members – residents of eastern Jerusalem, ten of whom hold Israeli identity cards – were arrested. The State Prosecutor’s Office is seeking to try them for various offenses including membership in a terrorist organization, financing terrorism and illegal use of property for terrorist purposes.
During the investigation, evidence was uncovered that indicated intensive Hamas activity in Jerusalem, especially the Temple Mount, financed by Hamas elements abroad. Several channels for transferring Hamas funds from abroad were discovered and NIS 400,000 was seized. The Hamas headquarters abroad transferred funds to the "Union of Good", which then used money changers, bank accounts in Judea and Samaria, and couriers to send the money to a local charity organization which then transferred cash to the Hamas headquarters in Jerusalem. In the last 18 months, Hamas’ Jerusalem headquarters received over NIS 1 million in this fashion.
(It should be noted that the "Union of Good" – a roof organization based in Saudi Arabia – is the main financing body through which Hamas headquarters abroad finances local Hamas activities. The "Union" operates sub-committees throughout the world. It is chaired by Sheikh Yussuf Mustafa Al-Qardawi and was banned in Israel in 2002).
It arises that most of the aforementioned funds served Hamas activities on the Temple Mount, which were coordinated with Sheikh Raad Salah’s Islamic Movement. These activities included organizing events during Ramadan such as large-scale post-fast evening meals, the purpose of which was to recruit support for Hamas and give the organization a foothold on the Temple Mount. The activities also included construction projects on the Temple Mount (that were not coordinated with Israel and which constituted a violation of the status quo) and organizing guided tours of the Temple Mount.
Amin Rushdi Shwiki, b.1960, Beit Hanina, glass factory owner. Responsible for Hamas activities in Jerusalem. Initiated contact with the organization’s charity committee and prepared a channel for the transfer of funds. Shviki sent an emissary to Hamas operatives abroad in order to organize money transfers to fund local operations.
Nasser Yakoub Abu Saud, b. 1968, A-Tur, teacher. Active over the years in several Hamas institutes in Jerusalem, which were subsequently closed by Israel. Received transferred funds and was involved in organizing Hamas operations on the Temple Mount.
Khalil Attia Gizawi, b. 1973, Abu Tur, graduate of Islamic University of Gaza. Active over the years in a number of Hamas institutes in Jerusalem, which were subsequently closed by Israel. Received transferred funds and was involved in organizing Hamas operations on the Temple Mount.
Mohammed Radwan Farah, b. 1958, Shoafat refugee camp, Chairman of Dhahiet Al-Barid Al-Ram Charity Committee. Managed the transfer of funds from Hamas operatives abroad to Hamas leaders in Jerusalem. Also met with Hamas operatives abroad and participated in the actual smuggling.
The arrest of Hamas’s Jerusalem leadership significantly harmed the organization’s activities in the city and its attempts to strengthen itself and gain influence in Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount.
In addition to exposing the channels for funds transfers, the operation has had a major demoralizing effect on Hamas’s Jerusalem infrastructure, especially on those members with Israeli ID cards, who had felt secure in their operations in the city.
During the operation close cooperation between Hamas and the Islamic Movement was uncovered in a number of fields:
4Initiation and implementation of joint projects at the Temple Mount.
4The organizations operated jointly with financing from Hamas affiliates abroad even though senior Islamic Movement officials have been careful to avoid being directly associated with these affiliates.
4The Islamic Movement provides the legal cover for operations in Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount.