During Shin Bet interrogation, former Afghanistan bureau chief Samer Allawi says he traveled to Syria to help terror group.
Samer Allawi, Al Jazeera’s former Afghanistan bureau chief, reached a deal with the Israel State state prosecutors office on Sunday under which he will receive a suspended sentence of three years after he confessed to conspiring in Hamas operations.
Allawi, a Palestinian, was arrested in August on the border between the West Bank and Jordan at The Allenby Crossing.
During an investigation with The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) Allawi said he was recruited to Hamas in 1993 and he served there until 2004 in a senior committee that oversees Hamas operations abroad and is responsible for fundraising.
In 2001 and 2003 he traveled to Syria where he reported on his activities to Mousa Aba Marzook, deputy to Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Damascus.
Aba Marzook offered Allawi to become an official Hamas representative in Iran, but he rejected the offer.
During the interrogation with The Shin Bet, Allawi said he attended a meeting in 2000 in Saudi Arabia in which he said he would be part of a terror operation on behalf of Hamas. He also offered to use his position as a reporter to promote Hamas interests.
In 2006, Allawi traveled to Qatar and met with additional Al Jazeera reporters, who The Shin Bet said were Hamas operatives, and discussed the possibility of using their position to advance Hamas by critizing the US military in Afghanistan.
During his interrogation, The Shin Bet said he also discussed his activities as a member of the Mujahideen in Afghanistan from 1988 till 1992 during which he said that he participated in a rebel raid on an Afghan military base and participated in guerrilla operations against Soviet forces.
Move requires foreign journalists to be accompanied by Hamas-approved "fixers"; Swedish journalist: "This is like Soviet Union."
Hamas authorities in Gaza are requiring foreign journalists to take on regime-approved "sponsors" while in the Strip, the latest sign the Islamist group is determined to keep a tight lid on the flow of information from the coastal territory.
Terje Carlsson, a freelance Swedish journalist, left Israel on Sunday for Gaza, first crossing the Palestinian Authority checkpoint at the border of the Strip and a few hundred meters on, the checkpoint run by Hamas. "They usually check your luggage for liquor, write down your passport number and ask where you're staying," he told The Jerusalem Post by phone from Gaza City.
Carlsson has reported from Gaza at least six times over the last two and a half years and never experienced problems getting in or out. But this time, he said, he was denied entry after officials told him his "fixer" in the Strip had not received prior government approval. A fixer is a local person who sets up interviews with officials and residents, helps reporters take basic security measures and often serves as translator.
After several hours of wrangling, Carlsson was finally let into Gaza, but instructed to find a Hamas-approved "sponsor" the next morning.
The reporter said the demand puts the fixer in a very precarious position. "I've done stories very critical about Hamas - people have told me about things like drug smuggling corruption. The local fixers give you a lot of information about this - they'll put you in touch with a lot of people who talk about how bad this government is."
"For me this is reminiscent of the Soviet Union; the authorities are trying to let the fixers know that the only way to make money is not to be too difficult," he said. "This is a way to tighten the flow of information."
Also Monday, Israeli police arrested a Hamas lawmaker who had been sheltered for more than a year in the International Red Cross offices in east Jerusalem, Reuters reported, quoting a police spokesman.
Ahmad Attoun had taken shelter in the ICRC building along with another Hamas legislator and a former Hamas government minister after authorities revoked their Jerusalem residency permits.
The police spokesman and a security guard at the ICRC building said paramilitary police disguised as Palestinians had grabbed Attoun at the entrance to the offices and arrested him.
He was taken into custody a day after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas mentioned the men's case in a speech on his return to the West Bank from the United Nations, where he applied for recognition of full Palestinian statehood.
The other two Hamas men remained inside the ICRC building. In a statement issued in June 2010, after Israel ordered them to leave Jerusalem, the three Hamas operatives wrote: "We as sons of Jerusalem have never left it before ... we emphasize that we will remain here and never leave it."
The ICRC has said it told Israeli authorities that international humanitarian law prohibited the forcible transfer of Palestinian residents from their homes, for whatever reason. The organization also said it had informed the three Hamas men that ICRC premises had no special status and the ICRC could not prevent police entering the building to arrest them.