|Protestors demanding the suspect's release [Image Source]|
A resident of the Israeli town of Ar’ara and a mother of two young children, the woman was arrested last month. Ar'ara is a town in the Wadi Ara region of northern Israel, south of Umm al-Fahm and just north-west 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.
The suspect's name and other details had remained confidential until yesterday (Sunday) and are now public. Described in parts of the Arab media (here for instance) as a "Palestinian holding Israeli citizenship", 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].
Reports name the woman as Aya Khatib, 31. Ynet says she was arrested two months ago in "a special operation" and that she admitted under interogation to taking part in "terrorist activity against Israeli targets".
As reported by Times of Israel, the charges against her are based on the allegation that she was recruited by a pair of Hamas terrorists active in Hamas’ so-called “military” wing, the Izzadin al-Qassam Brigade and that she used her position as a humanitarian worker to divert money and supplies intended for the needy in Gaza. Donors were evidently told the funds were going to patients claimed to be suffering from cancer.
She is charged as well with providing field intelligence to the terrorists of Hamas including details about the movements of IDF forces during what the Shin Bet, which carried out the investigation leading to her apprehension, called "one of the fighting rounds with the Gaza Strip”.
|This is said to be Aya Khatib|
Through the two Hamas men, according to Israel's Shin 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.
Acccording to the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat news site ("the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities"):
On Sunday, the Haifa District Court extended Khatib’s detention period until next Wednesday, on charges of cooperation and intelligence with al-Qassam brigades. The Israeli Public Prosecution submitted Monday the prosecutor's statement to the court. Khatib's lawyer said she denies the charges attributed to her.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.
Khatib has complained about the conditions of her arrest before the court, which ordered that this matter be examined, her lawyer noted. The court also allowed her two children to meet her.
Khatib has been active on her Facebook page to collect donations for patients, particularly children from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, who are receiving treatments in Israeli hospitals. She also collected donations for male and female university students whose economic conditions prevented them from paying their university fees.