Australian Accused of Spying for Hamas 21Apr11 April 22, 2011

The Alternative Information Centre -  21 April 2011

Iaad Rashid Abu Arja, a 47-year-old Australian citizen, was arrested in Israel in late March and has been accused of working as a spy for Hamas.

Abu Arja and his wife were traveling to Israel last month, with plans to spend four days at a hotel in Tel Aviv, when he was arrested at Ben Gurion International Airport on 23 March. His wife was allowed to leave, but Abu Arja has been held by the Israelis since.

Abu Arja is a Palestinian refugee, raised in Saudia Arabia, who obtained Australian nationality as an adult. The computer engineer also has Saudi and Jordanian passports.

He has been charged with “belonging to an illegal organisation” and “activities on behalf of an illegal organisation,” in this case Hamas, which is considered a terrorist group under Israeli law. If convicted of such charges Abu Arja will spend time in jail.

Israeli authorities allege that Mr. Abu Arja was recruited to infiltrate leading technology companies in Israel to acquire access to their photographic, missile guidance and encryption systems, reported the news daily The Australian.

According to the Israel indictment: “The main purpose of the visit to Israel was to see how easily he gets in and out. He was asked as a computer man to meet local companies (involved in developing Israel’s anti-missile technology), to photograph them and to get maps with directions to these companies.”

The indictment also says that in 2007 Mr Abu Arja contacted a Hamas operative called Abu Nazmi, who asked what contribution he could make to “the Palestinian struggle”, according to The Australian.

It says the following year he went to Syria for military training, then last year went to Mecca in Saudi Arabia where he met a “Dr Burhan”, a senior Hamas official who asked him to prove he could enter Israel easily.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed on Wednesday that an Australian citizen is being held. “We understand the man is being investigated for possible links to an illegal organisation,” a spokeswoman said. Hamas has not commented.

Abu Arja’s lawyer Leah Tsemel told Australia’s ABC news group,” I don’t know if it was Hamas as an organisation that approached him. Whatever he knew is that people whom he had known as acquaintances, and he understood it could also be connected to Hamas, asked him for some work in his field.”

“And they tried to use his technological knowledge in order to help them and he could have assumed that such help is needed for Hamas but practically he didn’t give them services. He couldn’t help them,” Tsemel told ABC.

This is not the only such arrest in recent months. Dirar Abu Sisi, the Gazan man abducted in Ukraine on 19 February, and secretly transported to Israel, has charged with nine criminal counts, including membership of a terrorist organization, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and production of weaponry, after more than a month in Israeli prison.

Abu Sisi is a former high-ranking engineer at Gaza’s electric company and power station and Israeli intelligence seems convinced he is an active member of the political group Hamas, with possible knowledge of the whereabouts of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.


If you liked this article, please consider making a donation to Australians for Palestine by clicking on the PayPal link
Thank You.
Bookmark and Share

Add a Comment

required, use real name
required, will not be published
optional, your blog address