An Australian man who was arrested in Israel recently has now been formally charged with spying for Hamas, a proscribed terrorist organisation both in Australia and in Israel, and has faced an initial court hearing. As reported by the ABC:
Eyad Abu Arja was arrested along with his wife when he arrived at Tel Aviv airport in March, and has been in custody ever since.
Israeli intelligence officials allege the electronics engineer was recruited by Hamas while living in Saudi Arabia, and received weapons training in Syria before making a trip to Israel.
They accuse him of trying to enter Israel on his Australian passport in order to conduct spy operations.
Arja denies this, claiming he was in Israel with his wife to celebrate their anniversary, but Israeli intelligence has reportedly prepared an extremely detailed indictment on his alleged involvement with Hamas, including extensive details of his training in Syria.
The indictment also claims he was asked to help with encoding, that he supplied photographic equipment which could find and guide missiles, and that he trained with Hamas in Syria.
“The accused was taken to a room with prayer rugs where he met four others,” the indictment says.
“After a while they went out and began to train, shooting a pistol and a rifle at different targets. After they finished he was driven back to Damascus. He was blindfolded some of the way.”
The indictment is so detailed as to describe the colours of the car he travelled in and blindfold he was given.
The case raises the possibility that Hamas are actively recruiting Australian citizens as their Aussie passports would make travelling into Israel far easier than it would be for most Hamas operatives. This should be a matter of great concern to all Australians.