Senior Israeli-Arab Activist to Admit to Spying
Senior Israeli-Arab activist Amir Makhoul may admit to spying against Israel in a new plea bargain. Makhoul is accused of spying for Hizbullah.
His arrest for alleged assistance to the Lebanese terrorist groups made waves due to his status as one of the top members of the Higher Arab Follow-Up Committee. He also belongs to Ittijah, an Arab-Israeli organization that has accused Israel of war crimes and genocide.
In an interview in late 2008, Makhoul argued that attacks on Israeli civilians are not war crimes.
Agents of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) say Makhoul collected information on Hizbullah's orders. Among other things, he passed along the street address, directions, and security arrangements for several strategic locations, including Shin Bet offices, Mossad offices, the Nachshonim military base, the Rafael weapons systems factory, and the home of Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin.
He is also accused of giving his Hizbullah contacts a list of names of Arab citizens of Israel who might be willing to work for the terror group, and of passing along the precise location of rocket strikes in Israel during the Second Lebanon War.
Makhoul initially confessed to the charges against him, but later said his confession was given under duress. The plea bargain would see him admit to making contact with enemy agents, but would drop the charges connecting him to Hizbullah in particular.
The bargain will be presented to the Haifa district court on Wednesday.
If the court accepts the plea bargain in Makhoul's case, the defense is expected to ask for no more than seven years of prison time, while prosecutors will seek to jail Makhoul for 10 years.
Makhoul's case follows that of former Israeli MK Azmi Bishara, who fled the country after he was accused of spying for Hizbullah. Other Arab citizens of Israel have been accused of spying for terrorists in lower profile cases.