More than 30 Lebanese citizens were convicted this week in Beirut on charges of collaborating with Israel and becoming citizens of the Jewish State. All received 15-year prison terms.
One Palestinian Authority Arab and 31 Lebanese citizens, including 12 women, were sentenced in absentia on the allegations.
It was not clear when the alleged crimes took place. All of the defendants had fled the country for Israel in 2000 when then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak suddenly withdrew all IDF troops from southern Lebanon, according to a source quoted by the AFP news agency. Israel had maintained a presence in the region for some 22 years in order to maintain a security buffer zone following the first Lebanon War.
At least five people have been sentenced to death in Lebanon after being convicted on charges of spying for Israel.
More than 100 Lebanese citizens – including a number of highly-placed military officials – have been arrested by authorities on suspicion of spying for the Jewish State over the past two years.
Among those charged were a number of officials from the Lebanese Alfa Telecom telecommunications company, including one of the firm's executives, Charbel Qazzi. Within days after Qazzi's arrest was announced, however, local media reported that one of the four Lebanese telecom “spies” managed to escape. His identity was not revealed.
Hizbullah terrorist chief Hassan Nasrallah noted at the time that he had no need to ask whether information had been provided to the Interior Ministry by the Intelligence Directorate. “I don't want answers because I already have them,” he explained. Hizbullah has become increasingly involved in governing the country, and is represented by a significant faction in both the parliament and the cabinet.