The Jerusalem District Court convicted three men today (Wednesday) for running a Hamas terrorist network in Israel's capital city, under the guise of charity work.
The men, Yaaqub Abu Asab, Kifah Sarhan and Ahmed Ali'an, are accused of managing Hamas' "Advisory Council" in Jerusalem, and were tasked with a diverse range of activities aimed at boosting Hamas' presence in the Jerusalem area and expanding its membership base, including propaganda, social welfare and religious services.
Abu Asab is said to have served as the chairman of the Council.
A court statement explained that Hamas' charitable front groups are "an essential element" of the group's "Da'wa" (prozelitizing) and recruitment efforts, through which ostensibly humanitarian and other local activities are used to "groom" members of the local community, and set them on a path of radicalization.
Such activities include "the operation of a system of educational institutions for all ages centered around mosques; distributing food, clothing and medical care; and supporting bereaved families and families of prisoners in Israeli jails through the provision of benefits, bonuses and allowances. "
The judge added that one of the Council's aims was to create "economic dependency" on it by the local population, as a means of raising support
In addition, Sarhan is alleged to have served as Hamas' chief fundraiser in Jerusalem. He is being charged with two additional offenses, including money laundering, as part of his efforts to raise funds for terrorist activities. Among other things, he is said to have used his connections with local merchants to arrange for the transfer of funds from Jordan to Jerusalem for the purposes of terror.