Aya Khatib, a resident of Arara, turned herself in on Monday to the prison authority after the district court sentenced her to four years in prison for aiding Hamas and having contact with Hamas and PLO activists.
Dozens of Arara residents came to accompany her on her way to Kishon prison, chanting: "O Aya, O mother of the poor, Allah is the protector and the helper."
Sheikh Kamal Khatib, the head of the Freedoms Committee in the Supreme Monitoring Committee of the Arabs of Israel, and formerly the deputy head of the Islamic Movement's northern faction, told the news site Al-Jermak that "Aya Khatib is a victim of unjust Israeli policies. She pursued any humanitarian act, since Aya was an icon of humanitarian activity, especially for those with special needs, and this angered the Israeli establishment, which filed an indictment against her."
According to him, "If Aya had not been in Israel, she would have been decorated with medals, but Israel is punishing Aya and keeping her away from her children, just to implement a reckless and blind policy towards every Palestinian who provides aid to his people."
He also said that "Israel does not distinguish between a man and a woman, between young and old. Israel killed Iyad al-Khalak, who had special needs and arrested Ahmad Manasara, who suffers from mental disorders. Israel does not respect the sanctity of children or women."
On February 17 of this year, Aya Khatib was arrested and during her investigation by the ISA it emerged that she was recruited to work for Hamas by Muhammad Falal, 29, a resident of Beit Lahia and Muhammad Halawa, 32, a resident of Jabalia, both active in the organization's military arm "Eaz Al-Din Al-Kasam".
The two recruited Khatib, who was engaged in humanitarian activities for the needy in the Gaza Strip, for the benefit of financing terrorist activity and infrastructure, carrying out missions for Hamas and subsequently collecting intelligence in order to promote terrorist activity against Israeli targets and objectives. The communication between Khatib and the two terrorist operatives was carried out operationally and secretly.
As part of the relationship with Hamas, Khatib transferred hundreds of thousands of shekels to them while defrauding aid organizations and innocent citizens who donated funds with the aim that these would reach the sick and needy and while taking advantage of the plight of patients who were given permits for humanitarian medical treatment and business activity of residents of the Gaza Strip.
Part of the money that Khatib transferred to her operatives in Hamas was earmarked for distinct terrorist purposes, including aid in the construction of tunnels, the construction of a lathe and the construction of buildings for the benefit of Hamas's ongoing activities.
In addition, Khatib transferred equipment to Hamas for the benefit of regular use by Hamas operatives in the organization's military arm, and examined options for transferring additional sensitive equipment that could be used for tunnel construction and for observing IDF forces.
The findings of the ISA investigation show that Khatib also passed on information for Hamas, including information about the movement of military forces during one of the rounds of fighting with the Gaza Strip.