Israel sentences Palestinian woman over Hezbollah contacts

July 4, 2021 GMT

JERUSALEM (AP) — An Israeli court on Sunday sentenced a Palestinian woman from east Jerusalem to 30 months in prison, probation and a fine after she acknowledged aiding Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group over several years.

As part of a plea bargain, Yasmine Jaber was convicted after she admitted to charges of association with a foreign agent, membership in a terrorist organization and other terror-related charges.

The charge sheet said that she was in contact with two Hezbollah agents on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. She was invited by one of them to attend a conference on the Palestinian cause in Beirut. She traveled there in 2015 and again in 2016 in violation of Israeli law, and maintained contact with Hezbollah operatives over several years, it said.

The Jerusalem District Court judge said in her ruling that she was handing down a relatively lenient sentence because Jaber acknowledged her actions, took responsibility and has no prior record. The court sentenced Jaber to 30 months in prison starting August 4, 12 months of probation and a 5,000-shekel ($1,500) fine.

In August 2020, the Shin Bet internal security service said Jaber was recruited by Hezbollah operatives at a conference in 2015 and asked to recruit others in east Jerusalem. It said she traveled to Istanbul on a number of occasions to meet Hezbollah operatives and communicated with them via social media.

Her family issued a statement denying the allegations.

Israel views Hezbollah as its most immediate military threat. The two sides fought to a devastating stalemate in 2006. Since then, Hezbollah has vastly expanded its arsenal of rockets and is now believed to be able to strike virtually anywhere in Israel.

Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 war and annexed it shortly thereafter in a move not recognized by most of the international community. Israel considers the entire city to be its capital, while the Palestinians want east Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state.