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Hamas spy story shakes up Arab society, Israeli politics

The Aya Khatib affair has not only divided Israeli Arab society, it is also haunting the political prospects of the Blue and White and its ability to cooperate with the Joint List.

Aya Khatib, a resident of the Israeli town of Arara and an activist in the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, was recently charged with spying for Hamas and transferring hundreds of thousands of shekels to the group to finance terrorist activities, including the digging of tunnels along Gaza’s border with Israel.

According to Shin Bet, Khatib used her volunteer work on behalf of Palestinians receiving treatment in Israeli hospitals and her humanitarian aid efforts on behalf of Gaza residents to collect intelligence about Israel Defense Forces troop movements. She also transferred equipment to Hamas' military wing and collected considerable amounts of money for the organization. Furthermore, Khatib is alleged to have taken advantage of her position to coerce ailing Palestinians receiving treatment in Israel and in hospitals in the West Bank to transfer materials to Hamas in Gaza. She reportedly provided detailed confessions during her interrogation, and her cell phone contained detailed notes that revealed a close relationship to Hamas activists Mohammed Filfel and Mahmoud Halawa. The March 18 letter of indictment against Khatib cites relaying information to the enemy with the intent of harming state security, contact with a foreign agent and various other crimes listed in the Fight against Terrorism Law.

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