Gavel from Reuters 370.
(photo credit:REUTERS/Chip East)
The Haifa District Court on Tuesday convicted Milad Hatib of acting as a
Hezbollah spy and sentenced him to seven years in prison in a plea bargain
The state filed an indictment against Hatib on October 4 for
various espionage offenses.
In his conviction, Hatib was found guilty of
contacts with a foreign spy, conspiracy to aid the enemy during war and and
working for an illegal terrorist organization.
He was not convicted of
the charge of aiding an enemy during war.
A 26-year-old resident of Majd
el-Kurum, Hatib was captured in early September.
Since late 2009 or early
2010, he had collected information for Hezbollah regarding the location and
security details of army bases, places where weapons were kept, weapons
manufacturing areas and other strategic information.
Hatib was about to
provide information about President Shimon Peres’s security detail, vehicle and
other information gathered after observing a visit from Peres to his village in
August, but he was caught before he could hand over the information.
next meeting with his Hezbollah handler was set for May 2013.
get an even lighter sentence, the defense argued that law enforcement had been
arbitrary or racist by only arresting Hatib and not arresting his friend or his
The court rejected these contentions, finding that strong
evidence was presented against Hatib and neither Hatib nor the state had any
such evidence to present against his friend or his father.
noted that character witnesses in the Hatib family testified to their own
loyalty to the State of Israel and how uncharacteristic Hatib’s actions had been
for the family and for himself, where he had a clean record until
Hatib’s uncle told the court that “we, as a family, took
responsibility for what happened upon ourselves at some point. We were struck by
shock, beating our breasts, we feel we must have missed something with this
incident… a man who harmed state security.”
Despite these arguments, the
court found that Hatib’s actions, even with the most serious charges dropped in
the plea bargain deal, were severe enough that they warranted a strict prison
sentence as a strong message of deterrence.
Milad Hatib was “activated”
by 47-year-old Burhan Hatib, a Lebanese Hezbollah agent who has been living in
Denmark for years, the indictment said.
Milad started visiting Burhan in
Denmark, other European states and Turkey between 2007-2009.
period, Burhan questioned Milad about his views on the Israel-Palestinian
conflict and eventually moved on to asking about where Hezbollah missiles hit in
northern Israel during the 2006 Lebanon War and how Israel’s home front reacted
to the missile attacks.
Burhan also asked Milad about Israeli Arabs
involved in Zionist political parties. The indictment said that throughout his
meetings with Burhan, Milad always traveled with a companion.
Milad traveled abroad to meet with Burhan, the costs of his travel and lodging
When Milad eventually agreed to work for Burhan in late
2009 or early 2010, Milad was paid $500 for agreeing to join Hezbollah’s spying
operations in Israel.
Burhan told Milad that his reconnaissance
activities were the beginning of establishing a full terror cell in Israel to
aid Hezbollah in operations against the Jewish state.
that Milad gathered for Burhan was provided during various in-person visits to
avoid leaving a trail.
Although Milad and Burhan spoke by telephone to
coordinate visits and other issues, they had no electronic communications and
left no electronic record.
According to the indictment, Milad revealed
information to Burhan during a visit to Turkey in July that related to the
weapons-making company Rafael and former Kadima MK Ahmad Dabah.
also told Milad code words by which he could recognize and make contact with a
replacement, should Burhan die or be killed.
In its entirety, the
indictment included charges for contacts with a foreign spy, conspiracy to aid
the enemy during war, aiding an enemy during war, spying and working for an
illegal terrorist organization.
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