The Israeli woman who crossed into Syria earlier this year and was returned in a controversial agreement was asked by Syrian authorities to help carry out a terrorist attack against Israeli soldiers, but refused to do so, according to the indictment against her published on Sunday.
The indictment details how the woman entered Syria. On January 31, the woman traveled to Kiryat Shmona in the Golan Heights, and on February 1, she traveled by bus to Majdal Shams. From Majdal Shams, she walked on foot to Mount Hermon with a bag of food, personal equipment, a phone and a camera.
At about midnight, she crossed the border into Syria and left the bag behind. She then walked for a number of hours before arriving at the Syrian village of Hader, located east of Majdal Shams, where she was surrounded by a large crowd and brought to the local police station. At the police station, her camera was confiscated and she was transferred to a jail and interrogated before being transferred to a prison in Damascus, where she was kept in harsh conditions for a number of days.
While imprisoned, she told Syrian authorities where she crossed the border and showed them the location on a map, as well as explained to them how she made the journey. The authorities asked her to show them how she walked and to return on the path and to lead Syrian soldiers to an IDF position so that they could shoot IDF soldiers. The woman refused to do so and said that she wasn’t interested in death or killing and was told that the IDF soldiers wouldn’t be killed, but would instead be kidnapped and brought to Syria.
The woman was kept in Syrian custody until February 16, and, after a deal was reached between Israel and Syria, she was flown to Russia and returned to Israel on February 19.
The woman is being charged with illegally leaving the country and illegally entering Syria.
This was not the first time the woman has illegally crossed borders or put herself at risk with Israel’s neighbors.
The indictment described the woman as having a “nomadic lifestyle and cruising throughout Israel, without a permanent address.” The woman illegally visited sites in the Palestinian Authority many times.
IN OCTOBER last year, the woman traveled to the Galilee and drove along the border with Lebanon. During the visit, she stopped along the border and talked to Lebanese citizens near the border fence. The indictment confirmed that photos published by Hezbollah-affiliated reporter Ali Shoeib of an Israeli woman in a vehicle near the Lebanese border were, in fact, of the woman who crossed the border into Syria.
نظرًا لعدم وجود رجال في الجيش الصهيوني بداعي الإختباء والخوف !!ارسلوا اليوم مجندة بسيارة ولباس مدني لمسح الطريق العسكري بين #رامية و "خلة وردة" في #عيتا_الشعب عبر آلة تصوير مثبتة بالسيارة !!! ملاحظة : منذ شهرين ونصف لم يجرؤ العدو على إرسال جنود للمنطقة!!#الجيش_المرعوب pic.twitter.com/j9WDxvCBFs— علي شعيب || Ali Choeib (@alishoeib1970) October 5, 2020
Photographs taken from Lebanon in October 2020 and shared on Twitter showed an Israeli woman in a vehicle near the border fence. Hezbollah-affiliated media claimed at the time that she was a soldier sent to the border by the IDF in civilian clothing.
“Since there are no men in the Zionist army out of hiding and fear!! Today, they sent a female soldier in a car and in civilian clothes to scan the military road... Note: Two and a half months ago, the enemy did not dare to send soldiers to the region!!” read a tweet by Shoeib at the time.
The Hezbollah-affiliated reporter claimed that the road is inaccessible by civilians as it is closed off by an iron gate that can only be opened with the approval of the IDF. Israel was also in the midst of a national coronavirus lockdown at the time, meaning that if the woman was more than 1 kilometer from her home, she was also breaking Health Ministry regulations.
The woman also traveled along the border with the Gaza Strip on November 30 and even tried to enter the Strip, but was caught before she could do so. Israeli authorities explained to her that this was illegal and dangerous, but she tried again, this time by sea on a surfboard, but was caught by the Israeli Navy and arrested within an area considered a closed military zone.
At the beginning of January, the woman crossed into Jordan illegally on a bicycle and arrived at a Jordanian military position, where she talked with the soldiers and had coffee with them. She was then taken to a few sites for a few hours before she was questioned by a person who introduced himself as the head of Jordanian intelligence. She was subsequently returned to Israel through the Yitzhak Rabin border crossing.
Details of the agreement reached between Israel and Syria through Russian mediation to bring the woman back from Syria are still unclear and some details are under military censor. Israel released two shepherds who had crossed into Israel in exchange for the woman and also reportedly agreed to buy over a million dollars worth of Russian coronavirus vaccines for Syria.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that no Israeli vaccines were sent to Syria in the exchange deal, but did not deny that Israel paid for vaccines. Syrian state news agency SANA rejected the reports that vaccinations had been provided by Israel.