'2 Druse provided information to Syria'

Golan residents get jail time for telling Syrian officers about IDF maneuvers during Second Lebanon War.

Druse golan heights syria 248.88 (photo credit: Brenda Gazzar [file])
Druse golan heights syria 248.88
(photo credit: Brenda Gazzar [file])
Two Druse residents of northern Israel have been sentenced to jail for providing information to Syrian army officers, authorities announced Thursday. According to the release, the two informed their Syrian contacts of IDF soldiers' movements in the field during the Second Lebanon War. The Nazareth District Court on Thursday sentenced Yussuf Shams, 58, of the village of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights, to a four year prison term, as well as an additional three years suspended sentence and a NIS 50,000 fine. The second man, Ata Farahat, 37, of the village of Bukata, was sentenced to three years in prison, two years suspended sentence and a NIS 25,000 fine. Shams admitted to providing information to Syrian officers between June 2006 and July 2007, a period that included the Second Lebanon War. He said that he had apprised the Syrians of IDF maneuvers, force concentrations and reinforcement work along the border. Shams was also convicted of informing the Syrian officers of a demonstration of Druse opposed to Syrian President Bashar Assad, which took place in the Golan Heights village of Kuneitra. Then judges ruled that Shams had taken advantage of a special permit he had received to create foreign contacts in order to promote the exporting of apples grown on the Golan Heights and thus made dishonest use of the authorities' willingness to assist farmers. Farhat was convicted of informing Syrian opposition sources about the Kuneitra demonstration and taking pictures of the protest. The photos were transferred to Syrian army officers. "Actions such as these come from an ideological desire to harm the county's security and require a deterring punishment," the ruling said.