Israeli security forces are significantly more knowledgeable about the operations of Hamas, after a major Hamas operative divulged valuable details to interrogators, according to media reports.
Israel arrested the Hamas agent earlier this month as he attempted to infiltrate the country via the Allenby Bridge crossing, but the story was only cleared for publication Thursday afternoon.
Mahmoud Toameh, a “top-ranking overseas operative of Hamas,” revealed that Hamas uses the Islamic Movement to keep Jews from entering Har Habayis by paying young men to harass and throw stones at Jewish visitors. These hirelings, who ostensibly are studying Islamic theology at the site, receive a monthly stipend of NIS 4,000 to NIS 5,000 ($1,150-$1,440) for their activities. It appears to be just part of a broader collaboration between Hamas and the Islamic Movement in Israel headed by the incendiary cleric Raed Salah, the Shin Bet said.
A member of the main economic council of Hamas, Toameh told the Shin Bet about its system for transferring funds to both its Gaza base and to supporters inside Israel or Yehuda and Shomron. Several of these involve Islamic charities operating abroad.
Toameh claimed that it was at his initiative that Hamas began surreptitiously transferring funds via real estate deals — notably, a Saudi Arabian-backed mosque built several years ago in Tulkarem which resulted in some 750,000 riyals (about $200,000) being transferred to Hamas.
He also revealed details of Hamas international connections, maintaining links to the Muslim Brotherhood, and using Turkey and Qatar as bases of operations, with the tacit approval of the governments of those two countries.
Regarding the recent reconciliation between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, Toameh said that it was the result of a practical decision by Hamas unrelated to the group’s ideology. Hamas, he said, realized that in order to have a voice in the direction of the PA, and to gain greater political influence beyond Gaza, it would have to join the PLO and participate in general Palestinian government.
Toameh was arrested on May 14, the Shin Beit said, and
formally indicted on undisclosed charges on Thursday.