A Palestinian man was convicted Tuesday in a Jerusalem court of meeting with members of the Hezbollah resistance group in Lebanon, after initially facing more serious charges and then accepting a plea bargain in which he plead guilty to lesser charges.Assam Mashahara went to Lebanon last year where, according to the indictment, he visited a neighborhood known to be a Hezbollah stronghold and asked around for representatives of the organization. According to the charges, he asked a guard at the cemetery he visited, where a former Hezbollah leader was buried, for a contact with the organization, and was led to a Hezbollah representative who asked him to point out the locations of various sites in Jerusalem from an aerial map.
The Israeli court did not reveal their source for the information about Mashahara’s trip to Lebanon.
Hezbollah is a Lebanese political party and armed resistance group led by Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, which has twice defeated Israeli invasions of southern Lebanon, in 2000 and 2006. Recently, the Israeli government has challenged Hezbollah’s support of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. al-Assad has fought for two years against rebel forces attempting to overthrow his government. Israel supports the overthrow of al-Assad, and has, in recent months, dropped missiles on Syrian military sites.
According to the indictment, Mashahara was provided with passwords to encrypted Hezbollah websites after meeting with the party’s representatives for the first time as a stranger in Lebanon.
The prosecutor has not yet put forward the possible prison sentence that Mashahara will face for the charges of meeting with a Hezbollah operative and conspiring to pass information to the enemy.