MK Visits Enemies of the State

Ma’ariv (p. 6) by Ami Ben-David — Does MK Abdul Malik Dehamshe take advantage of his parliamentary immunity to pass secret messages between the terrorists imprisoned in Israel? Security officials accuse Dehamshe of serving as a conduit between the terrorists and the terrorist leadership in the territories.

Dehamshe is a permanent visitor to the prisons in Israel. His frequent visits to the most senior terrorists have aroused suspicion in the security establishment. In the past few days a sensitive document has been compiled by the GSS and the Prisons Service. The document, which is classified as top secret, contains intelligence about the meetings of MK Dehamshe with security prisoners, some of them defined as highly dangerous. “In the past week alone MK Dehamshe had meetings with a large group of arch-terrorists in Israeli jails,” a senior GSS official said yesterday. “He went from one prison to another, spoke with them in private, and now we are checking whether he conveyed messages between terrorists held in different prisons.”

Dehamshe, who represents the United Arab List in the Knesset, has submitted more than 80 requests to visit senior terrorists since the beginning of the year. The security prisoners whom Dehamshe has visited are described by the security establishment as “terrorists of the first rank.” Many of them have been convicted of murdering Israelis. Some of them belong to the leadership of the Palestinian prisoners. Those whom Dehamshe visited include the Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti, the murderer of the Haran family Samir Kuntar, Amana Mona, who lured teenager Ophir Rahum into a terrorist ambush [where he was murdered], and many others.

The security establishment is very worried about communication between the prisoners who are in jail and those active outside the prisons. In the past month evidence has accumulated that the security prisoners have been directing terrorist attacks from inside the prisons. A few months ago the GSS uncovered bomb vests hidden inside a washing machine in Abu Dis. The vests were intended for simultaneous terrorist attacks in Jerusalem. The security establishment knows that these attacks were planned at Eshel Prison in the south.

The security establishment has also obtained evidence that in similar cases Arab MKs helped imprisoned planners of terrorist attacks to pass secret messages to terrorists active in the territories. The Prisons Service invests a great deal of effort in trying to prevent the passage of such messages. Every few days prison guards raid cells and find dozens of cell phones which have been smuggled into the prisoners. The Prisons Service also installed devices throughout the prisons to block reception by these cellular phones. But there is one thing which the guards cannot touch. The Prisons Service does not have authorization to monitor the conversations between the prisoners and the MKs who visit them. Nor can the guards touch notes passed by the prisoners to the MKs. Senior Prisons Service officials said the situation is absurd. Last Thursday Dehamshe conveyed a request from some prisoners for a meeting with Internal Security Minister Tzahi Hanegbi Already on Sunday morning Dehamshe was sitting in the office of the warden of Shikma Prison for a meeting with senior prisoners, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah leaders. Dehamshe claimed the meeting was aimed at promoting the hudna. “The MK has immunity and therefore we were forbidden to be present at the meeting,” one of the prison officials said. “We are forbidden to monitor or wiretap a meeting between prisoners and MKs, but we are permitted to observe them.” The officer said. “I cannot say what took place at the meeting, but from our intelligence it is clear that messages were passed, positions were coordinated and documents and letters were taken out of the prison by the MK.”

Security officials said all of Dehamshe’s meetings were with security prisoners, none with common criminals. Dehamshe also met with Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement. “Dehamshe says he is trying to calm the prisoners, but according to the intelligence document which we obtained, he inflames the atmosphere among the security prisoners,” a senior Prisons Service official said. “He is advising that the glass partitions in the visiting cells be removed and that a list of prisoners to be released be drawn up in preparation for an agreement with the Palestinian Authority.”

Dehamshe: The Allegations Endanger My Life Ma’ariv (p. 7) by Ami Ben-David — MK Abdul Malik Dehamshe said yesterday that he has never been involved either in coordinating terror attacks or in providing secret assistance to terrorists. Dehamshe also said that most of the prison visits he requested from the Prisons Service were never made.

“That is untrue. The allegations are stooping to a new low of unheard of [proportions],” Dehamshe commented. “I visited prisoners even before I became an MK, when I worked as a lawyer. Customarily, I submit a list with the names of 20 prisoners and, in practice, only visit one or two of them. After each visit I write a letter to either the prison warden or the internal security minister.”

In response to the allegation that he helps plan terror attacks during his visits to prison, Dehamshe said: “That is a cheap, baseless, very severe allegation that makes my life forfeit. If they say that the prisoners are coordinating their positions then let the prison authorities examine themselves. There have always been instances of coordination, and I play no role in that affair.”

A Prisons Service spokesman responded: “MK Dehamshe’s visits to prison were conducted in keeping with the law that allows MKs to visit prisoners.”

These articles ran on November 26th, 2003 in the daily Israeli newspaper, Maariv