The case against Riyad Masharawi, a resident of the Rimal neighborhood in Gaza, contained 11 counts of illegal trading and was presented by prosecuting attorney Moran Gez.
The verdict was reached on Thursday, January 28 by the District Court in Be’er Sheva. According to the indictment, Masharawi had obtained a trade permit from the state of Israel on several occasions and had used it to sell merchandise via the Kerem Shalom border crossing on Gaza’s southern border.
Among those to whom he sold the merchandise were Hamas operatives and terrorists released in the Gilad Shalit deal as well electrical appliances to the Hamas-run University of Technology and Science in Gaza.
Masharawi sold various electronic goods and other commercial materials in large quantities amounting to hundreds of thousands of shekels ($9,000). These included car batteries, electric cables, copper and telephone wires which, the indictment suggested, Masharawi knew would be used for military purposes such as production of rockets intended to be fired at Israel.
According to Moran Gez, Masharawi admitted all charges leveled against him during the interrogation. He was arrested after he was incriminated by another merchant from Gaza who was also arrested. The trial was the result of a joint investigation by the Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet) and the police.
Gez said told Tazpit Press Service (TPS) that since Egyptian President Sisi closed the tunnels which passed between Egypt and Gaza, Hamas has been deprived of any channels through which they are able to transfer materials for their military industry.
“For the last two years or so they have been using merchants who have a trading permit with Israel as their means for purchasing the materials. Many indictments have been filed in the last year on similar charges,” she told TPS.
She pointed out that while trading with Gaza is not illegal, trading with terrorists or terrorist organizations is considered unlawful. When asked to explain what was exactly unlawful about trading telephone wires and seemingly innocuous material, Gez commented that the Masharawi knew exactly what the merchandise was being utilized for. “In this case he knew that the phone cables he was selling were being used to build a communications network in Hamas tunnels,” she told TPS.