“The manager of the Gaza branch of the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA), Muhammad Murtaja, was arrested last month on suspicion that he was working on behalf of Hamas, the Shin Bet announced on Tuesday. […]
According to the security agency, Murtaja took advantage of his position in TIKA in order to direct funds and resources away from “meaningful humanitarian projects” and toward Hamas’s military wing.
One apparent scam detailed by the security service allowed “millions of shekels” to be given to Hamas members in food and cash.”
As the Jerusalem Post reports, Murtaja was arrested in February while travelling from Gaza to Turkey, via Israel.
“A statement from the Government Press Office said, “During the investigation, it became clear that Murtaja’s trip via Israel to receive training from TIKA, which led to his arrest for interrogation, was also intended to allow him to acquire information that would improve the accuracy of Hamas rockets being launched at Israel.”
Avi Issacharoff has further details:
“According to the indictment, there is a deep suspicion that someone residing in Turkey not only sought to use Murtaja to transfer money to the Hamas terror group, but also to give the organization’s military wing sensitive military intelligence concerning Israel. […]
…the bigger problem from Israel’s perspective is buried in the smaller print of the indictment — Murtaja’s mission to obtain satellite pictures in Turkey of sensitive military sites in Israel. These were intended to be used by Hamas to improve the targeting accuracy of its rocket arsenal in its next war with Israel.
Murtaja, who has been a member of Hamas’ military wing since 2008, studied structural engineering in Turkey. He speaks Turkish fluently and lives in the middle of Gaza City, and for years was a member of the “Shati Brigade” in Hamas’s military wing.
Most likely due to his Turkish language skills, Murtaja was selected to work at TIKA on behalf of the Izz Ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades. Before that he worked with the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation, known by its Turkish acronym IHH.
IHH, which Israel officially considers to be a terrorist organization, was behind the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla, in which nine activists were killed after attacking Israeli commandos who boarded their ship as they tried to breach Israel’s blockade of Gaza.
Among his different roles with the groups, Murtaja served as a translator for Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Ismail Radwan during their meetings with officials from the Turkish organizations.”
Since the 2014 conflict the BBC has put considerable effort into persuading its audiences that the dire economic and social conditions in the Gaza Strip are primarily attributable to Israel – while serially ignoring Hamas’ abuse of its civilian population and misappropriation of resources intended to better their lives. Perhaps unsurprisingly then, this latest story of Hamas abuse of charity and humanitarian aid has not received any BBC coverage.