Israeli Arabs 'funding Hamas'
The leader of Israel’s Islamic Movement has been arrested along with 13 supporters on charges they funnelled millions of dollars to the militant Hamas organisation. Police minister Tzahi Hanegbi alleged that the money sent to Hamas was collected by the Islamic Movement under the pretence of charity. The arrests signalled a further downturn in relations between the Israeli government and the country’s 1.2 million-strong Arab minority. Israeli Arabs have long complained of systematic discrimination by the authorities, and tensions have been running especially high since police killed 13 Arabs in anti-government riots in October 2000. The Islamic Movement is the largest Arab organisation in Israel. It has split into a more pragmatic branch that participates in Israel’s political life, and a more radical branch that has come out in support of Hamas, the Palestinian group operating in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and accused of carrying out suicide bombings as part of its campaign for a Palestinian state. The Islamic Movement did not refer to the charges, but said the arrests were meant as intimidation. Full Story