The terror support trial of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) continued this morning with direct examination of the Legal Advisor for the Counterterrorism Division of the Israeli Security Agency (ISA), who testified under the pseudonym "Avi." Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth J. Shapiro resumed her questioning by walking the jury through an extensive list of Zakat (Charity) Committees throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip that were controlled by HAMAS and received contributions from the global HAMAS charitable network - which included the Richardson, Texas-based HLF.
Posters, videos, key chains, postcards, documents, and other evidence was collected by the Israeli Defense Forces during Operation Defensive Shield in April of 2002. The operation, initiated in response to a series of terrorist attacks in March 2002 that resulted in the deaths of more than 100 Israeli civilians, revealed a cache of HAMAS propaganda stored in the offices and subsidiaries of these supposed charitable societies. "Avi" testified that the seized materials were used to glorify martyrdom and indoctrinate children.
Most of the posters contained pictures of famous HAMAS fighters and martyrs including Yehya Ayyash, known as the "the Engineer," who is called the "father of martyrdom operations" on the website of the HAMAS military wing, the Ezzedeen Al Qassam Brigades.
In a video seized from the Muslim Youth Society in Hebron, a school or camp ceremony can be seen where children are singing lyrics like "Death for my country is a wish" and "Long live Ezzedeen Brigades."
"Avi" testified that documents he reviewed show that even the Palestinian Authority considered HLF and other western-based charities HAMAS financiers.
Cross examination of "Avi" began Thursday afternoon with questions focusing on the board members of the Zakat Committees and their status according to the Department of Treasury. John Cline, Defense Attorney for Ghassan Elashi, questioned "Avi" about changes in the size and composition of the Board of Directors of the Zakat Committees, and whether the board members were designated as terrorists entities by the Treasury Department.
Cline did not ask any questions during his cross examination about the materials the Israeli Defense Forces recovered in the offices of the Zakat Committees. This, despite the fact that the materials showed links between the committees and HAMAS, and were the focus of "Avi's" testimony.
Cross examination will continue on Monday.