The Holy Land Foundation was part of a global network of organizations that raised money from Muslims throughout the world and funneled it to Hamas, according to a second Israeli secret agent who testified under a pseudonym Wednesday.
The testimony of an anonymous agent as an expert witness could be a first in the U.S. legal system. It also could end up being a point of appeal in the event of convictions in the case involving the former Richardson charity and its organizers.
The agent, a lawyer in the counterterrorism section of the Israeli Security Agency, also known as Shin Bet, said that most of Hamas’ money “is coming from outside the territories [the West Bank and Gaza], from nongovernmental organizations overseas,” particularly the U.S., Europe, the Gulf countries and North Africa.
“When I’m talking about a network, a global network that would serve Hamas goals in the financial aspect, this … structure was by design,” said the agent, who testified under the name “Avi.” “Someone wanted to create it. It wasn’t created just like this, out of the blue.”
He then testified that money collected by this network ended up in the coffers of several Palestinian zakat, or charity, committees that are run by known Hamas activists.
Prosecutors have charged the Holy Land Foundation and five of its organizers with violating a 1995 presidential order outlawing support of Hamas by sending at least $12 million to these committees.
Defense attorneys have said that their clients merely provided humanitarian aid to needy Palestinian orphans and families and did not support Hamas. They also have objected to Avi and another Israeli secret agent who testified last week under the moniker “Major Lior,” on the grounds that their anonymous testimony violates their clients’ constitutional right to confront their accusers.
Holy Land supporters, who listened to Avi’s testimony from an overflow room after the judge cleared the courtroom of spectators for security reasons, say the agent is not credible because his government is bent on defeating Hamas.