- Tali Fahima served her time in the Israeli army, voted
for Ariel Sharon as prime minister and took it as given that her country
was struggling for survival against terrorism.
- Then last year, the 29-year-old legal secretary from
Tel Aviv picked up a newspaper and read about Zakariya Zubeidi, the Jenin
leader of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the group responsible for killing
hundreds of Israelis in suicide bombings and shootings. Ms Fahima decided
she would ask Mr Zubeidi why he killed Jews.
- On Sunday, the military placed Ms Fahima in detention
without trial using a law applied to thousands of Palestinians over the
past four years of intifada but rarely to Israelis.
- The authorities declined to reveal the precise reasons
but the defence minister, Shaul Mofaz, who signed the order, described
her as "a clear and present danger to all Israelis".
- Intelligence sources told the Israeli press that Ms Fahima
had a hand in bombing an army checkpoint last month, and that she was planning
attacks inside Israel.
- But Ms Fahima's lawyers and friends accuse the government
of using draconian security laws to silence her because she has broken
a taboo against befriending and explaining the enemy.
- Ms Fahima started visiting Mr Zubeidi in Jenin a little
more than a year ago, despite an Israeli ban on its citizens travelling
to Palestinian towns. She said she wanted to find out what motivated him
- "I had to ask why a man goes ahead and does this,"
she told Israeli television this year. "There is a reason for this.
A man doesn't wake up one morning and decide, 'OK, I'm going to carry out
- The army describes Mr Zubeidi as one of its most-wanted
terrorists. It has tried in vain to kill him five times.
- After several meetings with the al-Aqsa brigade's commander,
Ms Fahima described him as a freedom fighter and "a kindhearted person
whom I was lucky to meet". She said she would be a human shield to
protect him from Israeli assassination attempts.
- "It is hard for a 28-year-old girl who was brought
up on certain values to find out one day that they are all wrong,"
she told the Jerusalem Post in June. "Who causes the occupation? The
Palestinians? No. It is the Israelis and who am I? A Jew and an Israeli
and by sitting at home and doing nothing I am also responsible.
- "Zubeidi is not a terrorist, rather he is fighting
against the occupation. Suicide bombers are also fighting the occupation.
Put yourself in their place and see what happens. They are denied basic
rights and freedom."
- Those views have infuriated many Israelis who have denounced
Ms Fahima as a traitor and terrorist sympathiser. Her religious parents
refuse to speak to her, and she was sacked from her job.
- Ms Fahima's lawyers say if there were evidence she was
involved in violence the authorities would have laid charges, not place
her in the limbo of administrative detention.
- The justice minister, Yosef Lapid, said the activist
has not been charged due to the need to protect intelligence sources.
- "There is very, very concrete evidence in the material
indicating that she acted in a manner that endangers the security of Israel.
Until there is a trial, the relevant officials believe that it would be
better from the point of view of the security of Israel that she remain
in detention," he said.
- But Ms Fahima's lawyer, Smadar Ben-Natan, says her client
was detained last month after refusing to inform for the Shin Bet.
- "[The intelligence services] are attempting to prove
to her that she is politically mistaken, they are giving her history lessons,
debating with her whether this should be described as occupation, whether
Palestinian fighters should be defined as freedom fighters or as terrorists,"
- One of Ms Fahima's friends, Lin Dovrat, a peace activist,
said the political motives behind her detention were clear from the authorities'
claim that information against her was too sensitive to be made public
in court while the Shin Bet leaked accusations to the press.
- "They tried to kill Zubeidi five times and failed
and she got to him and was able to talk to him and was able to connect
with him on a very basic human level and I think that drives them nuts,"
- Ms Ben-Natan says that when Ms Fahima refused to collaborate
with the Shin Bet, it sought to discredit her by telling journalists she
was sleeping with Mr Zubeidi, who is married. It is an accusation widely
given credibility in the Israeli press, and denied by Ms Fahima.
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