JERUSALEM, (AFP) – An Arab Israeli and two Druze residents of the occupied Golan Heights were on Thursday charged with spying for Syria and attempted kidnapping, Israeli police said.
Fidaa al-Shaar and his father Majid al-Shaar from Majdel Shams in the Golan and Mahmud Masarweh from the northern Israeli village of Baka al-Gharbiyeh were charged at a court in Nazareth with “aggravated espionage.”
“Three Israelis were charged with spying and having contact with the enemy,” police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld told AFP.
The three allegedly passed on information to Syrian intelligence officials about submarine manoeuvres off the northern coastal city of Haifa.
They are also suspected of having handed over video and other footage of Israeli bases around the country, Rosenfeld said.
The defendants were charged with planning to kidnap a man who they believed was a Syrian pilot who defected to Israel in 1989. “They planned on kidnapping him and sending him back to Syria,” the spokesman said.
Police arrested Fidaa al-Shaar in Majd al-Shams on July 12 but all details of his arrest and that of his father and the other defendant were initially subjected to a court-issued gag order.
Majdel Shams is the main town on the Golan Heights which Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War.
Israel unilaterally annexed the Golan in 1981. The vast majority of the 18,000 Syrians, mostly Druze, left from the Golan’s original population of 150,000 have refused to take Israeli citizenship.