Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

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Kerry sides with Jordanian bank against terror victims

April 11, 2014

So committed is he to the illusory peace process between Israel and its neighbors that John Kerry’s State Department is siding with Jordan’s Arab Bank in pushing for legal relief from a terrorist financing lawsuit in New York.

At the heart of the case is Arab Bank’s refusal to turn over documents that would provide further detail about the transactions it helped facilitate for Hamas. Arab Bank has cited bank secrecy laws as the reason for its recalcitrance. Jordan has argued on behalf of the bank, making thinly veiled threats that it may not support the peace process with Israel if the U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t intervene to provide relief to Arab Bank from the rulings against it.

According to recent reporting by New York Times, “The State Department’s arguments appear to closely track those made by the government of Jordan.”

The intervention of the State Department represents a setback to progress that victims of Hamas terrorism appeared to be making last year in the case against Arab Bank.

Suing terrorist organizations and the banks that assist them has become an increasingly utilized tactic in the West to help gradually de-fund terror groups. Kerry doesn’t appear to be on board with that strategy.

Acknowledgment:  Thanks to Twitter user Mean Kitteh for notifying us of the NYT report.

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Money Jihad’s recommended reading

February 27, 2014
  • Despite budgetary hard times, the Palestinian Authority is able to cough up $46 million to terrorist ex-convicts—from your tax payments… more>>
  • Is a financial-cyber war against America already underway?  More>>
  • Sharia law dictates that gambling is haram (unclean), and Sheldon Adelson is Jewish and pro-Israel. Perhaps those are two of the reasons why Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands has been the target of a major cyber attack… more>>
  • New legislation in Turkey threatens to prevent meaningful due diligence by bank compliance officers by suppressing negative information on the Internet… more>>
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Another Eritrean embassy engages in extortion

January 10, 2014

It happens in Kenya, Canada, Britain, and, according to a new report, in Israel as well.  Eritrean diplomats carry out the dirty work of the dictatorship back home by forcing Eritreans living abroad to pay an illegal tax.

That tax funds the dictatorship and the al-Shabaab terrorist organization it supports.

Not only is the use of ambassadors and consuls to collect such a tax a violation of international consular law, but this latest case represents a violation of an Israeli law that caps foreign remittances.

The Eritrean embassy instructed Eritreans in Israel to remit their tax payments to a bank in Frankfurt, Germany, for follow-on transfer to Eritrea.

It’s become clear that Eritrean embassies really don’t help ordinary Eritreans who have attempted to make better lives for themselves abroad.  The “diplomats” are regime henchmen, fomenting strife within and extortion against the communities which they are supposed to serve.  The ultimate beneficiary is the repressive regime in Eritrea and its al-Shabaab partner.

From the Jerusalem Post, with a tip of the hat to El Grillo:

Eritrean Embassy offering advice how to make illegal money transfers

By BEN HARTMAN

12/23/2013 02:44

Migrants make claims day after brawl involving dozens of Eritrean regime opponents and supporters at Kibbutz Kinneret.

The Eritrean Embassy in Israel is advising migrants in Israel how to transfer money back to Eritrea through a bank account in Germany, contrary to Israeli law, which forbids such transfers, a group of Eritrean migrants said at a press conference in Tel Aviv on Sunday.

The migrants called the press conference the morning after a brawl involving dozens of regime opponents and supporters at an event organized by the embassy at Kibbutz Kinneret on Saturday, in which over a dozen people were wounded and around 15 arrested. They said that the embassy gave instructions to migrants about how to transfer money and also advertised real estate in Eritrea, telling them that it was a good opportunity for them to build a house back in their home country.

A law passed earlier this year makes it illegal for African migrants to transfer money out of Israel to their home country, and assigns stiff penalties to people found breaking this law, or Israelis found helping Africans wire money home.

The law stipulates that the transfer must be less than the minimum wage in Israel divided by the number of months the person has been in the country.

There were several hundred migrants taking part in the press conference on Saturday, activists in Tel Aviv said Sunday. They said a group of around 60 regime opponents arrived and were accused of being “Ethiopian instigators” by ambassador Tesfemariam Tekeste, at which time the say they were attacked.

The regime supporters and the ambassador said they were peacefully holding the meeting when they were set upon by Eritrean men wielding sticks and throwing rocks, with some wielding knives and screwdrivers.

At the press conference in an events hall near the Tel Aviv central bus station, regime opponents showed a pamphlet they say was being handed out by regime supporters at the event the previous day, which showed details of a bank called “Commerzbank” in Frankfurt. The pamphlet included a Swift code and details for transferring money through the German bank to the Housing and Commerce Bank of Eritrea, where they were told to specify that the money was meant for the “Urban Development Eritrea – Housing Project 2013.”

For unclear reasons, the pamphlets were in English, not Tigrinye.

The Eritrean government requires citizens in the diaspora to pay a monthly tax in order to retain their passport and that tax as well as money sent home by citizens outside the country are major sources of revenue for the Eritrean government…

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Shin Bet’s dirt on the China-Hamas connection

October 4, 2013

Haaretz has published an unusually detailed report on longstanding use of Chinese banks to launder money for the Hamas terrorist organization.  Many readers are already familiar with the ongoing lawsuit against the Bank of China made wire transfers to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic jihad from 2004 to 2007, but this this newly disclosed operation involving “Abu Othman” indicates that China was still active in laundering money for Hamas as recently as 2012.  Take a look:

Infographic on criminal money transfer conspiracy

Shin Bet probe reveals scope of Hamas money laundering through Chinese banks

Laundering continued years after the Bank of China affair, Israel’s security service reveals.

By Chaim Levinson | Sep. 29, 2013

A Shin Bet security service investigation reveals that China is a central financial channel for funding Hamas activity worldwide. Its February-March 2012 probe connected Chinese banks to the transference of money to Hamas prisoners. The Shin Bet seized numerous documents of the transfers and a list of accounts in which the money was deposited in China.

The key to discovering the network was the testimony of Amar Mer’i, a West Bank money changer who had previously transferred money from laborers from Gaza to their families, but had stopped this activity after pressure from the Palestinian Authority to cut his ties with Gaza. He told the Shin Bet he was contacted by a man known as Abu Othman, who had received his name and number from Mer’i’s counterpart in Gaza. Mer’i said he suspected Abu Othman was a Hamas operative.

The Shin Bet arrested Mer’i at a border crossing in February 2010 in possession of $126,000 and NIS 80,000 in cash. Mer’i received the money from two men from the village of Musmus in the Wadi Ara region.

Mer’i’s information led to a complicated web. His contacts from Musmus, Mohammed Agbaria and his cousin Mohammed Abu Shahab, would receive text messages from Abu Othman with an encoded telephone number of an Eritrean national. Agbaria would meet the Eritrean in Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station area, take the money from him and pass it on to Mer’i, who would deposit it in the Bank of Palestine in Yabad, near Jenin. After that, Mer’i would receive an email message from Abu Othman with instructions on where to transfer the funds.

Most of the money would be transferred to accounts in the Bank of China. One transfer was made to a Citibank account in New York and another to a bank in Alabama. Several transfers were made to a HSBC bank in Hong Kong. Some money was transferred to accounts in India and Turkey.

Mer’i personally handed over some of the cash to Hamas activists in the West Bank as compensation for having served jail time.

The Shin Bet asked Mer’i why Abu Othman had to pay a mediation commission to an Eritrean national, couriers from Musmus and also to him. Mer’i said it didn’t make sense to him and he suspected the convoluted money route was illegal. He said the text messages also made him suspicious.

Mer’i said he had called Abu Othman to ask him if the money belonged to Hamas, but was told it did not. Altogether he carried out 40 money transfers, totalling $1.1 million.

Mer’i also transferred money to Brookside Agra, an Illinois-based company that sells fertilizers.

He told the Shin Bet interrogator that Abu Othman asked him on the phone if he could handle money the latter had in Sudan. Mer’i said he asked several money changers and the Bank of Palestine, but none of them had any contact with Sudan.

Mer’i said that, a few days before his arrest, he received a text message from Abu Othman with the names of three women and the sums of money to give them. These included $3,000 to Um Faiz, $3,000 to Fatma and $3,500 to Um Sa’ad. He said he called the three and set up meetings with each.

The money was intended as support to the families of Hamas prisoners in Israeli prisons. Couriers Agbaria and Abu Shahab transferred funds to Hamas families as well. In one case, Hamas prisoner Ayman Abu Daud testified he had received $38,000 for serving time in an Israeli prison.

Abu Daud was arrested in 2002 and sentenced to 36 years in prison after carrying out four shooting attacks in the Hebron area. He was released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner-exchange deal…

There is more; read it all here.

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Financial mischief: recommended reading

September 26, 2013
  • “We should bleed America economically,” says Zawahiri…  more>>
  • It was a lot of fun laundering $1.4 million for terrorist guerrillas, until he got caughtmore>>
  • The Muslim Brotherhood created international sharia-compliant finance, and still controls it… under Saudi supervision.  More>>
  • If Muhammad Atta II waltzed into SunTrust today, would he qualify for a bank account?  More>>
  • Uzi Shaya could prove to be a crucial witness in the terror finance trial against the Bank of China—if Israel lets him testify… more>>
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Case can proceed against terror-funding bank

January 22, 2013

Progress made as court rejects bank’s appeal

Arab Bank’s refusal to turn over records has been a major obstacle in the Linde v. Arab Bank terrorist financing case.  To move beyond the legal stalemate, the presiding judge said the jury could infer what it wants to about Arab Bank’s secrecy.  The bank appealed the judge’s jury instruction to the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals.  The appellate court ruled Friday that it had no standing to review the case at this time (h/t @ChallahHuAkbar), and that there’s nothing drastic enough about the judge’s instruction to cause the circuit court to intervene.

From Bloomberg:

Arab Bank Sanctions Order Appeal Dismissed by U.S. Court

Arab Bank Plc (ARBK)’s appeal of sanctions for not obeying discovery orders in a lawsuit brought by victims of terrorist attacks was dismissed by a federal appeals court in New York.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled today that it couldn’t hear the bank’s appeal of a sanctions order imposed by U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon in Brooklyn until after the consolidated suits pending before her have ended.

“We conclude that the sanctions order is not a reviewable collateral order, and we therefore dismiss the bank’s appeal for want of jurisdiction,” the panel of judges said.

“We conclude further, that this is not an appropriate case for issuance of the extraordinary writ,” the appeals court said, adding, “the bank has not established (among other factors) that it has a ‘clear and indisputable right’ to such drastic relief or that review after final judgment will not provide adequate relief.”

Courtney Linde, the widow of John Linde Jr., who was killed Oct. 15, 2003, while guarding diplomats traveling in the Gaza Strip, sued in federal court in Brooklyn in 2004. She is the lead plaintiff for a half-dozen families suing the Amman, Jordan-based lender in cases that allege it “knowingly and purposefully supported” foreign terrorist organizations between 1995 and 2004 by providing financial support. The bank has denied wrongdoing.

Sanctions Imposed

The judge imposed sanctions upon the bank for not complying with several court orders to produce documents the plaintiffs said were relevant to their case. Gershon’s sanctions took the form of a jury instruction that would permit — but not require — the jury to infer from the bank’s failure to produce the documents that it provided financial services to foreign terrorist groups and did so knowingly.

Gershon also precluded the bank from introducing for the jury’s consideration certain evidence related to undisclosed materials.

The bank argued that the sanctions were “unduly harsh,” that jury instructions would predetermine the outcome of the case, and that the documents are covered by foreign bank secrecy laws, so that their disclosure would subject the bank to criminal prosecution.

Ten similar suits brought against the bank by the families of dozens of victims of other attacks in Israel were consolidated and are pending before Gershon. She hasn’t yet determined whether any of those cases will go to trial.

‘Substantially Right’

“We think they got it substantially right,” Gary Osen, a lawyer for some of the plaintiffs, said in a phone interview about the decision to dismiss the appeal. “It just means these cases can go forward. All we ask for is our day in court.”

Bob Chlopak, a spokesman for Arab Bank, said in an e-mail that the ruling is “not an endorsement of the district court’s sanctions.”

“The bank continues to believe that the district court’s sanctions order raises serious issues of international concern, and it is currently weighing its legal options,” he said.

The bank, Jordan’s largest, won dismissal in November of a separate case filed by former Israeli government official Mati Gill, which alleged that the lender supported the group Hamas. Gill, who was injured in a 2008 by a shot fired from Gaza, a territory bordering Israel, sought damages from the bank…

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Iran financing Gaza’s jihad by land, sea, and air

January 18, 2013

Whether through Sudanese ports, Libyan overland routes, the Rafah border crossing, or smuggling tunnels, Iran has been reasserting its role as the leading regional state sponsor of terror against Israel by funneling arms to Gaza.

Were reports of imminent financial collapse of Iran premature?  If Iran can fund weapons shipments to Gaza to the degree alleged by Israeli officials in this report, it would seem so.

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Hillary Clinton sued for funding terrorism

December 5, 2012

The U.S. finances terrorism by providing insufficient safeguards in the distribution of foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority and United Nations Refugee Worker’s Administration (UNRWA) according to a lawsuit filed against Hillary Clinton and other Obama administration officials.

Money Jihad has been making this point for years: why is it a crime when ordinary citizens send money to terrorists, but when the federal government does nobody bats an eye?

This lawsuit is about unlawfully disbursed aid to the Palestinian territories, but the same wrongdoing applies to U.S. negotiations with the Taliban.  If you and I communicate with the Taliban and give them money in order to incentivize a certain behavior, we’d be in prison. If the State Department does uses taxpayer money to help bribe the Taliban to sit across from them at the negotiating table, they get praised by the foreign policy “experts.”

In either case, what federal officials are doing is providing material support—money—directly or indirectly to a terrorist organization in violation of U.S. law.

From Shurat HaDin on Nov. 27:

Hillary Clinton sued by Americans over funding of Palestinian terror groups

Federal suit alleges that the US State Dept violated the Anti-Terrorism Act, and abandoned Congressional safeguards, transparency and reporting requirements  

Tel Aviv, Nov. 27, 2012: A group of 24 Americans living in Israel, including victims of terrorism, filed a lawsuit today against the US government over its funding of Palestinian terrorism in the West Bank and Gaza.

The civil action, filed in the district court of Washington DC, alleges that the US Department of State, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has ignored congressional safeguards and transparency requirements attached to US aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA). In addition, the plaintiffs claim that the White House has not been complying with the regulations and reporting obligations governing presidential waivers which facilitate emergency funding to the Palestinians. As a result of this non-compliance, US funds have been flowing to terror groups like Hamas, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Palestine Liberation Front.

According to the lawsuit, Americans living in proximity to these Palestinian terror groups are in the class of individuals that Congress sought to protect through the safeguards and regulations that the White House, State Department and USAID are disregarding.

The suit asks the federal court to review the conduct of  the State Department and the safeguards on funds being distributed by USAID in its programs to the PA and to the United Nations Refugee Worker’s Administration (UNRWA) and seeks to suspend future American aid to the PA and UNRWA until all the Congressionally legislated regulations and reporting requirements are fully complied with.

Click here to view the lawsuit

The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Norman Steiner of New York and Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of Tel Aviv.

Darshan-Leitner, the director of Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center, stressed that “once handed over, US funding of the PA and UNRWA is difficult to trace and the State Department has been lax in requiring the Palestinians to utilize bank accounts and other transfer methods that ensure transparency.” The founder of the Israeli counter-terror group added that “elements of the US Government, particularly the State Department and USAID, are breaking the law and must cease all funding of the PA immediately. US aid to the Palestinians is killing innocent people.”

Steiner added: “The American people are opposed to terror and do not want to fund it via their taxes. The ongoing non-compliance of the White House and State Department with Congressionally mandated protections cannot be allowed to continue.”

The United States Department of State, under the  Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act, is prohibited from providing “material support” to proscribed terrorist groups. It is estimated that since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, the United States State Department, via USAID has given over $4 billion to Palestinians, with portions of that funding illegally landing in the hands of terrorists. During the last four fiscal years, average aid has been roughly $600 million per year. Additionally, the United States gives approximately $200 million to the United Nations body UNRWA, each year, and during the fiscal years 2008 and 2009, UNRWA gave roughly $500 million of their funding to recipients in the West Bank and Gaza.

Under the Anti-Terrorism Act, the State Department is required to certify that the Palestinian government is committed to a peace co-existence with Israel before distributing funds, and ensure that no part of funding is used for Palestinian terrorism.  The plaintiffs allege that these crucial safeguards, transparency obligations and reporting requirements are being negligently ignored.

One of the lawyers handling the case is Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the director of Shurat HaDin, the Israel Law Center, which appears on our blogroll.

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African refugees kidnapped to fund militants

November 25, 2012

Sudanese and Eritrean refugees are being abducted by Bedouin gangsters for exorbitant ransoms.  Human rights activists refer to the ongoing terror campaign as “the world’s forgotten hostage crisis.”  Surely, the Muslim Brotherhood government of Egypt will do something to put a stop to this racket within their own borders, right?  Don’t hold your breath.

The Atlantic (h/t @ChallaHuAkbar) has the latest this overlooked crime spree:

CAIRO — Memories of torture still haunt 17 year-old Ksamet five weeks after she was released from a small, underground room where Bedouins held her captive for two months in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. She was repeatedly raped, beaten, and burned as family and friends abroad raised money for her $25,000 ransom. “They tortured us almost every day,” Ksamet, from Eritrea, said through an interpreter. “And every week, if we didn’t pay, they’d torture us even more.”

The young woman is one of hundreds of Africans who have been held against their will in the lawless region that borders Israel, often severely abused and largely ignored by the international community. Bedouin are holding over 1,000 people, and Egyptian police are detaining 500 more, according to Meron Estefanos, a Sweden-based Eritrean activist and radio presenter who has spoken to hundreds of Eritreans held hostage in the Sinai.

The steady flow of people north through the Sinai has taken place since 2006 and initially consisted mainly of Sudanese migrants paying to be smuggled to economic opportunities in Israel. In 2008, many Eritreans seeking asylum in Israel started to come, too. The vast majority were trying to escape poverty and conscription under an oppressive dictatorship where indefinite national service is mandatory for most — frequently into their 40s and 50s. Legally leaving the country is nearly impossible…

While many Eritreans taken hostage in the Sinai had paid smugglers to take them to Israel, more and more of those held hostage over the past three years never even had a desire to go there. Many have been kidnapped in or around refugee camps in Sudan and Ethiopia or on Sudan’s borders — or sold by rogue smugglers or corrupt Sudanese border guards — and brought to Sinai where Bedouin extort them for cash. “I had no intention of going to Israel,” said Ksamet, who left behind two sick parents after the military drafted her. “I wanted to go to Khartoum.”

Instead, her and her fiancé, who was also fleeing military service, made it just across the border to Kassala, a city in eastern Sudan only a dozen miles from Eritrea. But after four days there, her smugglers — whom she had paid about $3,300 — sold her to members of the Rashaida tribe of Eritrea and Sudan, notorious for trafficking people and weapons up the Red Sea coast. Ksamet’s fiancé ran free before they could get ahold of him. “I still don’t know where he is,” she said.

Hostages report being subjected to electrocution, burned with molten plastic, beaten with chains and rods, hung by their hair, and threatened with organ harvesting, among other torture methods, according to refugee-aid groups and activists. Sexual abuse ranges from rape and the burning of genitalia to sodomy with heated objects — even to children.

Eritrean villages sometimes sell off homes, livestock, and jewelry to free relatives from the kidnappers; ransoms can reach $50,000. The Bedouin put their captives on the phone with family in the diaspora, beating them so their relatives hear them scream as they plead for help.

The Bedouin hold them for months on average, and many people do not survive. Dumped corpses litter the desert, with 4,000 dead over past five years, according to a September report Estefanos co-authored through Tilburg University, in the Netherlands, and Europe External Policy Advisors, a research center in Brussels. “The treatment has gotten to a level where they would rather die than live,” said an employee at a refugee-aid organization in Cairo.

Those raising money often pool funds to free women and children first. Ksamet was one of three women in a group of 14 that also included children. “I was the only woman left” after the other two paid their ransom, Ksamet said. “So they prioritized me.” Often even when the ransom is met, activists say, the Bedouin merely collect the money and sell their human haul on to the next group of kidnappers, ensuring more rounds of beatings and begging…

What the article doesn’t detail, like many other news reports on the subject, is what exactly the Bedouin do with the money they receive.  But according to a Guardian article earlier this year, the beneficiaries of the human trafficking and weapons trafficking program are “Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.”  A separate AP report suggested that Sinai militants may use the money for cross-border attacks against Israel.

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How the Arab League roped 7 U.S. companies into their Israel boycott in 2012

November 17, 2012

The Arab League has imposed a formal economic boycott against Israel since 1948 to the present.  In 1977, Congress passed legislation prohibiting U.S. businesses from becoming instruments of foreign-led, non-U.S. boycotts such as the Arab League boycott of Israel.

Under the law, if an entity asks an American firm for assurance that it does no business with Israel, the U.S. company is supposed to report that request to the federal government.  The business is not supposed to comply with the request or furnish information to the requestor that would help the Arab League enforce its boycott.

The Bureau of Industry and Security’s Office of Antiboycott Compliance has settled with seven U.S. companies in 2012 for 44 alleged violations of antiboycott regulations this year:

  • Parfums de Ceour, a Connecticut-based discount perfume seller, furnished information three times to the United Arab Emirates, and failed to report six requests it received from the UAE, to assist with the boycott.
  • The Miami branch of Banco Sabadell provided boycott-related information twice to Syria.
  • Samuel Shapiro & Co., a trade logistics company in Maryland, made five failures to report requests from the UAE for boycott guarantees.
  • SteelSummit International, a New York steel producers, gave information four times to Saudi Arabia about whether it had business relationships with Israel.
  • Polk Audio, a speaker manufacturer in Maryland, failed to report a request from Oman and provided information to Oman.
  • Dover Energy’s Texas valve and switch maker, Norriseal, failed six times to report requests from Pakistan and four instances of cooperating with Pakistan’s requests for boycott assurances.
  • Grainger, the Illinois-based industrial supplier, failed to report 12 requests it received from Kuwait for boycott information.

The companies were required to pay over $100,000 total in civil penalties for the above violations this year.

A possible defense of the businesses is that requests from importers or banks from the Arab League states are deceptively designed to elicit the information they want without directly inquiring about business dealings with Israel.  Instead, they’ll request a signed statement confirming that a company’s ship can enter an Arab port, which is designed to weed out companies and shippers that have done business with Israel.

Nevertheless, U.S. antiboycott regulations have been on the books for over 40 years, and companies—particularly those doing business in the Middle East—should know that by now.

Hat tip and thanks to Twitter pal RushetteNY for suggesting coverage of antiboycott compliance.

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Egypt commandeers Jewish deeds?

November 11, 2012

First, the report from the Times of Israel:

Egyptian authorities reportedly seize 1.7 million documents proving Jewish ownership of assets in Cairo

Two tons of papers, about to be shipped to Israel, grabbed by police in what Egyptian media call ‘dangerous security breach’

Egyptian authorities confiscated some 1.7 million documents reportedly proving Jewish ownership of land and assets in Cairo. The documents were reportedly about to be shipped out of the country to Israel, in what the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram is calling “the most dangerous case of security breach in history.”

The documents were found in 13 large cases, ready to be transported to Jordan and from there to Israel, Egyptian media reported Sunday.

Elaph, a Saudi-owned news site, reported that Egyptian police received notice that the packages were being held at a shipping company in the Nasser City district of Cairo. Upon arriving at the scene, police found over 1.7 million documents dating back to the 19th century, dealing with Jewish ownership of assets in Cairo. The documents, according to the security source speaking to the Saudi site, weighed over two tons.

Preliminary investigations have revealed that the documents were supposed to be used in an Israeli lawsuit involving Jewish property lost in Egypt’s 1952 revolution, the site reported. According to Elaph, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi is personally following the case, which it said affects Egypt’s national security.

The documents were reportedly stolen on December 16, 2011, from a Cairo research institution, the Institut d’Égypte, during public riots that erupted following president Hosni Mubarak’s ouster.

According to Al-Ahram, an unnamed senior member of former Mubarak’s National Democratic Party (NDP) was involved in the efforts at smuggling the documents out of the country, in the service of a French-Jewish woman. Another man implicated by Al-Ahram is a Jewish Lebanese businessman named Robert Khalil Sarsaq, who also holds other nationalities. Elaph’s source claimed that the two are suspected of having ties with the Mossad.

The source noted that some of the documents, containing Jewish ownership deeds for banks, companies and real estate, date back to 1863. The documents are now being held by Egypt’s general prosecution.

Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon recently launched a campaign encouraging Jewish refugees from Arab states to come forward and present testimonials of the circumstances that led them to flee their countries of origin.

Egypt’s Jewish community numbered some 75,000 before the founding of Israel in 1948. By 1957, only several thousand Jews were left in the country; most of the others had fled under Arab pressure, according to contemporary accounts.

In 2009, the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu established a national advisory council to examine Jewish claims of lost property in Arab countries, but the council was moved from the Justice Ministry to the Pensioner Affairs Ministry, and did little to register property claims.

Now for the grain of salt.  The reliable Elder of Ziyon doubts the story, writing:

I asked a friend who is an expert in such matters whether this makes sense, and the respose was “It seems that the Egyptians are running scared about this whole Israeli campaign to recover Jewish assets. They are quite capable of framing a woman in order to try and scare off any Jews who might want to take the law into their own hands. And it’s a warning to any Egyptian who might be thinking of helping Israel gather information!”

The story seems fishy to me as well. It seems that if you wanted to smuggle papers from Egypt to Israel, Jordan would not be the preferred route – a European country would make a lot more sense. Chances are they found a lot of documents, a minority of which had something to do with Jews, and their imaginations took over from there.

Whether the particulars of the document transfer are accurate, larger problem of confiscated Jewish property by Islamic governments remains.  It occurred in Turkey, it happened in Iraq, and this case illustrates that the same thing happened in Egypt.

Israel is condemned by elites, leftists, the U.N., and Muslims for “stealing” Arab property, but when it comes to Jewish property, one can hear the crickets chirping.

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