The Jerusalem District Court on Wednesday convicted three residents of east Jerusalem of affiliation with Hamas and laundering money for a terror organization.
Yacoub Abu Asab, Kifah Sarhan and Ahmad Alian, all Israeli citizens, were convicted of heading Hamas' efforts to expand its foothold in Jerusalem by catering to the city's Muslims in the fields of education, welfare and religious services.
According to the indictment, the three served as heads of the Hamas advisory council in east Jerusalem. Asab headed the operation while Sarhan and Alian served as his assistants.
Sarhan was in charge of raising funds for Hamas' operations in the city, and according to the indictment he used his connections with the city's Arab merchants to transfer money to and from Jordan.
The court found that while a substantial part of the funds went to charity and welfare organizations promoted by the advisory council, the council's main purpose was to spread Hamas ideology, and it was known that charity organizations were a key component in Hamas' Dawah (proselytizing) system in the West Bank.
"Hamas promotes a vast array of seemingly humanitarian services meant to make the local population dependent on it ... Hamas 'charitable organizations' aim to spread its terror ideology and expand its support base," Judge Amnon Cohen wrote in his ruling.
"The multitude of evidence presented by the prosecution clearly indicates that this activity was organized and hierarchical, and that it was supervised by the defendants ... This mechanism included dozens of operatives, various institutions, summer camps, religious classes and various other meetings that were held on a regular basis."
A fourth defendant, Ashraf A'ashur, struck a plea bargain with the state and was convicted of a lesser offense of laundering money for a terror organization.
The four men are yet to be sentenced.