Sources: Evidence on Bishara Case Sufficient for Indictment

Sources say former Balad MK cannot refute Shin Bet's proof; Bishara rejects accusations, says are 'trumped up.'

The police and Shin Bet have sufficient evidence to indict former MK Azmi Bishara for crimes such as contact with the enemy, say sources who have seen the evidence in recent weeks.

The sources say it will be very difficult for Bishara to refute the evidence, even if he appears in person to participate in police interviews.

In an interview with a Lebanese daily on Thursday, Bishara rejected the accusations and called them "trumped up."

Most of the allegations involve contact with Hezbollah intelligence agencies, which the police and the Shin Bet say were responsible for collecting intelligence on Israel during the Second Lebanon War.

The bulk of the evidence is based on wire taps of Bishara's telephone conversations with Hezbollah agents. These recordings were authorized by the Supreme Court.

The evidence also suggests that Bishara assisted Hezbollah in broadening the impact of its attacks on Israel by helping direct its rocket barrages and offering recommendations on how to carry out psychological warfare against Israelis. Bishara is also suspected of transferring to Hezbollah military information, but the military censor has imposed a gag order on that information.

In addition to the evidence suggesting that Bishara's activities were tantamount to treason, investigators are working on an angle involving financial violations.

The investigators are trying to connect evidence to suspicions that Bishara violated the law forbidding the funding of terrorism. The evidence is based on the testimony of a family of Jerusalem-based money changers who say they have delivered hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash to Bishara's home in Beit Hanina. The funds have also not been declared to the tax authorities as required by law.

The investigators have so far been unable to trace the money and are not sure whether Bishara kept the funds or distributed them to other organizations. The police are considering initiating an investigation in a number of countries where the funds are known to have originated or passed through.

Meanwhile, in an interview with the Lebanese daily Al-Ahbar published in Beirut on Thursday, Bishara said "the aim motivating the accusations is to transform [me] from a political leader and an intellectual into an informer who passes information."

Bishara also said the information in question was available to the press during the war.

"They want to transform the political and cultural leadership of the internal Palestinians [those in Israel] to security operatives, to people who work for the Islamic movements or the resistance, so that no one from the east to the west will believe that there are democrats among the Arabs," Bishara said.

Regarding the allegations of financial misdeeds, Bishara said "there is no evidence. They did not present any evidence ... and if the money were contributions to Balad [his party] or the national movements or its institutions, we would have transferred it [to them], but not in this manner."

Not wishing to be left out of the fracas surrounding Bishara, Hezbollah on Thursday announced it was willing to grant the former MK political asylum.

"If Bishara decides to seek refuge with us, we will tell him 'welcome,'" said Ahmad Mali, a member of the group's political bureau, to the daily Al-Arab.