Israeli Jailed for Holding Contacts With Militants Gets Early Parole

Fahima sentenced in 2005 to three years in prison after pleading guilty to a series of security violations.

Tali Fahima, who was convicted of aiding Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades militants, including the group's Jenin head Zakariya Zubeidi, was released Wednesday from Neve Tirzah Prison.

"I don't regret anything, and I will continue to work against the occupation and for peace," Fahima said following her release.

Fahima said, however, that she would not meet with Zubeidi due to the restrictions placed on her.

According to a statement released by Prisons Authority spokeswoman Orit Shtelzer, Fahima is "banned from leaving the country in the coming year, contacting a foreign agent or entering unauthorized territories," the statement read.

Roughly one hundred supporters waited for Fahima outside the prison, along with her attorney Smadar Ben-Natan. "I am very happy," said Ben-Natan. "I don't think she needed to sit [in prison] at all, obviously not for this long."

The Prisons Service parole board decided to release Fahima earlier Wednesday. Fahima served 26 months in jail, including over a year in administrative detention prior to her conviction, and was scheduled for release in November 2007.

Fahima plead guilty in December 2005 to maintaining contacts with a foreign agent with the intention of harming state security, and was sentenced to three years in prison.

She also plead guilty to passing information to the enemy, and to violating a legal order forbidding the entry of Israelis into Palestinian Authority-controlled territory.

In exchange, the state agreed not to object to the reduction of her sentence by one third due to good behavior.

The parole board was to have discussed her release three months ago, but the hearing was delayed after Fahima behaved in an unruly manner towards a prison guard.

Fahima was represented by attorneys Kenneth Mann and Ben-Natan. According to Ben-Natan, there have been no incidents in the past three months that would prevent Fahima's release.

In May 2004, Fahima violated an order of the Israel Defense Forces GOC Central Command and entered the Palestinian city of Jenin in the West Bank, where she met with Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades militants, including Zubeidi. She even declared her intention to act as a human shield for Zubeidi, who was wanted by security forces for terrorist activity.

During an IDF operation in Jenin that same month, a soldier lost top secret material with details of wanted Palestinian militants. Zubeidi's men got hold of the material and Fahima, who was allegedly in Zubeidi's house in Jenin at the time, read the material aloud, explaining what it said about capturing or killing the wanted men and the aerial photos showing the access routes to their homes.

Zubeidi allegedly ordered the wanted men to go into hiding, and the IDF troops failed to capture them. Fahima was also charged with violating a legal order by entering the territories after she had been released from custody. She was arrested while disguised as a local woman.

Fahima was originally charged with aiding an enemy in time of war, supporting a terrorist organization and possession of weapons, but those charges were dropped in the context of the plea arrangement.