Hatem Fariz: Convicted PIJ Terrorist Tours Israel With Impunity For The Third Time In Six Months
Why Is He Being Allowed Into The Jewish State He Wants To Destroy?
Florida Islamic Jihad at the Dead Sea
Convicted terrorist Hatem Fariz and companion travel the scenic routes of the Jewish state.
Mon May 30, 2022
Joe Kaufman is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and the Chairman of the Joe Kaufman Security Initiative. He was the 2014, 2016 and 2018 Republican Nominee for U.S. House of Representatives (Florida-CD23).
Hatem Fariz's trips to Israel seem to be becoming more frequent. He was just there in March, and now he is back, only two months later. This time, he is on tour with New Orleans resident and fellow ex-convict Ahmad Hindi. But regardless of who he is with, what is important to understand is that Fariz, a man who went to prison for providing material support to Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), is traveling through Israel, the nation whose Jewish citizens PIJ targets with death, via such repulsive acts as rocket attacks and suicide bombings. No doubt, given his background, Fariz should be banned from entering Israel and arrested upon doing so.
In February 2003, the FBI announced the arrests of four individuals whom the law enforcement agency described as being members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a group recognized by the US government as being a terrorist organization. One of the individuals was Tampa-area resident Hatem Naji Fariz, a then-manager of a medical clinic. After a lengthy trial, Fariz pled guilty to providing material support to PIJ. Following his jail sentence, Fariz became managing director of Al-Qassam, the mosque founded by his PIJ co-defendant, Sami al-Arian, and named after one of the main inspirations for PIJ, deceased Palestinian militant icon, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam.
On May 5th, Fariz arrived in the Ramallah town of Turmus Ayya. Less than a week later, he showed up with a group of people in the Golan Heights, or as he put it, "the occupied Golan." One of those accompanying Fariz was Ramallah resident, Ziad Arori. In January 2014, Arori posted a photo of Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin holding hands with then-PLO leader Yasser Arafat with the caption, "May God have mercy on the leaders. How much the homeland misses you." In July 2014, Arori wrote, "[W]e bleed one, we are one, we have one goal, and the sons of Hamas are our brothers, and resistance is a crown on the heads of all bidders and climbers."
On May 13th, Fariz visited the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and then Jaffa/Yafo in Tel Aviv, both with Ahmad Hindi, a New Orleans, Louisiana resident connected to family-run New Orleans convenience stores. In October 2001, Hindi along with his older siblings and others received prison sentences for underreporting massive amounts of income from the stores and shipping the missing income to family in Ramallah in the form of checks made to cash.
The following week, on May 20th, Fariz and Hindi were back at Al-Aqsa and then headed for Bethlehem. The two then visited central Israel's Bet Guvrin National Park and then headed south to Beersheba in the Negev desert and finally east to the Dead Sea, taking photos and videos at every stop.
Minus the association with a bloodthirsty terrorist organization that has a mission of destroying Israel and its Jewish population, Fariz and Hindi would appear merely as tourists innocently trekking through the Holy Land. However, this violent association is 100% real and, therefore, cannot and should not be overlooked.
Unfortunately, this scenario of Fariz entering Israel keeps playing itself out, and it is now happening on a more frequent basis. As mentioned, Fariz just traveled to Israel this past March – two months ago – and before that, four months prior in November. That is three times in roughly a half-year, and this should raise big red flags.
The people Fariz surrounds himself with on these trips are, too, threats to Israel. One (March 2022 trip), Louisiana resident Abo Rajaie, in May 2021, posted video footage on social media of Israeli soldiers being blown up by an IED, following an ambush, with a note from Rajaie, stating "Allah, grant victory to your religion, and let us cut out their throats." Another (November 2021 trip), Chicago dentist Magdi Ibrahim, wrote on Facebook, in April 2012, "Allah, take revenge on the Jews." Yet another (November 2021 trip), Fariz's brother Hazem, in July 2014, posted on Facebook a picture of masked PIJ militants praying, referring to them as "Gaza heroes."
Subsequent to his imprisonment, Fariz has been coming to Israel since late 2017. Part of these excursions have been to visit PIJ landmarks. During a February 2020 trip to Israel, Fariz visited the shrine of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam and sat by the gravesite of Fariz's deceased alleged PIJ co-conspirator, Sameeh Hammoudeh. These visits took place respectively two and three days after PIJ reportedly attacked Israel with over 100 rockets, attacks that coincided with a rare spell when Fariz stopped posting on his social media.
Tourism is extremely important to Israel but not so important as to allow a convicted member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, who is obviously still beholden to his PIJ past, onto Israeli shores. And the same goes for his similarly radical associates. The potential dangers posed by such trips are immense, especially given Fariz and his cronies' virulent hatred of Israel and, of course, his terrorist history.
Israel, which is known for its security prowess, needs to close what looks to be a loophole that is allowing Fariz to enter the country and end Fariz's tours immediately. He must not be permitted in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the Golan, the Dead Sea, or anywhere on Israeli soil. In the event he tries to come back, he needs to be interrogated and deported on the grounds that he poses a grave security threat.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.