1. Hamas operative Dr. Abdul Aziz Umar, who was given seven life sentences for taking part in the Café Hillel suicide bombing attack in Jerusalem and released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap, was recently sent to South Africa. The purpose of his visit was to use his life story to promote the propaganda campaign for the Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ) and the so-called Israeli Apartheid Week held in South Africa. Hamas is involved in the organization and propaganda preparation for the marches (two major Hamas activists in Britain, Muhammad Sawalha and Zaher al-Birawi, are taking part in the preparations).
2. As part of his propaganda activity in South Africa, Abdul Aziz Umar issued an urgent call to "liberate” Jerusalem and the entire territory of "Palestine”. He also used his stay in South Africa to promote the Palestinian campaign for the liberation of terrorists held in Israeli jails, portraying them as "political prisoners”. In interviews given to the media, Abdul Aziz Umar presented himself as an intellectual persecuted by Israel for his opinions, and did not mention his own involvement in the Café Hillel suicide bombing attack in Jerusalem for which he had been given seven life sentences.
3. Abdul Aziz Umar came to Africa as the guest of two major South African organizations known for their anti-Israeli activity in the delegitimization campaign: Al-Quds Foundation of South Africa and the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC).1 Both are anti-Israeli Islamic organizations operating in South Africa. One of them (MJC) belongs to the Union of Good, outlawed in the United States and in Israel. In May-June 2011, the leaders of these organizations sent a convoy to the Gaza Strip in coordination with Hamas and the IHH (see Appendix III for details).
A profile of Abdul Aziz Umar and his involvement in the Café Hillel suicide bombing attack
4. Abdul Aziz Muhammad Mussa Umar, born 1960, father of eight, is a resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shoefat. He became blind at the age of twenty. He has a bachelor’s degree from Bir Zeit University in Ramallah, and a PhD in English literature from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Dr. Abdul Aziz Muhammad Mussa Umar
5. To the best of our information, already in the 1990s Abdul Aziz Umar assisted terrorists who carried out attacks as part of Hamas’ terrorist campaign, intended to derail the Oslo Accords. In 2003, during the second intifada, Abdul Aziz Umar was one of the operatives in the East Jerusalem Hamas network that dispatched a suicide bomber squad to carry out the suicide bombing attack at Café Hillel in Jerusalem (September 9, 2003). Abdul Aziz Umar took part in preparations for the attack: he had put his father’s house in Anata refugee camp at the disposal of the perpetrators, who used it to equip the suicide bomber with an explosive belt (see Appendix I for details on how the suicide bomber was prepared for the terrorist attack, as they appeared in the judgment and verdict against Abdul Aziz Umar).
6. The terrorist attack at Café Hillel was carried out on September 9, 2003 by the Hamas infrastructure in East Jerusalem, and orchestrated by the Hamas headquarters in Ramallah. The perpetrator of the attack was Ramez Fahmi Izz al-Din Abu Salim, a suicide bomber from the village of Rantis, who blew himself up at the entrance of the café. Seven people were killed and nearly 70 were wounded in the attack (see Appendix II for details on the victims).
The scene of the attack (Filastin al-Muslimah, October 2003)
7. Abdul Aziz Umar was convicted on seven counts of murder. On January 19, 2006 he was given seven life sentences, as well as 30 years in prison for his part in the Café Hillel suicide bombing attack (see Appendix I for details). In October 2011 he was released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap with many other terrorists involved in lethal terrorist attacks. After his release he was deported to the Gaza Strip, where he still resides (it is probably from the Gaza Strip that he was sent by Hamas on his publicity mission in South Africa).
Dr. Abdul Aziz Umar’s publicity work in South Africa
8. Dr. Abdul Aziz Umar arrived in Cape Town on March 5, 2012. During his stay there he engaged in anti-Israeli propaganda which included lectures in various forums (at local mosques) and media interviews. One such interview was given to Voice of the Cape Radio.
Dr. Abdul Aziz Muhammad Mussa Umar interviewed in Cape Town
(Voice of the Cape, March 5, 2012)
9. During his visit to South Africa, Abdul Aziz Umar was portrayed as a "Palestinian political prisoner”, an intellectual and academician, who was victim to Israeli torture and persecution. To lend more credence to his false message, he gave a misleading story about the grounds for his arrest in an interview to Voice of the Cape (March 5, 2012). He did not mention his involvement in the Café Hillel suicide bombing attack, preferring instead to portray himself as an innocent victim arrested by Israel for spreading his ideas and academic work. The following is his version of the reason why he was arrested, as it was described in the Voice of the Cape interview on March 5, 2012:
"Some months after my imprisonment, I was convicted and given four life sentences2 and another 30 years. The charge was that I was spreading ‘new and strange ideas’ in my intellectual and academic works.” But despite these challenges, Umar did not abandon his search for knowledge. He dedicated himself to teaching prisoners the English and Arabic languages, in addition to conducting different symposia and seminars while incarcerated.
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2 Abdul Aziz Umar was given seven life sentences and another 30 years in prison. The verdict stated that four of the life sentences would run consecutively, and the other sentences would be concurrent (see Appendix I).