Israeli activist who helped Palestinian militant is freed

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The Independent Online

Tali Fahima, an Israeli peace activist, has been freed on parole after serving two-thirds of her three-year jail sentence for aiding Zakaria Zubeidi, one of the most wanted gunmen in the West Bank.

As a condition for her early release, the 30-year-old Tel Aviv office worker was barred from travelling abroad for a year, contacting enemies of the state or visiting the Palestinian territories. She emerged defiant from Neve Tirtzah women's prison yesterday and told family and supporters: "I don't regret anything. I will continue to work against the occupation and for peace."

Fahima has always denied involvement in violence but said in 2004 that she was ready to serve as a human shield for Zubeidi, the target of three failed Israeli assassination attempts. She contacted him after talking to Arabs on the internet and was arrested after a clandestine meeting in Jenin.

After a year in custody, she pleaded guilty in December 2005 when more serious charges were dropped.

There was outrage in Israel when it was revealed that a Jewish woman had befriended the commander of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade in the Jenin refugee camp, a man accused of planning suicide bombings. Like many descendants of north African immigrants, she and her single-parent mother had always voted for the right-wing Likud party. She had also seen military service.

"I was brought up to consider Arabs as something that should not be here," she told Ha'ir, a Tel-Aviv weekly paper. "One day I understood there were many gaps in my information, things that are not in the media. I realised that it's about human beings, and that we have to take responsibility for the way their life looks."

* A Peruvian photographer, Jaime Razuri, 50, was kidnapped yesterday by Pales-tinian militants in Gaza.