According to a recent report, Muhammad Qassem Sawalha, One of the Hamas’s ruling body, currently resides in a council property located in a North London borough. Interestingly, this borough is home to a significant portion of the UK’s Jewish community. Sawalha managed to evade Israel’s security services by using a relative’s passport and fled to the UK in the 1990s. He later obtained British citizenship.
In the United Kingdom, Sawalha maintained his involvement with Hamas, engaging in covert negotiations aimed at reinvigorating terrorist operations within Israel. Additionally, he was implicated in the facilitation of money laundering activities to finance operations in the West Bank and Gaza. These allegations were outlined in a 2004 indictment issued by the United States Department of Justice.
In the year 2003, a man with four children became a council tenant of a two-storey house in Colindale, located in the north London borough of Barnet. The house comes with a garage and a garden, and he currently resides there with his wife, who is 56 years old. It is worth noting that the borough of Barnet has the highest Jewish population in Britain, with a total of 56,616 Jews, according to the Office for National Statistics.
In June 2021, Sawalha and his spouse exercised their Right to Buy entitlement and acquired their residence for £320,700, receiving a discount of £112,300 from the council. This discount was £500 less than the maximum discount available for that fiscal year. Notably, they do not have any outstanding mortgage on the property. It is worth mentioning that the Right to Buy scheme enables council tenants to obtain a discount on the market value of a property, and as per Land Registry data, the average price of a home in the region is almost £600,000.
The leader of the council, Barry Rawlings, expressed his dismay at the possibility of Sawalha residing in their community and announced the initiation of a comprehensive review. He further added that the council will collaborate with relevant stakeholders such as the police and the government to examine the complete history of the case and undertake necessary measures.