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Former Israeli hostage sues US non-profit who employed ‘Hamas operative’ who held him captive

A former Israeli hostage freed last month in a daring Israel Defense Forces raid in Gaza is suing a US non-profit which employed his Hamas operative captor as a war correspondent, The Post has learned.

Almog Meir Jan, 22, filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Seattle federal court against People Media Project, a non-profit based in Olympia, WA.

The organization runs a pro-Palestinian news website and had frequently published the work of Abdullah Aljamal, a Gaza-based journalist and former spokesman for the terrorist organization. He began writing articles for the website in May 2019, according to court filings.

Abdullah Aljamal, a Gaza-based journalist and spokesman for Hamas, was holding three Israelis captive at his family home in Gaza. He worked for a US non-profit that published a pro-Palestinian news web site. X / @PalestineChron

“It is indisputable that defendants provided Hamas operative Aljamal, whose connections to Hamas were publicly known, with a US-based and taxpayer subsidized platform to publish Hamas propaganda and to pass the material off as independent journalism,” the lawsuit says.

“Moreover, the compensation defendants paid Hamas operative Aljamal for his propaganda directly enabled him to imprison plaintiff in his home.”

Jan was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7 last year while he attended the Nova Music Festival. He was held hostage for 246 days, along with Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 41, at Aljamal family’s home in Nuseirat, according to the Israeli Defense Forces.

Jan claimed he was “abused and mistreated” by his captors, according to legal papers.

Aljamal, who wrote articles for the website lamenting the evils of war and had also worked as a spokesman for the Hamas Ministry of Labor, continued to have his work published by the Palestine Chronicle until just before the June 8 rescue operation.

He and his family were killed during the raid, according to reports.

Former hostage Almog Meir Jan, shortly after being rescued. REUTERS
Almog Meir Jan was kidnapped at the Nova Music Festival on Oct. 7 and held for 246 days in Gaza. via REUTERS

Hours after the hostage rescue, the website tried to distance itself from Aljamal, changing his status from “correspondent” to “freelance contributor.”

US entities which knowingly provide material support to terrorist organizations could be in violation of terrorism laws and subject to criminal penalties. Hamas was designated a terrorist organization by the US Department of State in 1997, ten years before it seized power in Gaza.

Israeli soldiers released body cam footage of hostages being held at journalist Abdullah Aljamal’s home in Gaza. X / @Israel

Two board members of the non-profit are also named as defendants in the lawsuit. Ramzy Baroud, editor-in-chief of the Palestine Chronicle, is also a non-resident scholar at the University of California Santa Barbara’s Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies and a Senior Research fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA).

CIGA hosted a conference in 2021 that was sponsored in part by Hamas and is directed by Sami Al-Arian, who has been convicted of terrorism-related crimes and deported from the US.

John Harvey, who describes himself as a Buddhist priest and is also on the board of the group, is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit. He incorporated the People Media Company in 1999, according to public records.

Abdallah Aljamal’s profile at the Palestine Chronicle originally listed him as a correspondent. @ JordanSchachtel/ X
Hours after a June raid that freed three hostages in Gaza, the Palestine Chronicle downgraded Abdallah Aljamal’s status from “correspondent” to “contributor.” The hostages were being held in his family home in Nuseirat. @ JordanSchachtel/ X

In 2007, he began a campaign to designate Rafah in Gaza as a sister city to Olympia, WA, where he is based, according to the lawsuit. The idea has been rejected by local officials in Washington numerous times.

Neither Harvey nor Baroud returned The Post’s requests for comment Tuesday.

More than 200 Israelis were kidnapped and 1,200 died in the unprecedented Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

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