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The Strange Case of Israel’s Mr. X, the Prisoner With No Name

This Yediot story about a prisoner with no name disappeared from the site likely as a result of a secret gag order

the man with no name
When I first started writing about the Anat Kamm case it felt like a cross between Kafka’s The Trial, a carnival Hall of Mirrors, and Chelm.  Now comes a story possibly even stranger.

Earlier today, Yediot Achronot published a story about a Mr. X imprisoned in an Israeli jail.  The man was in solitary confinement.  His jailers did not know who he was, did not share a word with him, no one came to visit him.  No one seemed to know he was there.  They didn’t even know what crime he had committed or how he came to be in the prison.  His prison cell was completely isolated from other prisoners and he couldn’t communicate in any way with them.  He was a complete mystery.  How is this possible in the Only Democracy in the Middle East?

“He is in absolute isolation from the external world,” said a source in the prison service.  “I’m not aware of any other prisoner held in such grave conditions of isolation.  In Unit 15 [where he is held], everything concerning him is secret. There are too many secrets concerning him.  What frightens is that a man can be imprisoned in Israel in 2010 and no one knows anything about him.  The man simply has no name and no identity.  We don’t even know if he has rights accorded to all other prisoners in the prison system.”

The reporter asked the service who the man was and they refused to answer.  The spokesperson would only say that his agency does not provide any information about prisoners for security reasons.  Which would seem to imply that his case is related to national security.  At the popular Israeli news forum, Rotter, some speculate that he may be a spy.

To indicate the severity of the unidentified prisoner’s offenses the cell and unit in which he is currently held was built specifically for Yigal Amir, the assassin of Israel’s prime minister.  Amir was removed to another prison.  But unlike Amir, whose family visited him regularly in this cell, Mr. X sees no one and no one sees him.

Sometime after I read this story I noticed it had disappeared from the Yediot website, which is why I offer a screenshot from Yahoo! cache.  This can mean only one thing, that the Israel censor demanded that the story be yanked.  Which only deepens the mystery.  Clearly, this individual committed (or let’s say, was convicted of committing) some security related offense, and probably a grave one.  But for the prison service not even to know who they’re guarding or even have heard a rumor about his identity seems exceedingly strange.

A commenter named Haggai below reports:

Rumours from a good source say this is a Mosad agent, suspected of espionage, and allowed to see no one but other Mosad agents.

That would sound about right. But can one imprison a Mossad agent without trial and without the world knowing the man is imprisoned? Can he simply disappear off the face of the earth like this?

Yossi Gurvitz speculates (Hebrew)  that what happened was that when the article was presented to the IDF censor, it was approved since it did not pose an imminent danger to national security (the only grounds for imposing such censorship).  But after publication, an intelligence agency (he speculates military intelligence) went to court and secured a gag order prohibiting publication, which explains the article’s removal.  It would, of course, be embarrassing to whichever agency helped put this man behind bars for the public to know what it had done.  Better not only to erase any trace of the man’s name or identity, but the article about him as well.  What a country!

Israel’s supporters like to claim it is the Only Democracy in the Middle East.  But Israel is really a national security state in which the normal rules of democracy can be suspended seemingly at will once the dreaded phrases “terror” or “national security” are invoked.  Mr. X is Exhibit A proving my point.

Thanks to Didi Remez for translating the entire Yediot article into English.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Haggai June 13, 2010, 10:51 PM

    Rumours from a good source say this is a Mosad agent, suspected of espionage, and allowed to see no one but other Mosad agents.

  • Tal yaron June 13, 2010, 11:22 PM

    Hello Richard

    I will be pleased to participate in further exposure of the affair. But unfortunately, I do not like the spirit of things here. There is no doubt that Israel is a kind of defensive democracy. There is no doubt that we, the liberal-Democrat in Israel should act to increase the spirit of democracy. But I do think that negative criticism, will help strengthen the Israeli democracy. Bad criticism will only make the Israeli public more deffensive.

    Spirit of things I see here on the blog, is a spirit of hatred towards Israel. Constant condemnation, nor the desire to repair the world. We fix the world by love, no by hate.

    I’d be happy to cooperate, if the dialog will be in spirit of respect, rather than dismantling and destruction.

    • Richard Silverstein June 14, 2010, 1:00 AM

      Oh, you mean the kind of love Israel showers on Palestinians? Is that the kind of love you expect me to share with Bibi?

      • Tal yaron June 14, 2010, 1:06 AM

        I am talking about the love that every-body needs in order to grow. If we want to Letaken-Olam than I think we should change the attitude.

        If we will go to hatred as a way to Letaken-Olam, we will have an endless story of terror and hate.

        As Mahatma Gandhi sayed “An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind.”

        • Kalea June 14, 2010, 7:00 AM

          Stop abusing Gandhi’s memory for your propaganda b.s.!

          Gandhi saw right through Zionism and was very critical of it for good reason!

          Individuals who commit crimes against humanity and human rights abuses don’t deserve a HUG TODAY or any day or your ridiculous touch-feely sympathy!

          You see the three little girls in the picture below?

          http://www.alquds.com/node/265720

          The IDF brutally murdered their father on Friday and fabricated a story to justify his murder!

          So please spare us your sanctimonious horse#%&t!

          • Alice W June 14, 2010, 11:12 PM

            Somebody talks about constructive dialog. He is accused for being a propagandist. Weird.

          • uncle joe mccarthy June 15, 2010, 1:54 AM

            gahndi also thought all the jews in the holocaust should have committed suicide first

            you are right…a jew should never quote gahndi

          • Richard Silverstein June 15, 2010, 11:43 AM

            I don’t agree with anything you wrote above. Of course, Jews should quote Gandhi & grapple w. his philosophy even if they don’t or can’t fully embrace it. He’s one of the great thinkers of the 20th century or any century.

        • mary June 14, 2010, 7:05 AM

          Israel answers peaceful protests with live ammunition. It conducts night raids of Palestinians homes and carries away children in the night. It breaks their hands and arms in retaliation for throwing stones.

          I personally know at least one Palestinian who was tortured by the Shin Bet, his injuries requiring surgery to repair.

          I find singing “Kumbayah” in this case to be inappropriate.

          • Tal yaron June 14, 2010, 7:31 AM

            Mary and Kalea,

            In order to judge properly the situation, one has to know the truth. I feel that yo came with very strong feeling that you know the truth, and this will not help us to find the right solution.

            You mentioned only the dids of the Israeli side, but didn’t mentioned the Palestinians wrong doings.

            From the beginning of the conflict Arabs and Palestinians resorted to violence, whereas the Jews to diplomatic measures. From 1921 the Palestinians killed in protests 47 civilians. in 1929 they attacked unarmed Jews and killed 113 of them. In 1948, Israel approved the UN regulation and the Palestinians and Arabs states defy the resolution and attacked Israel. Israel was victorious, fighting against Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and the Palestinians.

            In the second Intifada after Israel let the PLO enter into Israel due to Oslo agreements, the Palestinians started with suicide bombing, killing more then a thousand Israelis. They intentionally killed women, child and elderly people. This Is the Palestinians we had to fight. Sorry for not being very nice. When People send childes to suicide, then we have a problem.

            We may not be the most humanitarian people on earth (Who is?), but The Palestinians are neither the most merciful of them all.

            When you blame Israel, please remember the role of the Palestinans in the conflict.

            “Do not Judge others, if you didn’t stand in their place” (Avot B, Hillel the old)

          • Richard Silverstein June 14, 2010, 9:17 PM

            I feel that yo came with very strong feeling that you know the truth, and this will not help us to find the right solution.

            THis is simply lame. There is nothing wrong w. having a strong conviction about what is right or moral in a certain political situation. I’m sorry but I don’t see that we have to sit down and powpow w our political enemies. I don’t want to show Bibi w. hugs.

            That being said, there ARE elements within the political center & right, there are those living in settlements w. whom we should discuss and debate. As long as they respect us & our views. But these possibilities are constrained by the hate the right bears for the left.

            but didn’t mentioned the Palestinians wrong doings.

            Lame-o. I can’t believe we have a putative progressive Gandhian hasbarist. That’s a mouthful!

            This Is the Palestinians we had to fight.

            So here’s the deal w. Tal. When it comes to Israel, we have to show Gandhian infinite love. When it come to Palestinians, we have to fight. You can’t really be for real, can you?

            We may not be the most humanitarian people on earth

            That’s the understatement of the yr.!

            “Do not Judge others, if you didn’t stand in their place”

            Don’t defile Hillel w. such atrocious distortion of his meaning & purpose. The world WILL stand in judgment of Israel. To suggest that we have no right to do so is a bankrupt moral viewpt.

          • mary June 14, 2010, 7:36 AM

            Spare me the history lesson. I know it as well as anyone else. None of the bloodshed would ever have happened had there not been 62 years of occupation, land theft and oppression of the Palestinians. When you create a few million refugees, stealing their homes, bulldozing their houses, walling them up into ghettos, what do you expect the reaction to be? Flowers and candy?

            Under international law, the occupied have the right to resist, including armed resistance.

            That is all I’m going to say about it on this thread, out of respect for Richard’s comment rules.

          • Kalea June 14, 2010, 7:39 AM

            Tal Yaron:

            “From the beginning of the conflict Arabs and Palestinians resorted to violence, whereas the Jews to diplomatic measures.”

            Reeeeally? Does Irgun, Lehi and Haganah ring a bell? Palestinians fled from their land and left all their worldly possessions behind because of the Jews’ “diplomatic measures”, huh?

            Your reply is total hasbara. I won’t waste my time further on that!

          • Richard Silverstein June 14, 2010, 9:19 PM

            Thanks for reminding us of the Nakba. 700,000 lost their homes due to a State of Israel which resorted solely to “diplomatic measures.” Right??

          • Shai June 15, 2010, 2:27 AM

            You will not permit use of the terms Judea and Samaria, yet you use the term “Nakba”??

          • Elisabeth June 16, 2010, 3:39 AM

            What’s wrong with using the term ‘Nakba’?

          • mary June 17, 2010, 6:48 AM

            Especially when we are told to remember the holocaust.

          • Tal Yaron June 17, 2010, 1:42 PM

            Thanks Mary :-)

            We have to remember also, that the satyagraha was used against a democracy (Britian). I am not sure it can work against tairny like the Nazi-Germani, and against heavy propoganda, as Gandhi thought.

          • mary June 17, 2010, 1:56 PM

            The reason I posted it was that last night I happened to be taking part in a discussion on Gandhi. There is controversy surrounding whether he had actually espoused nonviolence as a philosophy, or whether it was one of many tactics to be used in resistance (including violence) depending upon the situation. It’s a complex subject, but from all the materials I’ve looked at, it seems Gandhi has been made by the west into pacifism’s poster boy, whereas in the east there is a more complex view of him.

            I’m not a pacifist, and especially in the case of Israel and Palestine I cannot imagine the Palestinians waging a successful pacifist movement against Zionist tyranny in its many forms. Israel is infamous for its use of disproportionate force.

          • Elisabeth June 17, 2010, 2:26 PM

            But I think nothing has been more detrimental to the Palestinian cause than use of violence! (I also have objections to in on principle, by the way.)

            As the Palestinians have no army, they have taken recourse to the hijacking of airplanes and suicide bombings and so on. This may have given them the satisfaction of not always being on the receiving end, but it is exactly this strategy that has turned Western public opinion (which is crucial, as annoying as that may be) against them.

            There has been no greater cause for the unwillingness to acknowledge the suffering of the Palestinians than this image of them as ruthless people who randomly target civilians.

            It has also pushed all the wrong buttons in the Israeli population, which is for one part traumatized by the Holocaust, and for another part taught to be traumatized by the Holocaust by the school system.

            The hippies in the 60′s and 70′s would have happily embraced their cause, and BDS would long have been in place of things had been played differently. Of course this would have needed a considerable skill in playing the Western media on the Palestinian side, which was probably not present at the time. But I still often mourn the lost opportunity that such a course of action could have provided.

          • mary June 17, 2010, 3:17 PM

            As those not living under occupation, we have no right to tell the Palestinians how to resist. Shaking our fingers in their faces and lecturing them about nonviolence is patronizing and carries the strong odor of colonialist and racist thinking.

            Instead of criticizing the Palestinian resistance, the onus should be placed on the Israelis, whose 62 years of belligerent occupation are the wellspring from which all the violence comes.

          • amir June 17, 2010, 8:17 PM

            [comment deleted for violation of comment rules]

          • Elisabeth June 18, 2010, 10:52 AM

            Well Mary,
            It seems that my comment on how the adoption of violent strategies by the Palestinians harmed their cause upset you, as I would not have expected you to accuse me of having ideas that smell of racism and colonialism.
            But just think of what I was trying to say: Munich, the hijacking that ended in Entebbe, the Achille Lauro (where a man in wheelchair was pushed overboard) … These things gave the Palestinians a terrible name.
            And they already had to fight against a sympathy that was overwhelmingly with the new Jewish state (we all know why, no need to go over that again). It made people in the west deaf to the suffering of the Palestinians. My mother was already very upset at that time about what was happening to the Palestinians, but she told me it was impossible to even raise the subject: The word ‘Palestinian’ alone was enough to make people turn away.
            What if instead, in those years, Israeli Palestinians had flocked to the Israeli parliament building day after day, for moths on end, sitting down in non-violent protest, chaining themselves to the gates or whatever, demanding the return of their many family member that had been thrown out of their towns and villages living in exile (in other countries or in Israel itself)? Don’t you think that would have had a more effective impact on world opinion in the end?
            And I do think the Israeli reaction would have been very violent, as the protests continued, but non-violence is not a strategy for weak people, as Gandhi already acknowledged. I also think that a considerable part of the Israeli public would have rallied to their cause.
            Advocating non-violent resistance is more than waving a moralistic finger at opressed people: The thing is that in certain circumstances it can be more effective too.

          • mary June 18, 2010, 11:01 AM

            Elisabeth, my comment was not directed at you specifically, and I apologize if my wording was not specific. I would hope that you would know me better than to think I would ever attack you personally or any other way.

            I was not by any means saying that I do not advocate non-violent resistance; I was saying simply what I stated, that it is up to the Palestinians to determine their best course of action, and whatever they decide, I support them wholeheartedly.

          • Elisabeth June 18, 2010, 11:42 AM

            I am glad that is out of the way then. (As I said, I was already surprised, but as your comment came in shortly after I posted mine, I assumed it was directed at me.)

            However, I cannot join you in supporting ANY course of action taken by the Palestinians. I explained why (and I think my arguments are valid). I still insist that violent action is counterproductive (and not my moral choice either but that is a personal matter). I think the Israeli government knows this too: I read recently that they complained that the lack of terror attacks had caused public sympathy to turn away from the Israeli side.
            I also remember reading in “The other Israel” about 10 years ago about a Palestinian man who had set up a study centre for non-violent tactics, and a mobile library in order to spread the ideas of Gandhi and others among the Palestinians population. The Israeli reaction was telling: His building was ransacked, computers were smashed, his books were torn up, and soldiers shat on his tables and scribbled insults to Arabs on the walls. See also how Hamas was encouraged, but organizers of non-violent action exiled. Non-violent action scares the Israeli policy makers more than anything. That should tell us something!

          • mary June 19, 2010, 5:44 PM

            By all means, read Max Ajl’s excellent piece published on Mondoweiss: http://mondoweiss.net/2010/06/our-western-privilege-is-the-legacy-of-historical-violence.html

            Max is a Jew living in Gaza. He has a lot to say about passive resistance. This young man is a brilliant writer.

          • Tal Yaron June 17, 2010, 10:35 PM

            Mary,

            I do agree that Gandhi was not a pacifist. The center of his struggle method, may be inferred from the name he gave to this method: Satyagraha

            Satyagraha is a synthesis of the Sanskrit words satya (meaning “truth”) and Agraha (“insistence”, or “holding firmly to”).

            You can further read about it at wikipedia.

            When I red his book about South-Africa, I was amassed of the power it gave to the Indian struggle. It was based on democracy (He raised an Indian parliament), and he adhered to the truth that all man should be treated equally. Even when he was insulted publicly, he restrained his anger and used his words to adhere to that truth, and cunvince the Brithish people that they are doing an eveil dids. It was very powerful tool in a democracy. I think it can not work in a tyranny.

            And as I said before, if needed he could advise his people to go to war with the British in order to win the struggle.

            P.S.
            Israel is not a tyranny by any standard. If we want to go with Gandhi way, we should stick to the truth. Israel is using disproportionate force, as you said. With that I agree.

          • Elisabeth June 17, 2010, 11:47 PM

            There is a paper by a Ralph Summy:

            Nonviolence and the case of the extremely ruthless opponent

            With the following abstract:
            A common criticism of nonviolent action is its ineffectiveness against an extremely ruthless ruler. In this article I attempt to examine critically, both in terms of a theory of power and the empirical evidence, this standard view of nonviolence’s limitation. Are the critics, it is asked, posing the right question in assessing whether or not nonviolence ‘works’? If not, in place of the ruthlessness factor, is there any question or series of questions highlighting other factors that might prove cogently sound in predicting the outcome of a nonviolent strategy? My investigation discloses that questions about the establishment of a dependency relationship – based on either the opponent’s self interest or his/her sense of ‘self in the other’ – are the crucial ones to address in order to determine the efficacy of nonviolence. The outer limits of nonviolent action are not set by brutal tyrants, as realists would maintain. Despite the difficulties (which should not be minimised), a nonviolent strategy can be devised and succeed against the cruellest of oppressors. It is doomed to failure, however, if a dependency interest or ‘co-human’ relationship cannot be established, either directly or through third parties.

            But you have to pay to download the pdf
            http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a784161240&db=all

          • Elisabeth June 17, 2010, 3:01 PM

            Ghandi:
            “I have drawn the distinction between passive resistance as understood and practised in the West and satyagraha before I had evolved the doctrine of the latter to its full logical and spiritual extent. is a metaphor for non-violence. I often used “passive resistance” and “satyagraha” as synonymous terms: but as the doctrine of satyagraha developed, the expression “passive resistance” ceases even to be synonymous, as passive resistance has admitted of violence as in the case of suffragettes and has been universally acknowledged to be a weapon of the weak. Moreover, passive resistance does not necessarily involve complete adherence to truth under every circumstance. Therefore it is different from satyagraha in three essentials: Satyagraha is a weapon of the strong; it admits of no violence under any circumstance whatsoever; and it ever insists upon truth. I think I have now made the distinction perfectly clear.”

            I do not think the suffragettes were weak, and they also adhered to the truth. I have a hard time understanding what Ghandi is trying to say here.

          • Richard Silverstein June 17, 2010, 5:56 PM

            And what about against a quasi-democracy lacking in a defined moral conscience and which is prepared to shed the enemy’s blood to the extent necessary to prevail??

          • amir June 17, 2010, 8:20 PM

            Spare us the melodrama. There is not a single country in the world which isn’t prepared to shed the enemy’s blood in order to prevail. I suppose you forgot about the two little nuclear bombs the US dropped on a couple of Japanese cities. Under similar circumstances, the US, and every other nation of the world would do it again.

          • Richard Silverstein June 17, 2010, 11:33 PM

            I’m talking about a specific judge who has betrayed his objectivity and inability to act impartially in a case in which this is called for in spades. All the other arguments you introduced were red herrings as usual.

          • mary June 18, 2010, 8:33 AM

            Governments do tend to be amoral entities, and it is naive and foolish to expect otherwise. However, it is another thing entirely for a country to willfully ignore international laws and standards of decency and restraint, which is what Israel has done many times and is still doing.

            The subject of the blog entry is Mr. X, who he is and why he is in custody seemingly without due process. This is an extremely troubling thing, especially when countries such as Israel and the US, purporting themselves to be democracies, engage in “disappearing” human beings based on some arbitrarily decided and secret criteria. It puts all human beings at risk of similar treatment, at least in theory, opens up a Pandora’s box of future abuses and horrors that we can only imagine.

            Instead of looking at this mystery man as a fascinating cartoon character, the Israelis (and those who support Israel) should be asking the Israeli government some very hard questions.

          • Tal yaron June 14, 2010, 7:48 AM

            According to the International law, under UN resolution 181, Israel and Palestine should have leaved together happily ever-after. Israel accepted the resolution. The Palestinians didn’t accept it. They attacked and lost. This was their fault they lost much of the land. They where the aggressor.

            I do not if you are a USA citizen, but if you are, then if you take the judgment you take against Israel, then all USA citizens must leave America. Israelis came to the land of their forefathers. It properly theirs.

          • Richard Silverstein June 14, 2010, 9:21 PM

            This was their fault they lost much of the land. They where the aggressor.

            And now Israel is the aggressor. So shall we say when Israel loses a catastrophic war (as it likely will one of these days) & is danger of a cataclysmic outcome causing it to “lose much of its land,” that we should sit back & say: “We told you so?” Is that yr position?

          • Tal yaron June 14, 2010, 7:55 AM

            Kalea,

            Your capacity for listening is very week. It seems that you prefer aggression. Sorry, I prefer talking over fighting. I prefer learning over prejudgment.

            The Hashomer and the Hagana was raised after the IESHOV had to deal with the Palestinians violence. The Lechy and Eirgon tried to fight Britain. And Yes they used violence against the Arabs, but only because they thought it is better to kill you killer then to wait until he will cut your throat.

          • Richard Silverstein June 14, 2010, 9:23 PM

            Yes they used violence against the Arabs

            Whatever happened to that claim that Israel used diplomatic means instead of violence to deal with the Arabs??

            it is better to kill you killer then to wait until he will cut your throat.

            I continue to be amazed by the faux Gandhian pacifist in favor of killing Arabs. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at yr abuse of the memory & philosophy of Gandhi.

        • Richard Silverstein June 14, 2010, 9:01 PM

          Why would you criticize me for showing insufficient love for Israel? Love is not what Israel needs. Discipline is what Israel needs. A stern hand. Israel has shown itself perfectliy capable of trampling anyone who thinks if will stand up to it using non violence. I have great respect for adherents of non violence. But I don’t think love will transform Israel. I just don’t buy it. Maybe at one time this might’ve worked. But there has been too much hate & killing.

          • David February 12, 2013, 3:15 PM

            Richard, you are absolutely correct that discipline is necessary. It requires tremendous discipline to overcome one’s fears and prejudices and begin to treat one’s enemies with trust and respect. As a general statement, this is fairly obvious, yes? So why should it be different for Israel? What people, in such circumstances, has ever acted differently? I can certainly name a few that have behaved much worse.

            I say this not to excuse Israel, but to suggest a perspective that might offer some room for a different type of dialogue.

            You speak of discipline as a “stern hand”. Whose hand, exactly, shall wag a finger or wield a rod? Yours? The UN’s? And when has that sort of discipline ever produced the sort of result that you seek?

            The discipline I speak of is the kind that one must develop inside oneself. Discipline grows from within — it cannot be imposed from without. The discipline you speak of is admonishment, punishment, arm-waving, shouting. It’s only effective function is to provide a venue for the ~undisciplined~ display of outrage, and I think everyone reading this — especially some of the commenters — should understand that displays of outrage tend to feed back on themselves and create only further hatred. Who here felt better after indulging themselves with the dialogue on this thread? Who here felt better after reading it? Was anything learned, was progress made? Or did everyone just walk away feeling angrier, less understood, more hopeless?

            How could we possibly help Israel develop this discipline? I don’t have a conveniently packaged answer to that, but I think it’s a fruitful question to ask, and one that concerns me greatly, not only as a Jew but also as the father of a pair of two-year-old boys. What I do know is that my heart (and my training in psychology) tells me that this task will require that I provide them with both compassion and guidance, freedom and boundaries, forgiveness and clarity of purpose. I also know that I will fail at these things on many occasions, that I may — have — spoken in anger and acted impatiently. I too must develop my discipline as I am helping my boys develop theirs.

            So, yes, Israel must develop discipline in their actions, and we here, as participants in this dialogue, must do the same. No matter how insignificant our roles in the ultimate unfolding of things, not one of us is exempt. It begins here.

    • Jack Vanderwyk June 14, 2010, 5:55 AM

      Tal Yaron seems to be in favour of the “Polder Model”, a Dutch term, like “apartheid” I’m sorry to say, that was first used to describe the internationally acclaimed Dutch version of consensus decision making in politics. Like in the Netherlands, governments come to being through coalitions. Phrases like “a pragmatic recognition of pluriformity” and “cooperation despite differences” are typical of “polder model” thinking. Todays enemy may be tomorrow’s ally, so you can’t be too harsh. However, the main difference between the Netherlands, where the “polder model” seems to work (“When politics are boring, the people are happy”), is that in the Netherlands ideologies have died, probably because of “polder model” thinking, while they are very much present in Israel. That’s why I think the “polder model” won’t work in Israel, at least not between left and right. Maybe between different leftish democrats, or between different shades of right wing politicians, but only if they share (more or less) the same ideology.
      In my opinion the struggle between left and right in Israel should have a significant confrontational aspect, and Richard has understood that well. Confrontational also for international reasons: we, the left-liberals and socialists, should let the world know that we strongly oppose this Israel government, thus seeking international solidarity.

  • Medawar June 14, 2010, 1:56 AM

    Penetrated Mossad, on whose behalf?

    And to what end?
    The gathering of intelligence, or the planting of poor analysis and bad advice, to manipulate the Israeli Cabinet into error?

    Their recent performance rather suggests an answer to the last one.

    • Anyn. June 14, 2010, 10:20 PM

      It does seem as if the Mossad is controlled by forces hostile to Israel lately.

  • moshe June 14, 2010, 4:37 AM

    Interesting story,
    There are speculations in Israel maybe this is Azmi Bishara, the Member of Knesset who was accused of espionage and treason.

    It is strange that his voice wasn’t heard during the Gaza flotilla affair. Usually he makes news condemning and speaking against Israel in such cases.
    Or maybe it is Vanunu, did anyone hear from him lately?

  • pabelmont June 14, 2010, 4:38 AM

    Richard Silverstein:

    Why do you, why does anyone, suppose that Mr. X was either accused or convicted (of any offense)? What appears to be known (unless the entire story is a fabrication) is that a person is imprisoned in a certain way.

    Perhaps it is known (but how?) that no-one who has neither been accused (in some formal way) and also convicted (in some formal way) would be imprisoned in THIS prison in THIS way; rather he would be ‘disappeared’ in some other way. Is THIS “known” about how Israel operates, or about how ALL the shadowy people in Israel with the power to imprison people operate? Is it the case, then, that neither Prosecutor Z1 nor Colonel Z2 can come to the prison with Mr. X and tell the guards to lock him up and forget him (and forget my name, too)?

    Just asking.

    • Kalea June 14, 2010, 9:41 AM

      I’ve always believed that injustice is inherent in Zionism and everything and everyone is secondary to it. In other words, Israeli authorities will lie, steal, cheat and commit murder or some other injustice to protect Zionism. Zionism is above Israeli Law and definitely above International Law and Israeli authorities committed to protecting Zionism behave like the Mafia justifying the indefensible with a similar code of secrecy. Israel Law then is a mere charade; like a “front company”. It’s like judges and “security” authorities throw away their legal code when Zionism is threatened by the Law and adhere to a “superior” code exacted by Zionism which basically gives them carte blanche to do what it takes to protect it.

      • mary June 14, 2010, 10:32 AM

        Israeli law appears to be a fig leaf covering the Zionist agenda. This agenda also justifies Israel’s willfully ignoring international law and its contempt for the UN.

        • Tal yaron June 14, 2010, 10:48 AM

          Mary,

          Can you be more specific. How do you think the Israeli law help Israel ignore the international law?

          About the UN:
          Israel is a small country, without oil fields. Therefore it is not attractive as the Arab countries for cooperation, and will almost always lose in the UN. Israel don’t have the same power as the Arabs, and therefore almost always suffer from injustice. If the USA wouldn’t have helped Israel, she would have suffered much more by the UN.
          Therefore we see the UN as an unfair place, and we ignore it as much as we can.

          Until this day we see UN resolution as a miracle. Perhaps the Arab states were too young, and didn’t know how to influence the UN resolutions. otherwise, they probably could have caused to the UN not to approve 181.

          • mary June 14, 2010, 12:53 PM

            The Israeli government IGNORES international law, or didn’t I make myself clear? There are international laws against illegal occupation, against building settlements in occupied territory, and of course there’s the siege of Gaza. The list is as long as your arm.

            Israel has some very powerful friends in the UN – have you heard of the USA? Again and again, it either votes against resolutions against Israel or abstains when it holds the deciding vote.

            By the way, I just read something yesterday about how Israel has its eye on the gas fields off the coast of Gaza. It’s not oil, but it’s close enough.

          • Tal yaron June 14, 2010, 1:28 PM

            Mary,

            The International law is not an abiding law. The state must accept the law, for it relvent to the law. you can further read about it here: http://tinyurl.com/327s57g

            Israel may be occupying Judea and Samaria, in the eye of the law. But these two areas are the main part of of ancient Israel.

            Gaza siege:
            After we left Gaza, we hoped for quiet zone between Gaza and Israel. But Gaza people rocketed Israeli villages. So we had to make a siege, in order for the Gazans to stop rocketing our villages. They are at war with us, and we have all the rights to pressure the Gazans. No western state will let a neighbour state bomb here civilians

            USA friendship:
            Yap. without the USA, the UN would have been a nightmare for Israel. The Arabs with their shining democracy would have chopped us to pieces.

            Gas:
            Israel had left Sinai for peace with Egypt. She left there huge resources of gas. If the Gazans will leave with peace with us, we will let the take the gas, if it is theirs.

          • Richard Silverstein June 14, 2010, 9:30 PM

            The Arabs with their shining democracy would have chopped us to pieces.

            This is overtly racist. If you believe this & wish to express it you will have to do so elsewhere. This site permits no racism against Arabs or Israel. There are no exceptions. If you express yrself similarly in future your future comments will be moderated.

  • Kalea June 14, 2010, 7:14 AM

    The first thought that comes to mind reading this is of “the man who knew too much”.

    Sure sounds like he’s Mossad. This might sound extreme, but bear with me:

    Maybe he knows something about a Mossad operation that would turn the entire world against Israel. Think back to the Lavon Affair. Maybe Israel conducted another false flag operation and this individual was part of it and threatened to spill the beans.

    I’m also reminded of the “man in the iron mask” who was really the twin heir to the throne of France and a threat to his brutal brother, therefore imprisoned in isolation with a permanent mask so no one can see his face.

    Let me put it this way, if the man is imprisoned in isolation, without due process of any kind, you can almost bet he’s holding onto an explosive secret.

    • Richard Silverstein June 14, 2010, 9:08 PM

      Yossi Gurvitz’s blog post which I linked makes the Man in the Iron Mask parallel as well (though in Hebrew).

  • mary June 14, 2010, 7:18 AM

    Why does anyone assume this man is an Israeli?

    • Kalea June 14, 2010, 7:31 AM

      If he were a foreign spy, he would be less of a threat. This man obviously knows something that the “powers” in Israel don’t want him to share with ANYONE, his family, a lawyer, anyone.

      Whatever information he possesses must be so credible and authentic that they couldn’t possibly risk allowing him to speak to anyone. For it to be that credible; I must assume he’s Israeli.

      • mary June 14, 2010, 7:50 AM

        A foreign spy is more likely to be killed.

        I’m not into conspiracy theories, but the first thing that pops into my mind is 9/11.

        • Kalea June 14, 2010, 8:57 AM

          The death penalty was off the table for Vanunu.

          “The death penalty in Israel is restricted to special circumstances. In 2004, former Mossad director Shabtai Shavit told Reuters that the option of extrajudicial execution was considered in 1986, but rejected because “Jews don’t do that to other Jews.””

          Vanunu was imprisoned 11 years in solitary confinement, but he did get a trial and was able to meet with his lawyer etc.

          So as M. X is being kept alive, incognito in solitary confinement; I suspect he’s a Jew and Israeli as well.

          Because Mr. X is being hidden away without due process, his case appears to be much more “sensitive” for Israeli authorities than Vanunu’s case. This is why I assume they may be holding him because he threatened to reveal information about a false flag operation.

          • Kalea June 14, 2010, 8:59 AM

            Oops…forgot link for quote!.:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mordechai_Vanunu

          • Anyn. June 14, 2010, 10:39 PM

            Things may have been different if Vanunu had not managed to get photographed with details of his kidnapping on his hand.

            When everybody knew the Mossad had him, it was much more difficult to murder him without consequences.

            “Jews don’t do that to other Jews” only if someone is looking.

  • Medawar June 14, 2010, 10:50 AM

    Mossad agents can commit ordinary crimes, not connected with their work. What would they do if someone with access to their highest secrets, murdered or kidnapped someone who wasn’t an official Mossad target?

    • Anyn. June 14, 2010, 10:41 PM

      Charge them with the crime and imprison them if found guilty. There are isolated facilities where a prisoner can receive his full rights and see visitors without contact with other inmates.

      But to be realistic, if Mossad agents commit ordinary crimes the usual response is to cover it up.

  • Medawar June 14, 2010, 11:05 AM

    Following Kalea’s link, Medawar sees that Mr Vanunu has been back in the Israeli prison system since the 23rd of May.

    Can we verify where Mr Vanunu is held, just so we’re not working at cross purposes, if Mr X is actually Mr V?

    • Kalea June 14, 2010, 11:49 AM

      Of course he’s NOT Mr. X! Amir was removed from that cell in 2006 probably to make room for the mystery prisoner, and Vanunu went back to jail in May of this year.

      Besides, Vanunu has always had access to his lawyer and this jail term is for 3 MONTHS, as he had a choice to do 6 months of community service instead.

      It’s pretty obvious it’s not Vanunu.

      • Medawar June 15, 2010, 3:10 AM

        Okay, okay, but it’s best to keep the loose ends covered.

        So, Mr X might have been there since 2006?

        That might help narrow down who it might be.

  • Tal Yaron June 14, 2010, 10:59 PM

    Truth:

    I feel that yo came with very strong feeling that you know the truth, and this will not help us to find the right solution.

    THis is simply lame. There is nothing wrong w. having a strong conviction about what is right or moral in a certain political situation. I’m sorry but I don’t see that we have to sit down and powpow w our political enemies. I don’t want to show Bibi w. hugs.

    From my experience the truth is built out three layers. One is the evidence. the second is the interpretation of the community on what actually happened. The third is the moral values that we judge the situation with. If we are liberals, all three should be debatable. If one is coming to the debate with closed mind, then he is an absolutist and we would not be able to debate properly. Liberals come to a debate with open-mind.

    Gandhi:
    Gandhi was not a pacifist as it seems from what I read in your comments. Gandhi had two principals in his struggles: 1) stick to the truth and human dignity. 2) Avoid violence when ever possible. Use you mouth, and apple to reason.

    When Britain fought the Zulus “Gandhi actively encouraged the British to recruit Indians. He argued that Indians should support the war efforts in order to legitimize their claims to full citizenship.” (http://bit.ly/cE2jCw).

    When we can talk to the Palestinians, we should. As a nation, we should find through discussions within ourselves and and with the Palestinians way way to peacefully leave together or side by side.

    But when suicide bombing occur or terror spread, we have to defend ourselves.

    Lehi and Irgon:
    The Hagana was the main defence force of the IESHOV. The Lehi and Irgon were violent parties the departed from the Hagana. They were hunted by the Hagana (in the Sezon). they did not represent the IESHOV.

    The Palestinan lost:
    Well, I fell that if Israel will lose one day, you will not come to the rescue. Or am I wrong?

    Harsh hand:
    Yap, many nations tried to force us for more then 2000 years to abide to their will. It did not succeeded very well :-)
    The only time it succeeded was when they let the mouth do the job and not the force: e.g. the enlightenment era and the emancipation. The enlightenment era was founded on the search for truth. Truth (with all her three layers) has the most powerful way to change things. Shouldn’t we resort to the truth?

    Democracy and the muslaim world:
    Lets talk about the facts (The first level of truth). Which percentage of the Arab states are real democracies?

    • Richard Silverstein June 15, 2010, 12:29 AM

      Gandhi was not a pacifist as it seems from what I read in your comments. Gandhi had two principals in his struggles: 1) stick to the truth and human dignity. 2) Avoid violence when ever possible.

      You’re absolutely ignorant about Gandhi. Could you site a credible source to support yr claims. He didn’t believe in avoiding violence whenver possible. He didn’t believe in violence at all.

      Your evidence is from the period when Gandhi was in S. Africa. You neglect the fact that Gandhi spent the early years of his life there and that his moral/political philosophy further developed when he returned to India where he embraced non violence fully.

      I fell that if Israel will lose one day, you will not come to the rescue. Or am I wrong?

      What do you think I’m doing in this blog, taking the vapors? If Israel needs another soldier on the firing line you won’t find me there. But this blog is meant to provide alternatives to the twisted thinking that passes for Israeli policy these days. There are other modes of thinking and acting that Israel could adopt & perhaps will one day.

      Which percentage of the Arab states are real democracies?

      And you think Israel is??

      • Tal Yaron June 15, 2010, 12:48 AM

        Gnadhi:

        I may be Ignorant, I only red his book about the south-african affairs. Please educate me further.

        By the way, I’am sure Gnadhi would use insulting words as you just did (“You’re absolutely ignorant about Gandhi”). First it is not true. You do not know what I have res and what I havn’t red. secondly, If you want to promote constructive dialog, Insulting others, is not the right way to do so.

        Helping Israel:
        If you want to help, don’t hammer us. Talk with us. Convince us that your way is better. Hatered will not promote anything: In Gandhi words :”When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall — think of it, always.”.

        Arabs and democracy:
        There are some mesures to answer this question. you could start with this one:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index
        Israel is indexe in the 38 place with score of 7.48.
        Turkey, Lebanon is in the 80ths palce with 5.7 value
        Iraq and Jordan less then 4.
        Egypt 3.89.

        Well, do we have Arab democracies? Does Israel deals with democracies?

        • amir June 15, 2010, 11:43 AM

          Interestingly, 8 of the top 10 countries on that list have a cross in their flag.

          • Elisabeth June 17, 2010, 1:09 AM

            Except South Korea, Mauritius and Japan, all ‘full democracies’ on the list have majority Christian populations. That can only mean that Christians have a natural tendency for democracy and that the unfortunate followers of other religions (like Judaism and Islam) have a hard time catching up, RIGHT? ;-)

      • mary June 17, 2010, 6:46 AM

        Here is an interesting perspective on Gandhi and the myth of nonviolence:

        http://wintersoldier2008.typepad.com/summer_patriot_winter_sol/2008/12/pacifist-ghandi-not-hardly.html

  • Bon Ton June 16, 2010, 2:19 AM

    Seriously, what`s all this crap about politics when we have a heavily disguised mystery? The powers of darkness will be very pleased with you guys. What a diversion.

    What about thw mystery prisoner? has anybody found out any more detals? any other int`l sites? in Israel everybody is scared shitless.

    • Elisabeth June 17, 2010, 12:46 AM

      I have a hard time following what you meant to say exactly: You start out by suggesting that this matter is of no importance: It should not divert us from the important stuff; politics. (Yes, the ‘powers of darkness’ are even pleased by us falling for this diversion.)
      But then you change tack completely. You are suddenly highly interested in the whole matter, and notice that everybody in Israel is ‘scared shitless’. As if that fact alone can be separated from ‘politics’.

  • Elisabeth June 17, 2010, 3:26 PM

    I am not shaking a finger in anyone’s face. I am just saying that the use of violence has only harmed the Palestinian cause: It has not worked in favor of it, but against it. This is not colonialist or racist, just an observation of facts. (Which you can dispute if you like.)

  • Tal Yaron June 19, 2010, 4:52 PM

    I am with Elisabeth.

  • YL June 23, 2010, 4:00 AM

    The answer is in one of the (Hebrew) comments in this page.
    MR X is a police officer, who turned himself in to protective custody in order to give evidence about high ranking corrupted police officers who were involved with a local crime family.
    http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART1/439/092.html

    So sorry this is not helping you to further smear Israel.

    • Richard Silverstein June 23, 2010, 1:15 PM

      You’ve found a newspaper article from 2006 about a Mr. X & you claim it is the same Mr. X in 2010. Are you nuts? Do you think the poor policeman stayed in his prison cell for 4 yrs to protect him fr. the Israeli mob?? Nice try, but you’ve failed abjectly.

  • HAnan June 26, 2010, 11:48 AM
  • Miki Blomstein December 16, 2012, 12:47 PM

    I think Mr. X is actually Hitler

  • FreeThinker February 12, 2013, 4:19 AM

    Prisoner X died in his cell back in 2010, that is what an australian reporter claims, and reviels his name also: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-02-12/prisoner-x—the-australian-connection/4515252

    There was also an article in Ha’aretz but someone took it down very fast, this is it’s photo: https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/61730_10151296705546317_716875542_n.jpg

  • zalay February 12, 2013, 7:24 AM

    fast forward to Feb 2013, we still dont know Prisoner X is and “Only Democracy in the Middle East” is stll hiding the facts!

  • Jackson June 25, 2013, 8:33 AM

    How can Israel keep a man locked up like this it makes me want to go to Israel and visit him in the prison

  • Chuckles February 12, 2014, 1:13 PM

    “…is really a national security state in which the normal rules of democracy can be suspended seemingly at will once the dreaded phrases “terror” or “national security” are invoked.” That’s terrifying i can’t imagine living in a democratic country (USA) that would even consider such thing.

    • Richard Silverstein February 12, 2014, 1:38 PM

      So you’re claiming that CIA agents can disappear, be arrested, tried, convicted & imprisoned in secret without any accountability as happened in this case, where the Mossad prisoner actually committed suicide–with this development being covered up?

  • Chuckles March 18, 2014, 4:00 PM

    Yes I believe that could possibly happen but I suppose there’s no way for me know for sure one way or the other.