UPDATE: I’ve just spoken to Eyad’s brother Radwan and Eyad’s attorney. Dr. al-Jawhari was arrested at the Kuneitra border crossing on June 28th. On June 29th he was arraigned at Nazareth court for ten days detention. His lawyers says he hopes to see him by this Thursday. He has not been allowed to see or speak with his client since his arrest.
The doctor had spent ten years in Syria, returning every year for a visit. Two years ago, he earned his MD and served as a family doctor in Syria. Recently he married and his wife is currently pregnant. He’d not returned back to the Golan for the past three years. His intent on this trip was to return permanently to Majdal Shams and open a medical practice there. He planned to bring his wife later.
The Shin Bet has only told his lawyer that it suspects him of “acts against the security of the state,” a catch-all phrase that can mean everything and virtually nothing.
Israel’s Shin Bet secret police arrested a 38 year-old Israeli Druze doctor, Eyad Jamil al-Jawhari at the Kuneitra border crossing. According to the Syrian new agency, Sana, Jawhari is studying in Syria and was returning to his home in Majdal Shams with his family awaiting him. The Shin Bet notified it he’d been arrested. The entire is under gag and no Israeli media outlet has yet reported anything about it. These are stories and gags I live to break.
He appeared in Nazareth court two days ago, which approved extension of his remand, allowing the security forces to continue interrogating and abusing him without benefit of legal counsel in contravention of Israeli law. He’s being held in the Shin Bet section of Kishon Prison near Haifa.
My human rights colleagues in Israel haven’t yet determined who, or if he has an attorney.
Thanks to Antiwar.com for publishing my first account of this story. I urge you to read it and circulate it as widely as possible. The only way to protect the victims is by letting the victimizers know that we’re watching them.
Several interesting responses from Israeli MSM: Ruth Eglash, the Jerusalem Post’s “social media editor” tweeted asking if anyone knew whether my story was true. She should know better and instead of asking whether it was, she should’ve been trying to report the story and expand on it.
Another Israeli gossip portal, 24/7, actually broke the gag on Facebook, reporting Jawhari’s name, but calling him “an infiltrator.” Keep in mind, this is someone who has an Israeli ID–meaning he’s either a citizen or legal resident (since the Golan is annexed territory). For many Israeli Jews anyone in Israel who isn’t Jewish is an “infiltrator.”
This arrest, coming as it does amidst a Syrian civil war, is quite interesting. It could mean the secret police want him to spy for them (though arresting him and getting his name in the papers isn’t a very effective means of recruiting a spy). Or the Shin Bet may believe he’s taken advantage of the turmoil in Syria to engage in contacts with forces or individuals it deems enemies of the State. Such charges are very serious and can land you in an Israeli jail for a very long time. Even if the charges are false, once you’re in the maw of the security apparatus it will not let you go. You will be convicted or you will cop a plea. Dirar Abusisi is one of the few recent exceptions and he’s been in prison for two years after rejecting plea deals of ten and twenty years. He could conceivably remain there without trial for many more.
Another possibility is that the Syrian crisis has caused some unrest or concern among Golani Druze who may be taking sides one way of the other–with the regime or with the rebels. The Israeli security services would definitely want to keep a tight grip on such political developments lest they leak across the border and “infect” those Druze inside Israeli-Occupied territory. The Shin Bet have their own informers among Golanis who travel to Syria, so it’s possible that Eyad ran afoul of one of these who reported him to the authorities.
That’s why victims like Jawhari are important. They are the canaries in the coal mine of that tattered, battered flag called Israeli democracy.