blares a Haaretz headline about the arrest of an Druze mother living in the Golan, whose son had earlier been arrested as part of the same alleged spy conspiracy:
Israeli authorities arrested a fourth suspect on Monday as part of an investigation into suspected espionage against Israel…Mona Sha’ar was arrested on Monday in the northern Druze village of Majdal Shams for allegedly committing crimes against the security of Israel.
….Her son, Fada Sha’ar, was the first in this case to be arrested several weeks prior for alleged espionage and committing crimes against Israeli security. Her husband was also been arrested in connection to the case.
…According to the attorney, the first suspect’s father was detained for questioning following his son’s arrest, and released several hours later.
Police arrested a Mahmoud Masarwah of Baka al-Garbiyeh earlier in the month over suspicion of espionage and contact with a foreign agent.
His attorney, Jalal Abu-Vassal, said that he could not comment on the suspicions against his client because he had not been allowed to meet with the suspect and has no knowledge of the alleged crimes.
Masarwah is a well know political activist who has been active over recent years on behalf of political prisoners held in Israel. He has been arrested in the past and has spent some time in prison.
There are two serious problems with this article journalistically. First is the headline, which presumes the guilt of the suspects before they’ve even been indicted, let alone tried. Yes, the rest of the article uses words like “alleged” and “suspected,” but really why are these terms any better? Of what are they suspected? Jack Khoury doesn’t know. Not even one of the victim’s lawyers knows, as is proven by the penultimate paragraph. So let me ask a serious rhetorical question: why does the Israeli media even have the right to allege anything about the nature of these so-called crimes? They’ve been told the little they do know about the Shin Bet, whose record in these matters is less than stellar.
And even if you do wish to use terms like “alleged” connected to the accusations, why not admit in the body of the article that neither the reporter nor anyone who should, knows anything about the nature of the crime, evidence, etc. Why not say “The intelligence services refused to provide any detail to support their claim concerning the charges.” If you don’t do something like this then you’re buying into the Shin Bet’s narrative of Israeli Palestinian perfidy.
I’ll tell you what’s far more likely than the cockamamie story the Shin Bet dreamed up in this case which would explain why a father and mother were both arrested. How likely is it that a young man would enlist both his parents to commit espionage? I’d say it’s so unlikely as to be able to rule it out as being even remotely credible. What really happened here, and this is a commonly exploited tactic by the Shabak, is that the secret police are exerting pressure on the man through his parents. They presume that by shaming the parents with arrest and the concomitant abuse they will undergo as security detainees in an Israeli prison, that this will make the victim more amenable to whatever plan they have concocted for him.
It’s also highly likely that Fada Sha’ar is in jail for perfectly legal nationalist political activity which the Shin Bet opposes. The spying charge is a convenient smear tactic used religiously in Israel as in similar cases against Ameer Makhoul, Omar Said and many others.
Arresting his mother is not that far removed from what the FBI did in the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg case. They knew Ethel was guilty of nothing but felt that Julius’ loyalty to her might make him more cooperative. Little did they bargain for the fortitude of two committed American Jewish Communists. The strategy backfired. I only hope that Fada Sha’ar can stay as strong as Julius Rosenberg did (not that I’m acknowledging guilt on Sha’ar’s part).