In the midst of all the spookery and legal maneuverings of the Israeli security apparatus as it lumbers into action against Dirar Abusisi, we should remember the very real human beings in this case and the very real suffering that this is inflicting on them.
Dirar’s brother, Yousef, told me he talked to the former’s youngest daughter, Maria, age 5, yesterday. The girl said to him: “Ask Daddy when he comes home to bring me a Barbie.” It broke my heart to hear this as I have a 6-year-old girl myself. I wanted to buy the Barbie for her, but of course it would be nothing like Daddy bringing it home to her. And keep in mind that her daddy faces years in an Israeli prison for a crime no one knows except his Shabak inquisitors.
A story like this makes me specially angry with irresponsible reporting like that of Der Spiegel, whose scribe dutifully regurgitates a morsel undoubtedly offered to him by an Israeli security reporter who can’t publish it legally under Israeli gag restrictions. The way this noxious system works is Shabak feeds the story to the reporter. He then offers it to Der Spiegel, which dutifully publishes it. Then the Israeli reporter can publish it inside Israel. Is it correct information? Highly unlikely:
Jerusalem may believe that Abu Sisi had information relating to Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier kidnapped four and a half years ago by Hamas, according to another source…Jerusalem has not wholly given up hope of liberating him with a commando mission. But Israeli forces would have to know exactly where he’s held (presumably in the Gaza Strip) — information they appear to be hoping to obtain from Abu Sisi.
Now, Israeli media is reporting this widely as if it were halacha l’Moshe mi’Sinai (God’s law from Moses on Sinai). Haaretz reports it here. Channel 2 news in Israel reports it in Hebrew here. Now you have an entire news cycle devoted to prattering nonsense that distracts from the real issues of this case. It doesn’t matter that Smadar Ben Natan, Dirar’s attorney has refuted the charges soundly. What matters is the torrent of Shalit-related claims that Israelis will hear over that 24 hour cycle.
Keep in mind that this is the third or fourth futile cover story leaked by the intelligence services to justify his kidnapping. Earlier, he was Hamas’ senior rocket engineer under Iranian training. Then he was somehow connected to the weapons ship, Victoria, which Israel intercepted on the high seas with arms supposedly meant for Gaza. Now we have fictional account number three of his secret life as a terrorist.
Israel Radio quotes the spokesperson for the citizen’s group lobbying for Gilad Shalit’s freedom saying that the claim that Abusisi knows anything about Shalit is “spin” from Bibi Netanyahu’s camp, which allows the prime minister to boast about the magnificent strides he’s making on Shalit’s behalf.
Just for the record, Ben Natan says in this Army Radio story:
“I spoke with my client about this matter and he told me that he has no connection nor knowledge concerning Shalit.” She said that he had no connection with the kidnapping of Shalit and he knows nothing of his whereabouts.
“The assumptions that he is affiliated with Hamas are also untrue.” She continued, “the preconceived notions that he has any information pertinent to the security of Israeli have been frustrated throughout this investigation. Now the State is seeking to cover up its error. All this in place of sending him back home and apologizing. Instead they’re looking for something to blame him for.”
To be clear, is it possible there is some nefarious connection Dirar Abusisi has with Hamas or terrorist elements? Yes. But for me to even begin to believe this the security forces will have to do a whole lot better than they have till now. In the meantime, try to remember a little girl who wants a Barbie and her daddy whom she may not see for a very long time.
Among the claims to infamy of Shai Nitzan, the State prosecutor who is trying to throw Abusisi in prison for years, the former charged an Israeli journalist with “insulting a public servant” (yes, that’s apparently a crime in Israel), incitement and invading his privacy. The journalist had published a story about threatening flyers being distributed among the settlements which attacked military officials presumably for their harsh treatment of settlers. So get this, the State charges a journalist with a crime for reporting a story. That’s what you can expect from the likes of Shai Nitzan. And you thought John Yoo was bad when he defended Bush era torture practices?