UPDATE: The leader of Hamas’ caucus in the Palestinian Legislative Council, Khalil al-Hayya, gave an interview to a Gaza journalist published at Al-Monitor. In it, he acknowledged Mossad’s kidnapping of Wael Abu Rida:
According to security information available to us, all sides concerned with Egyptian affairs are present in the Sinai, especially Israel — whose intelligence apparatus, the Mossad, managed to kidnap a young Palestinian man in the Sinai a few days ago and transfer him to Israeli prison — without the knowledge of Egyptian security authorities.
Also, I’m grateful to Egyptian political analyst, Dr. Sherifa Zuhur for posting about this incident in her blog. I’m hoping it will get some play in the Egyptian media and force the government to respond in some way.
In an event reminiscent of Israel’s kidnapping of Dirar Abu Sisi in the Ukraine two years ago, the Mossad kidnapped a Gazan, Wael Abu Rida in Sinai several days ago and returned him to Israel, where he is in prison. The event has been confirmed by a confidential Israeli source. I should know where he’s imprisoned shortly. Though it’s typical in such circumstances to not find out what the charges might be against him. The victim had traveled to Sinai seeking medical attention for his wife. He was at one time affiliated with Islamic Jihad but more recently worked with another militant group, Al Aqsa Defenders.
It’s certainly a violation of Egyptian sovereignty for Israel’s intelligence services to operate in Sinai and engage in such a bold, semi-public act. It’s equally certain that the Mossad wouldn’t be there without the at least tacit understanding of Egyptian intelligence, if not their direct connivance. Though it should be noted in the Update above, that a Hamas leader claims the security apparatus didn’t know or approve of the incursion. That of course begs the question: why didn’t they, and what were they doing when Mossad agents infiltrated Egypt’s border?
Remember that in an incident having some parallels, Ukrainian security services participated directly in the abduction of Abusisi in a Kiev-bound railway train. There certainly must be a quid pro quo for such cooperation as well, as there was when Israel announced liberalized visa and trade agreements with Ukraine shortly after Abusisi’s kidnapping. What Egypt is getting for this is anyone’s guess. But it does make you wonder just how steadfast Egypt is in it professions of allegiance to the Palestinian cause.
This is yet another violation of the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, which the two signed to end Operation Pillar of Cloud.
The arrest of Abu Rida is under gag inside Israel, no doubt to dampen the controversy of its covert operatives operating flagrantly on Egyptian soil. I hope that Egyptian media will pick up this story and make it known to the Egyptian public.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.