UPDATE: Thanks to my breaking the gag order in this case, the security services have partially removed the gag (English version–July 10th) and allowed the reporting of Abu Rida’s name in the press. The press still may not report what the charges are against him.
I recently reported that a Gazan, Wael Abu Rida, was kidnapped by the Mossad last week in the Sinai. He’d gone to Egypt with his wife to seek medical attention for his child. Reuters reported that he received a phone call from an unnamed individual he knew that caused him to leave his family and travel to Sinai. That was the last his family heard of him till it received a phone message saying he’d been kidnapped and imprisoned by Israel. A confidential Israeli source informs me that he’s imprisoned in Shikma Prison in Ashkelon. This appears to be the main detention facility for security suspects arrested by the Mossad and was the first place of detention of Dirar Abusisi after his kidnapping (more on this later).
The Abu Rida case is under Israeli gag. The security services do not want Egyptians to know that the Mossad invaded Egyptian sovereignty. They also take advantage of this secrecy to torture suspects after they’re first apprehended.
Abu Rida, according to Gaza media sources was formerly affiliated with Islamic Jihad, but is now affiliated with a group called the Al Quds Defenders.
This is not the first reported violation of Egyptian sovereignty by Israeli forces. In fact, the IDF attacked and killed five Egyptian policemen inside Egypt after the Eilat terror attack. The Mossad reportedly kidnapped another Gazan last year and also assassinated an alleged Gaza militant in the Sinai. This has now become an extension of Israeli territory and certainly within Israel’s sphere of influence.
What’s astonishing is that the Mossad operates inside Egypt with the willing collaboration of Egyptian intelligence. In fact, my confidential Israeli source relayed an almost boastful acknowledgement that harkened back to a disastrous Mossad operation which involved the 2011 kidnapping of Dirar Abusisi in the Ukraine:
“As far as Mossad is concerned, the only difference between Cairo and Kiev is that the name of the river in Egypt’s capital is Nile, and in Ukraine’s capital is Dnieper.”
The hubris of this statement exposes the reckless instincts of Israel’s covert spy agency. Just as it killed the wrong man in Lillehammer, and kidnapped Abusisi after being fooled by Hamas into believing he knew where Gilad Shalit was held captive, and was caught with its pants down after snuffing out the life of Mahmoud al-Mabouh in Dubai, it will continue behaving rashly. It will continue violating the sovereignty of any state anywhere for what it perceives to be its interests and its advantage.
That isn’t so unusual as we’re seeing in the omniverous spookery of the NSA, which didn’t care whether it was spying on friend or foe, domestic or overseas targets. What is unusual is that the security services of countries like the Ukraine, Jordan (which collaborated with the Mossad in detaining Abusisi before his kidnapping), and Egypt are willing conspirators in the violation of their own territorial sovereignty.
If these individuals kidnapped or murdered in Sinai by Mossad were guilty of engaging in terrorist acts, then one could understand Egypt’s interest in ridding itself of them. But do it yourself. Why farm out your intelligence operations on your own soil to foreign agencies? Frankly, I’m shocked that Egyptians aren’t more exercised by this. Of course, they are presently distracted by a few ‘minor skirmishes’ happening in Cairo including a military coup threat. So one can understand why this incident hasn’t gained more traction.
But if countries want to rein in the Mossad’s overweening ambition to make the entire world its battlefield in the cause of combatting Palestinian militants, they’ll have to take more aggressive action than they have till now.
There are, of course, hidden reasons why such foreign agencies collaborate with the Mossad. Israel makes a habit of dangling economic, trade and other goodies before the leaders of these countries. The Ukraine gained liberalized visa and trade tariffs shortly after the Abusisi kidnapping, when the country’s president came calling to Jerusalem. I don’t know what King Abdullah has been offered, nor what Egypt’s intelligence services are getting as quid pro quos. But you can be sure there is one (or two).
I’ve created a Facebook Cause for Abu Rida here. Please Like it and share it with those who are like-minded. Feel free to upload material related to the case.
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.