Shin Bet Gags Reporting on Secret Arrest of Israeli-Palestinian Journalist-Activist
Yesterday, I reported that the Israeli secret police had arrested Israeli-Palestinian journalist and political activist, Majd Kayyal. A judge extended his remand by a week to next Sunday so that the security apparatus could work wonders on his willingness to cooperate with their “interrogation technique.”
The court transcript notes the judge’s name as Ziyad Falah. He is a Druze and former military prosecutor. No surprise there. Israeli Jews consider Druze to be the “good Arabs.” They serve in the IDF, unlike most other Palestinian citizens. This judge appears happy to approve the security apparatus’ dirty work and to do so as an Israeli Palestinian citizen. Though I should be fair and say that there are many Druze who object to such servility to, and collaboration with the power elite.
Kayyal has been refused access to his lawyer, who works for Adalah, the NGO whose website he edits.
I reported that there likely was a gag order prohibiting Israeli media from reporting the story. Abir Kopty confirmed this in a tweet in Arabic. My Israeli source has provided me a copy of the gag order which I display here. I’m proud to report that the o139 blog has broken the gag. The Israeli author is a brave man.
Electronic Intifada has also obtained a copy of the charge sheet and translated it, also featuring photos of Kayyal’s arrest and his Beirut conference appearance (an event which undoubtedly angered the security goons). EI inadvertently hasn’t linked to my own reporting of the story, which preceded theirs.
Some Israelis will say: what did Kayyal expect? Lebanon is an enemy country. Visit it and you’re breaking the law. Except there’s one small problem with that: it’s not true. Yes, it is illegal to visit Syria or Lebanon, technically. But if you’re a Jewish journalist you’re fine. Lisa Goldman visited Lebanon and aired footage on Israeli TV, thereby endangering the unknowing Lebanese whom she interviewed. They threatened her with prosecution, but somehow never did. Another Israeli journalist also reported from Lebanon and wasn’t prosecuted.
Kol Yisrael reports that Israeli Druze also complain that they are not allowed to make religious pilgrimages to their holy sites outside Israel. The chief Druze religious leader appealed in recent days to Shimon Peres to intervene on behalf of priests who’ve been arrested for such pilgrimages to Syria or Lebanon. Israeli Jews from Arab countries, on the other hand, are allowed to make “under the radar” return visits to their homelands to explore their ‘roots.’
The Shin Bet are extremely sensitive to Israeli Palestinians who express their solidarity too strongly with Arab nationalist groups like Hezbollah, Hamas or even Syria. This was how Ameer Makhoul got a nine-year jail sentence and Azmi Bishara was driven into exile. You may be an Israeli-Palestinian as long as you meekly accept your second-class lot in life. But once you express support for a one-state solution or solidarity with Gaza, as Kayyal did by joining the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in 2011, you become an enemy of the state.
Let’s remember we’re talking about the Only Democracy in the Middle East, where all citizens are created equal and treated so–unless you’re Palestinian.