השב”כ משקר בפרשת עריק החמאס
The IDF announced today that it had discovered a second major tunnel leading from Gaza towards Israeli territory. The exposure of this tunnel, like that of the first one reported recently came, according to my Israeli security source, as the result of the defection of a senior Hamas commander, Sami Atawna, age 29.
This has not stopped IDF Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, the prime minister and defense minister from lying to the public, claiming sophisticated new tunnel detection techniques and systems have uncovered these excavation projects. Take Isabel Kershner’s entirely too credulous reporting:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the discovery, saying, “the state of Israel has achieved a global breakthrough in the ability to locate tunnels.”
Describing the breakthrough as “unique,” but without providing any details of the technology involved, Mr. Netanyahu added, “The government is investing considerable capital in countering the tunnel threat. This is an ongoing effort that will not end overnight.”
This is all utter nonsense. They didn’t find the tunnels due to technology or equipment. They did it through one of the oldest tricks known to intelligence services: defection. Interestingly, Yossi Melman reported (Hebrew) in recent days that the IDF has spent $250-million on its tunnel eradication projects since the 2014 war. It would seem to have little to show for it.
You’d think that the Shabak would reward such a figure for the service he provided to the State of Israel. Usually, intelligence services are willing to offer serious blandishments to defectors who give such valuable information. But not Israel, apparently. Today, the State prosecutor announced it was charging Atawna (Hebrew) with a plot that is so wild and implausible that it can be discounted out of hand. He is accused of grabbing two knives and crossing the Israeli border to wage an attack on Israeli forces.
So this is what Shabak would have us believe: a Hamas tunnel engineer, one of the most critical jobs in Gaza, who commands a large crew, decides on the spur of the moment to abandon his job, his comrades, and grabs two knives and crosses the border to wreak vengeance on Israel. Then, it just so happens that this tunnel engineer is captured on his way to stab Israeli soldiers, and coincidentally knows the identity of two major tunnels, which he voluntarily reports to Shabak. What a fortuitous accident that such bounty should fall into Shabak’s hands unsolicited. It makes as much sense as the plot of Godfather III.
There are numerous reasons the story is a ruse: first, no Gazan has crossed the border to attack any Israeli during the current round of hostilities. Second, Atawna was criticial figure in Hamas’ tunnel building operation. Such people do not suddenly develop delusions that they will abandon their lives and become martyrs by knifing an Israeli. He was not a teenager with nothing to lose, as almost all of the other Palestinian attackers have been.
So if the story has been concocted, why has it been and what is the true story? That’s harder to pin down. An alternate story circulating says that Atawna was kidnapped by Israel, rather than defected. The cover story might be devised to protect Israel from any charge that it had invaded Gaza territory to commit this kidnapping.
But the most likely story is that it was invented in order to protect Atawna’s family from retribution at the hands of Hamas. The weakness of this explanation is that Hamas must know something about Atawna’s disappearance. If he had been kidnapped, someone would’ve seen something and reported it. If he had voluntarily crossed the border to kill Israelis, someone would likely have seen him. If he had defected, it’s more possible this might have been concealed from Hamas. But even the secretive nature of such a disappearance would give rise to suspicion that he defected, rather than was kidnapped. And so, what benefit would this be to his family?
My Israeli security source says: ” “It’ll probably end in a plea deal, But Atawna will serve years in prison. After all, a terrorist defector is still a terrorist. And beside this – if we just let him go, Hamas will know for sure he betrayed them.”
This is where I lose faith either in the story being offered or in Israel’s treatment of Atawna. I suppose the proof will be in how the prosecution is conducted, how long his sentence is and how he is treated in prison. But one thing is for certain, if he goes anywhere in the Israeli prison system there will be hundreds of Hamas prisoners who will be happy to pay him back for his betrayal. Therefore, I don’t understand the Israeli decision to prosecute, even if they are trying to conceal his defection.
I’ve also considered the possibility that despite the information Atawna offered, he may’ve either betrayed the Shabak or done something of which they disapproved. His prosecution may be payback for that. Though this doesn’t seem a very strong possibility.
If he receives a light sentence and is isolated in the prison system to protect him from retaliation, then we will know the real truth of this story.
Israel announced today that it was investigating the murder of a young Palestinian mother and her teenage brother at the Qalandiya checkpoint. They were shot and killed by private security guards employed by the Public Security ministry. The guards, according to eyewitness accounts, were 60 feet away from the victims when they were mowed down, and not under any physical threat. The witnesses also claim the killers planted knives on their bodies after the murders.
Though the case is under gag order, I’ve discovered that the killers were employed by an Israeli private security company, Modiin Ezrachi (“Civilian Intelligence”). If you are an Israeli reader of this blog, no matter your politics, I urge you to call for accountability and a transparent investigation (which is highly unlikely). I am hoping to be able to identify the killer. But the gag order stands in my way at this time.