חשיפה: מסבאח אבו סבייח, מבצע הפיגוע בירושלים, היה משת”פ של השב”כ
حصري: مصباح ابو صبيح، منفذ عملية القدس، كان عميلا للمخابرات الاسرائيلية
The above video shows the final minute of Misbah Abu Sbeih’s life after he was cornered by Israeli police, who killed him in a hail of bullets.
I want to especially thank two Israelis who noticed that something didn’t quite smell right about Israeli reporting on today’s terror attack in which a Palestinian gunman opened fire on Israelis wounding four and killing two. Usually in such attacks, the press report all the facts immediately including the identity of the gunman, his home village and a few personal details. But in this case, the press didn’t report the killer’s name. Abu Sbeih was a 39 year-old from Silwan, the East Jerusalem village under siege by Israeli settlers intent of Judaizing it by expelling its current residents house by house.
The first word I received when I inquired was that a gag is normal procedure in terror attacks. But at that point my source inquired further and realized that such a gag was not normal. In fact, the last such gag order was imposed in the case of Nasha’at Milhem, whose father was a Shabak informer. Milhem, who came very close to killing the Shabak agent who “ran” his father, was motivated by revenge against the agency. The gag order was invoked to protect Shabak from the embarrassing revelation that its own collaborator’s family had exacted revenge against it, and that innocent civilians were murdered because of the actions of a Shabak spymaster.
The case of Abu Sbeih has a similar outcome, but the details leading to it aren’t the same. In his case, he was tasked by the Shabak with infiltrating the Murabitun, the Palestinian activist group which arose in response to the Israeli crackdown on Muslim access to the Haram al Sharif. The Murabitun were the most prominent among the Palestinian community and became the backbone of opposition. Naturally, any spy agency would want access to such a group. Abu Sbeih was Shabak’s ticket in.
But Shabak didn’t bargain for Hamas discovering his activity. When they did, they offered him two choices, according to my Israeli security source: either face execution as a collaborator or exact revenge on those who persuaded him to betray his people. Hamas promised him that if he chose to attack Israelis they would recognize him as a shaheed and his betrayal would never be mentioned. He chose the latter. When the militants learned he’d agreed to the attack they provided him with the automatic weapon he used in the shooting spree.
When you recruit a collaborator you place him in grave danger. If exposed, you have signed his death warrant. That is what happened in this case. Shabak pressured Abu Sbeih to inform for them, then left him exposed. The only question was how would he die: at the hands of Palestinian avengers or Israeli police?
The day before the attack, Abu Sbeih gave a detailed interview to Maan News offering a far different explanation: he told the reporter that he’d suffered ongoing harrassment from the Israeli police, was threatened with administrative detention, had been imprisoned for a Facebook post. Finally, he told the reporter he planned to report to the Ramleh police station the next day to begin serving a jail sentence for his activism. Instead, he launched his assault.
My guess is that the interview was an elaborate ruse to throw the Shabak off the trail. They would think he was going to behave himself like a nice little boy. All the while he was plotting a terror attack. The interview guaranteed his tormentors would be lulled into quiescence.
The dead were First Sgt. Yosef Kirme, 30 ( a member of the riot police unit), and a woman, Levanah Malichi, 60. It is no coincidence that the attack happened during the High Holidays. This is the period last year during which Israeli police began denying Muslim access to the Haram al Sharif. As a result, a third Intifada broke out which has so far taken over 200 Palestinian lives and nearly 40 Israeli.
Another interesting aspect of this case is that the attacker chose Jerusalem police headquarters on Jerusalem’s Ammunition Hill as the target of his attack. If his claim that the police were harassing him and compelling him to report for a prison sentence, he may’ve been angry that his role as informant didn’t offer him protection from such persecution. So his attack may’ve been directed specifically at his tormentors, the police. A second possibility is that there are Shabak offices in the police HQ and he may’ve been killing two birds with one stone by attacking it.
Thanks to the Israeli nanny state, Israelis cannot know any of these details (here’s a typical Israeli censored report). The closest a mainstream journalist can get to the truth is the vague hints in this Yossi Melman article. Undoubtedly, he knows some or all of what I know. Now compare what I’ve written to what he’s written & see what censorship does to Israeli media and society. Israelis can’t even know Abu Sbeih’s name, lest some reporter figure out something that might lead to his role as collaborator and further embarrass the Shabak.
Final note: My source says that Hamas militants discovered Abu Sbeih’s betrayal. I have not been able to confirm independently the affiliation of those who exposed the attacker. I note that blaming Hamas for this incident would prove that Hamas is still engaging in terror attacks. This is a narrative that’s favorable to the Israeli intelligence apparatus and the far-right government, which seeks to criminalize Hamas. So I’m slightly leery of this aspect of the information my source provided. But confident in all the rest.
Uri Breitman says
Thanks for another important story. It’s amazing that Shabak wants to block the information, after all the artciles, posts and twitts about the guy in the last 2 years.
Collaborator or not, the gag order is appropriate.
This guy wasn’t some goof ball kid with a knife. He was a ‘made man’, with all sorts of contacts with militant organizations. Where did he get the firearm he used to murder these two Israelis? From Hamas or from the criminal underworld. Why tip anybody off?
Shin Bet needs to sort out who to target in their investigation. The gag order is one tool at their disposal.
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Kyle Renner says
Yawn. Another boring attack that’s really nothing but ad hominem.
John F. says
Why don’t you also comment on the attack itself (and use the word murder instead of kill) and more about the the victims, showing pictures of them with their family instead?
Kyle Renner says
Yawn. They weren’t “murdered”. An occupation police officer and a Palestinian-hating “settler” in East Jerusalem?
Not murdered. I would say they got what they got due to their implicit and explicit support of a apparatus that murders, steals from, and abuses Palestinians in far greater numbers and to a much more severe degree.
I don’t want to ever see pictures of the dead cop. No sympathy for the “settler” either, even if she was a “senior citizen”.
Go away, nasty little hypocrite.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Kyle Renner: I have trouble applauding the killing of anyone here. Even someone guilty of propagating an evil Occupation regime. Let’s tone that down.
If Kyle and Toivio, applauding the death of others and dancing on their blood, are your supporters, and while blocking the comments of other you only ask them to “tone that down”, shame on them and shame on you.
“If Kyle and Toivio, applauding the death of others and dancing on their blood, are your supporters, and while blocking the comments of other you only ask them to “tone that down”, shame on them and shame on you.”
Please point out where in their posts Kyle and ToivoS were “applauding the death of others and dancing on their blood”. Thanks.
When an occupying soldier dies in combat that is not called murder, it is killed in action.
Richard Silverstein says
@ John F: when you use the word ‘murder’ when unarmed Palestinian civilians are murdered by Israeli hired guns &/or police or IDF soldiers, then I’ll consider it. Till then, nice try.
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John F. says
I do use the word murder if that happens. But you use it to include Israel killing a terrorist. So your use of the terms murder and kill are the opposite of mine. When innocent Israelis are murdered, you’ll use the word killed, because of your overall interpretation of the conflict (i.e. old lady walking down the street is an occupying settler etc) but when the terrorist himself is killed you’ll use the term murdered (i.e. he’s just haplessly reacting to/resisting the occupation and is in a sense the real victim in the attack, hence your use of the word murder and general reversal of criminal and victim stemming from your (in my opinion!) twisted view of the situation.
Richard Silverstein says
@John F: I use the term “murder” when 40,000 Palestinians are killed by Israel since 1948 compared to roughly 6,000 Israelis killed by Palestinians. That disroportion & Israel’s massive superior weapons lethality, & the huge proportion of civilian dead indicares a willful campaign of murder.
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