מקור ביטחוני: השב”כ עשה עסקה עם הפרופסור הטורקי ג’מיל טקלי כדי להפליל את דרע’אם ג’בארין, תושב אום אל-פחם
مصدر أمني: الشاباك عقد صفقة مع البروفيسور التركي جميل تكلي بهدف الإيقاع بضرغام جبارين من أم الفحم
Israel’s Shabak security agency is tasked with protecting the Israeli public from Palestinian attacks. Sometimes it does that and sometimes it just makes it up. Tonight’s story is somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.
A little context: Israel and Turkey for decades had an exceedingly close relationship involving high level military collaboration. But that was under secular Turkish governments. When the current Islamist government came to power that began to change. The breaking point came when the Turks sent a humanitarian relief vessel, the Mavi Marmara to break Israel’s siege of Gaza. After ten Turks were brutally murdered by Israeli commandos, Turkey broke off relations, demanded an apology and compensation for the victims’ families. After years of negotiations brokered at least in part by the U.S., Israel did apologize and paid $20-million for its crime. Turkey promised to send aid to Gaza and end the siege, though it has failed on the latter score.
That brought a short respite: relations were resumed. But they never returned to the level they were before the Mavi Marmara massacre. Pres. Erdogan, after a coup attempt, became even more hardline than he had been previously. One of the subjects on which he hardened his positions was Israel-Palestine.
Though there’s little evidence he’s invested a great deal of attention or funding in supporting Gaza, Bibi Netanyahu is always on the lookout for enemies he can rattle before the Israeli public. And Shabak, always eager to justify its ever-growing security budget, is only to ready to find enemies–ones that are real or ones that may be invented.
Over the past few months, a number of Turkish citizens making visits to Palestine have been arrested for unspecified security violations. The first two were arrested in East Jerusalem. After the Turkish government made strong protests they were released and deported. But the next group arrested was not as lucky.
Two Turks were arrested last month by Shabak. One was the director of a Turkish cultural center in Israel and the other was a law professor, Cemil Tekeli. The former was released a few hours after his arrest. But Tekeli remained in custody for nearly a month.
According to a confidential Israeli security source who reported to me that Tekeli was made an offer: inform on your ‘terror comrades’ or rot in prison for an extended period of time. The source writes:
“Shabak made a deal with Tekeli: He will give it enough info to indict [Israeli-Palestinian] Dergham Jabareen, and it will release him without charge and send him back to Turkey”.
The source claims Tekeli testified to his interrogators about an alleged terror cell which transferred funds from Turkey to Hamas in the West Bank. His narrative conveniently ties some of the funds to an official Turkish government entity. This comes in mighty handy when Israel can paint the Turkish government as a funder of terrorism. It’s the same modus operandi it uses in attacking Iran, and the same one Saudi Arabia uses in attacking Qatar. It’s a tired old bit hypocritical flimflammery, because neither Turkey nor Qatar are any more guilty of engaging in terror themselves or funding it, than their accusers–Israel and Saudi Arabia respectively.
Though news reports use the word “terror” to portray the plot, claiming they were meant to raise a “Palestine Army,” they also note that the funds were meant for the period after Mahmoud Abbas leaves office as leader of the Palestinian Authority. Even if it is true that Hamas was seeking to fund the creation of its own national army, that’s no different from what Netanyahu’s political mentors, Yitzhak Shamir and Menachem Begin did when they tried to land the Alta Lena in Tel Aviv harbor. What was good for the Israeli goose isn’t good for the Palestinian gander apparently.
Shabak further adds that some members of this plot allegedly visited a Turkish weapons exhibition at which they viewed advanced drones. Frankly, I fail to see how an activity Israeli military personnel engage in virtually every week becomes criminal when Hamas or its Turkish allies do it. What does Shabak think Israel does with its own drones? Fly them like kites in the local parks? No, it uses them to spy on Israeli enemies and kill them sometimes.
Tekeli also allegedly helped Hamas operatives in Turkey establish commercial companies which were used as fronts for this military purchasing and activity. He signed his own name on corporate documents that made him a front for Hamas. In none of these accusations does Shabak indicate a motive: why did Tekeli do this? Out of ideology, greed? Or was he a cut-out for the Turkish government itself?
There is a contradiction, possibly a fatal one, here: Abbas is a political leader. When he steps down there will be a political process to replace him. Naturally, Hamas would want to play a role in this process. That would tend to mean that any funds being raised would be for political purposes. It would be only too convenient for the Shabak to conflate political organizing with terrorism. Because in essence it views any political activity by Palestinians as state subversion.
The only way this can become a genuine terror plot is if you argue that Hamas intended to violently topple the PA with an armed insurrection; or if it intended to engage in acts of terrorism against the PA. There is no mention at all of what sorts of acts of terror the group planned. Nor is there any mention of actual weapons. Where are the drones, the guns, etc. these millions were intended to purchase? A plot like this so thinly portrayed by Shabak leaves me profoundly skeptical about everything involved, including what specifically the plot involved that was terror-related.
My other great cause for skepticism is that Tekeli is a professor of law at a Turkish University. Frankly, I’ve never heard of law professors moonlighting as terror operatives in their spare time. Not only does this seem odd, the idea that a man steeped in the law would take up armed resistance is far-fetched at best. So pardon me, but I don’t buy it. There may be some sort of association among all or some of these individuals. They may’ve organized for certain purposes which Shabak deems dangerous or threatening. But I strongly doubt the narrative offered by the Shabak and Israeli journalists faithfully reporting their master’s voice.
Further, why would a Turkish citizen so deeply enmeshed in such a Hamas plot have traveled to Israel where he could be captured by Shabak? That part of the narrative also makes no sense.
The real victim here is an Israeli Palestinian who was allegedly fingered by Tekeli’s confession. Unlike Tekeli, he has no foreign government lobbying on his behalf. In fact, his own government treats him as a Hamas terrorist. The book will be thrown at him. He’ll spend many years in Israeli prisons. He’ll get out just when his peers are enjoying their grandchildren. Nor will anyone really know what precisely he did that was so dangerous and threatening. Shabak, like the Canadian Mounties, always get their man–whether the man is guilty or not.