Let’s break another Israeli gag order, shall we?
A Turkish news agency reports that Israel’s Shin Bet arrested a Turkish citizen, Ebru Ozkan, age 27, at Ben Gurion, as she was about to board a flight home. As with all national security prisoners, she’s been denied the right to see her attorney and is undergoing interrogation that could very well include abuse, or even torture. Though a civilian, she’s been placed under the jurisdiction of an Israeli military court, which has almost no legal protections for such suspects.
The case in under judicial gag order in Israel, requested by the Shin Bet and rubber-stamped by the courts. Israeli media may not report about her case. Her lawyer made the following statement:
“My client was referred today to a military court in the city of Petah Tikva near Tel Aviv on charges of threatening Israel’s security and suspected affiliation with terrorist organizations.”
Under the definitions used by Israeli intelligence you may be affiliated with a terrorist organization if you smile at a stranger on the street who happens to have attended a Hamas rally. Essentially, if you did anything they suspect might have “nationalist” motives, you’re in hot water. And they can make virtually anything you do or say into whatever they wish.
Remember the poor Palestinian shlub who posted to Facebook “Good morning” along with a picture of himself standing in front of the earth mover he drove at work, which was mistranslated by one of the Israeli police’s cracker-jack Arabic translators as a threat to commit a terror attack? He was arrested and imprisoned too.
My hope is that since her imprisonment has only been extended for 24 hours instead of the usual three or seven days that this means they will release and/or deport her back to Turkey.
As I’ve written here, Turks are sympathetic to the plight of Palestinians, especially those in Gaza. They come to Israel either to worship at Al Aqsa or perhaps to engage in humanitarian relief work. Then they get mixed up in the larger conflict between Turkey’s dictator Erdogan and Israel’s autocrat, Netanyahu. The two seem engaged in a pissing contest to see whose pee goes farthest. It’s rooted in Erdogan’s purported support for Palestine and Israel’s disdain for both Palestine and any Muslim who voices support for Palestine.
In that context, any Turk the Israelis can arrest is viewed by the Shin Bet and Netanyahu as a poke in Erdogan’s eye. That’s why quite a few such individuals have been arrested in Israel, treated shabbily, and either imprisoned under trumped up charges or summarily deported. Israel, what a country!
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.