UPDATE: Middle East Eye just published my latest piece about the J Street national conference. Though the event garnered glowing media coverage because Bernie Sanders delivered the supposedly radical proposal to siphon off some of the $4-billion in U.S. aid sent to Israel every year in order to offer support to suffering Gaza, not enough attention has been given to J Street’s deep inadequacies. Please give a read and promote it on social media platforms.
Today, Israel’s Shabak released two Jordanian-Palestinian citizens after two months of administrative detention without trial. The Israeli secret police would have held them indefinitely, but the prime minister was faced with a possible severing of relations with Jordan. As a result, Netanyahu forced Shabak’s hand and demanded their release. As I reported earlier from a well-informed Israeli source, in taking this intransigent position, the security agency had gotten itself up a tree and couldn’t find a way to climb down. Given the tenuous relations between the two countries, the PM recognized he couldn’t afford to cause yet another breakdown with a neighboring Arab state.
As I noted, there are numerous errors in media coverage. Israeli media have only reported that the detainees were Jordanian citizens. Actually, they are dual Jordanian-Palestinian nationals. The idea that a Palestinian citizen could be arrested by Israel for entering Palestine is yet another affront to Palestinian dignity.
Shabak has alleged that the prisoners had committed serious security offenses. Haaretz now reveals that those security breaches involved posting social media content supporting Palestinian rights; and meeting a presenter for Al Nour radio, which is owned by Hezbollah, during a visit to Beirut.
My source had told me that she was a low-level Hezbollah associate. I was dubious about this claim since Jordanian intelligence has no tolerance for Hezbollah operating on its soil. So now it appears that my source was stretching things quite a bit. The two appear to have had no affiliation with Hezbollah other than a single meeting. During their detention, the couple was tortured according to procedures standard for interrogating Palestinian security suspects. This is nothing new, unfortunately.
In a similar manner, Israeli media are reporting with ‘deep shock’ that one of the key witnesses in the Netanyahu corruption investigation was given rough handling by Israeli police. What was the rough handling? Physical torture? Threatening one’s children or spouse? Hardly. The extent of the abuse involved confronting Hefetz with the woman with whom he was having an affair, and warning that the police would expose his personal life if he didn’t cooperate.
The well-informed source mentioned above tells me that then-national police commander, Roni Alsheikh, brought with him interrogation techniques used by his former agency, the Shabak. He insisted that if these protocols could be used against Palestinians, that Jewish suspects should not be spared them either. Now of course, the Israeli Jewish media is howling with displeasure that what is good for the Palestinian goose is bad for the Israeli Jewish gander.
Similarly, the Israeli Supreme Court threw out the confession of the Jewish terrorist who murdered the Dawabshe family because Shabak used the same techniques it employed against Palestinian terror suspects. It’s OK to “work over” Palestinians. But heaven forfend you mistreat our Jewish boys, even if their hands are dripping the blood of Palestinian babies. Dare I say that the hypocrisy is outrageous?
Rule of law? Due process? Equal justice before the law? Don’t make me laugh.