Israeli Secret Police Remove Gag Order, Claim Palestinian Mother, Humanitarian Aid Worker is Terror Financier
In my many years of reporting on and exposing the depredation of the Israeli Secret Police aka Shabak or Shin Bet, I’ve only rarely come across an arrest as ludicrous as the one they made last month. I reported yesterday that they arrested a Palestinian humanitarian aid worker, Aya Khatib. As of yesterday, she had appeared in court but no charges had been made publicly against her. Her job as a social welfare activist was to raise funds among Israeli Palestinians for the needy and homeless in Gaza. As such, she collected funds among Israeli Palestinians and used them on humanitarian projects in Israel and Gaza. According to a statement her attorney released:
Khatib was active on Facebook collecting donations for medical patients, particularly children from the West Bank and Gaza Strip who are treated in Israeli hospitals, and also for university students whose economic conditions prevented them from paying their tuition fees to universities
Just as Shabak criminalized the writing of poetry by arresting Dareen Tatour and imprisoning her for two years for writing a poem on Facebook, so it has criminalized raising funds via Facebook to aid the needy and the afflicted, if you’re Palestinian. The cruel irony of this is that in the Jewish tradition what Khatib did is considered the height of selfless devotion. But of course, that’s only for Jews. In today’s Israel there is no compassion reserved for anyone who isn’t Jewish.
When Khatib’s two children ran to embrace her in court the police and prosecutor objected. I suppose they might have passed her a gun or a bomb to use as a terror device. Thankfully, the judge decreed that this show of affection was permitted.
Today, less than 24 hours after publishing her name and picture here, thus violating the gag order, the Shabak has felt compelled to release a public statement outlining her alleged crimes. It reveals that she is 31 years old, married and has two children. The precise way the release described this was: “married 2+.” Conveniently eliding that she is a mother and turning her children into a number.
She was arrested on February 17th and has been under constant interrogation and physical abuse, without contact with counsel.
Shabak charges her with being a terror financier and “secret agent” for Hamas’ military wing. She is alleged to have siphoned “hundreds of thousands of shekels,” funds she was collecting for charity, and transferring it to Hamas militants, where it was dedicated to building “terror tunnels” (Israel’s term for them) and planning terror attacks. She’s also accused of bringing parts and “sensitive equipment” into Gaza which could be used for similar operations; along with monitoring IDF positions along the undemarcated “border.”
The Shabak statement also made a chutzpadik claim that in mounting this operation Hamas was “cynically exploiting the suffering” of Gazans for its own benefit. When in truth, the suffering of Gazans is the fault and responsibility of one party, and one party alone: Israel. If there was no siège, there would be no suffering. There would be no need for humanitarian assistance.
In this way, Israel can have its cake and eat it too: it can enforce an illegal unconscionable siege on Gaza, then use the suffering it generates to further criminalize those Palestinians seeking to ameliorate it. A diabolical, but totally Israeli method of causing suffering and then amplifying it.
Israeli media will no doubt credulously accept this untested narrative and perhaps even falsely declare that Khatib “confessed” or “acknowledged” her crimes. A hasbarist here in the comment threads has used such a false portrayal. In fact, even the Shabak statement does not claim she confessed; but rather that the interrogation “revealed” that she’d committed these crimes. In parsing the activities and claims of the Shabak it’s important to note these nuances of languages. You can hide a lot of lies in vague phrases like this.
I disbelieve these charges for a number of reasons: first, a 31 year-old mother with two children does not get herself involved in helping mount terror attacks; second, a humanitarian aid worker does not get involved in fomenting violent terror attacks; third (and most important), the Shabak has a long history of falsely charging Palestinian humanitarian aid workers with almost identical terror conspiracies. About a year ago, it arrested and charged such an individual working for an international aid organization funded by the Australian government, with embezzling funds and transferring them to Hamas for the same purpose.
There was a major problem with the Shabak charges: the aid organization stood by its employee, said he never had access to the amount of funds the Shabak claimed he’s stolen; that no funds were unaccounted for; and that it had investigated the charges and cleared him of wrongdoing. Similarly, the Australian government launched its own investigation to ensure its funds were being used appropriately. It too could not verify the Shabak charges and deemed them false.
The final reason the Shabak narrative fails: imagine Albert Schweitzer and Mother Theresa, not only raising funds to treat the poor and sick in African hospitals and Indian orphanages, but siphoning a few million off the top and handing it over the militants for them to buy weapons in order to overthrow the local or national government. Imagine Gandhi and Martin Luther King not only pursuing social and political justice through non-violence, but skimming donations off the top to build bombs and buy rifles to overthrow the British Raj or Southern Jim Crow. If these narratives make no sense to you, then the same claims about Khatib make no sense either. And if you believe that Khatib is a terrorist financier rather than a humanitarian hero, you have been reading Shabak press releases too long.
The underlying narrative here, which you will not read in any Israeli or foreign publication, is that Israel wants to strangle Gaza. It wants Gazans to suffer to the maximum. It believes that somehow doing this will loosen the grip of Hamas on the enclave; or impede its ability to engage in organized resistance to Israel. It’s also critical to shut off all outside support for Gaza from humanitarian groups and foreign governments.
In the longer term, Israel seeks to destroy the possibility that Gazans will be seen as refugees who are due protected legal status. Doing so absolves Israel of any long-term obligation either to support them or eventually accept them back to their former homes and communities under the Right of Return.
To that end, it’s critical that the Shabak criminalize aid to Gaza. That it smear both aid workers and their employers with charges of aiding and abetting terror. This is why Israel has engaged in such a vicious campaign to tarnish UNWRA; and the reason that the U.S. abandonment of the organization through defunding it and rejecting the international definition of Gazans as refugees under UN protocols, is so significant.
The final irony here is that the Shabak accuses a Palestinian aid worker of using her position to engage in acts of terror against Israel. If you look back only a year ago, the IDF’S special operations unit, Sayeret Matkal devised a similar operation. It infiltrated a commando unit into Gaza under the guise of being a humanitarian aid organization. Under such cover, it could travel around the enclave and plant sophisticated surveillance devices to monitor Hamas communications. Using such a cover, the IDF endangered the lives of legitimate aid workers and their activities. Not to mention, the 20 Gazans murdered when Hamas exposed the Israeli operation and the commandos were forced to flee with their lives.
What possible claim can such a nation make against someone like Khatib when it does the same or worse in pursuing its own interests? This is a bit of shameful hypocrisy.
8 thoughts on “Israeli Secret Police Remove Gag Order, Claim Palestinian Mother, Humanitarian Aid Worker is Terror Financier – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
Comments are published at the sole discretion of the owner.
‘… In this way, Israel can have its cake and eat it too: it can enforce an illegal unconscionable siege on Gaza, then use the suffering it generates to further criminalize those Palestinians seeking to ameliorate it. A diabolical, but totally Israeli method of causing suffering and then amplifying it…’
Tut, tut. Only an anti-Semite would talk like that. To be Israeli is diabolical?
You’d better tone it down, Richard. You wouldn’t want to be an anti-semite.
@ Colin Wright: If a good Jew like Bernie Sanders can be an “anti-Semite,” why not me too?
Just in case some humorless twit comes along and claims I admitted to being an anti-Semite, it’s satire stupid!
“Israeli media will no doubt credulously accept this untested narrative and perhaps even falsely declare that Khatib “confessed” or “acknowledged” her crimes. A hasbarist here in the comment threads has used such a false portrayal.”
Untrue. What I wrote was a direct quote, cut and paste, from YnetNews, which said that Ms KHatteb had “admitted during her questioning to having helped the terror group divert aid funds for terror projects and gather intelligence.”
Richard. Isn’t your ‘bully pulpit’ big enough, that you don’t have to make ‘straw men’ to beat on?
BTW, what distinguishes this case from the WorldView Australian charity case, is that here, Shabak has identified, by name, the two Hamas contacts Ms Khateeb had been in contact with.
You poor soul. Having to endure my savage tirades undefended. It must be very hard for you…
As for “beating on you,” that’s a bit harsh don’t you think? If you don’t like my treatment then I’d suggest you start being more careful with your claims, and paraphrasing articles more precisely.
As for the difference between this case and previous ones…naming Kahtib’s “accomplices” does not make them actual accomplices. It makes it yet another in a long list of claims, almost always unsupported by evidence or fact by the secret police. Her accomplices could be anyone they dig up from anywhere.
BTW, I reported years ago on an Israeli Palestinian sentenced to 9 years in prison. His crime? He had breakfast during an environmental conference in Amman with a landscape designer who Shabak claimed was a Hezbollah Operative. So that’s all it takes with the Shabak: have breakfast with the wrong guy; go to prison for 9 years. Proof the Jordanian was a Hezbollah agent? Lacking. There’s a motto: don’t believe everything you hear. With the Shabak it’s: don’t believe anything you hear, see, or read.
I wonder how they picked her from the tens of thousands of other arabs in israel. i guess it’s a lottery system.
@ qedo: If your comment was just cynical snark meant to be satire it would be one thing. But the fact that you think there are “tens of thousands of arabs [sic] in israel” shows you are ignorant. Also wondering why you can’t be bothered to capitalize the words “Arab” and “Israel.”
“Breakfast with a landscape designer”?
Ameer Makhoul signed a plea bargain with the prosecution, in which he admitted to contacting a foreign agent, conspiring to assisting an enemy in a time of war, and aggravated espionage for Hezbollah.
The indictment against Makhoul says he met with Hezbollah agents during his travels and, on at least 10 separate ocassions, handed them information on the location of Mossad and Rafael facilities. He also attempted, unsuccessfully, to gain knowledge of the Shin Bet chief’s residence.
As far as the claims of torture go, the State Prosecutor said, “There were also unfounded rumors about wrongful means allegedly used by the Shin Bet and police in order to extract a false confession. In the final admission before the court the defendant puts an end to these rumors and clarifies beyond a doubt that his confession is real.”
@ Lemonade: “Please,” yourself. Here’s how plea bargains work for Palestinians. You can do a deal and get out in 10 years. If you do a deal, you admit guilt. It is no reflection of reality or truth. It is merely a deal done cynically (on the Israeli side) to spare you from spending the rest of your life in prison.
If you refuse a deal because you’re innocent and will not admit guilt…well, good luck to you. You remain pure as the driven snow in your own mind and your family’s. But the Shabak will keep you in jail forever. You’ll never get out. And they can (and will) do this. Dirar Abu Sisi, a proud, stubborn and courageous man, resisted a plea deal for four years. During which his health deteriorated seriously. Finally, he was ground into the ground having lost half his body weight and with serious maladies, and agreed to a deal. He too admitted that he was ‘Hamas’ rocket engineer’ even though he knew absolutely nothing about rockets. My research and the expert witnesses called on his behalf proved the charges were a sham. But hey, Abusisi is an admitted rocket engineer and it says clear as day on the legal papers that he was. But he wasn’t. Everyone knows he wasn’t: Shabak knows, the judge knows, his family knows. You apparently don’t, because you’re a credulous hasbarist.
So don’t get me started on the system of prostitution of justice that is the Israeli court system. It’s a racket the Shabak has got going. Like Moloch, it needs sacrificial victims to feed the beast and poor folks like Khatib, Makhoul and Abusisi are the ones fed to this proverbial lion. They’re the expendable ones Shabak needs in order to keep Israelis believing they need secret police like them to protect them from the “Arab hordes.”
As for Makhoul, what was his real offense? He was a political activist and Palestinian nationalist. He didn’t meet Hassan Jaja 10 times. He met with him one time, as I wrote, at a conference in Amman, where he had breakfast with the man. That’s it. And you’d better believe that I know more about this case than you, Ynet and almost any Israeli. I also know the lies that were spun in prosecuting it.
The real reason they went after Makhoul? The then-Shabak chief said explicitly that such political leaders were a threat to the nation and he was going to pursue them and destroy them in order to protect the state. What did they do to deserve their fate? Plant bombs? Surveil IDF installations? Utter bullshit. But this sham case was the result. Makhoul knew no more about spying on Israel than he knew the correct numbers to win the lottery.
So please stop peddling bullshit here. I researched the Makhoul case. I wrote many posts about it. So you’re not gonna piss on my back and tell me its rain. Got that?
Don’t publish another comment in this thread.