ISSN 2330-717X

Ukraine-Israel Quid Pro Quo: Abusisi Extraordinary Rendition in Return for Free Trade Agreement


The Ukrainian government has tipped its hand regarding what may’ve bought its cooperation in the extraordinary rendition of Dirar Abusisi from its territory last month to a Shabak dungeon inside Israel.  During a meeting with Avigdor Lieberman, Nicolai Azarov, Ukraine’s prime minister said:

The Prime Minister of Ukraine noted that he urged the Israel to speed up development of all necessary documents in order to introduce the FTA by year-end between Ukraine and Israel.

“I urge Israel to take the next step after the abolition of visa regime between our countries that we try together and could complete the negotiations on a Free Trade Area by the end of year” – stressed Mykola [Nicolai] Azarov. He noted that it would intensify the economic relations between Ukraine and Israel.

In turn, Avigdor Lieberman said that bilateral relations between Ukraine and Israel have developed a very high level. “We hope that this year will be done significant breakthrough not onlyin our political, but also in economic relations “ – he said.

Azarov during his Israel visit: expressing more sympathy for victims of Holocaust and cancer than Palestinian victims of his own security services

Of course, the one element that was left out of this statement was the intensification of security cooperation between the two nations, a factor that was emphasized in Yossi Melman’s report which I quoted in a post a few days ago.

We will watch with great interest for Israel’s agreement and ratification of the FTA.  That would tell us a lot about the quid pro quo for this egregious violation of international law.  It would also indicate how little value Ukraine places on human rights, especially of non-citizens; and that it places a far higher value on commerce.

Dirar now has a new private lawyer.  She is Smadar Ben Natan, a veteran Israeli human rights attorney who has defended some of the most prominent Israeli Jewish and Palestinian security detainees.  She has been refused contact by prison authorities with her client currently, but is hoping to have her first meeting with him on March 22nd.  In a comment in the threads yesterday, Veronika Abusisi, Dirar’s wife wrote that his remand was likely to be extended.  This is common in security cases, which gives the Shabak longer time to interrogate the victim and extract information often while denying him access to his attorney.

This article first appeared at Tikun Olam

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Richard Silverstein

Richard Silverstein is an author, journalist and blogger, with articles appearing in Haaretz, the Jewish Forward, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian’s Comment Is Free, Al Jazeera English, and Alternet. His work has also been in the Seattle Times, American Conservative Magazine, Beliefnet and Tikkun Magazine, where he is on the advisory board. Check out Silverstein's blog at Tikun Olam, one of the earliest liberal Jewish blogs, which he has maintained since February, 2003.

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