A few days ago the Association for Civil Rights in Israel appealed the gag order on the Dirar Abusisi case and the Petah Tikvah judge ruled in their favor partially. But it’s a very small victory since the main part of the gag stays in place. Israeli media cannot report on those aspects of the case most critical to reporters, the Israel public and the victim. It says “the details of the investigation and the circumstances of the arrest” may not be reported for another 30 days.
The most that can be said is that this arouses an enfeebled Israeli press which has mostly steered clear of the story as it’s developed as if is had a case of AIDS. Haaretz’s security correspondent, Yossi Melman and others reported it today, of course entirely omitting the original reporting of this blog. Melman didn’t add anything new in his report in today’s Haaretz. Though he did introduce an error by saying that Veronika Abusisi is in Gaza with her six children. She is not, but in rather in Ukraine, where I presume she needed to be as part of her husband’s application for Ukrainian citizenship.
Israel’s Channel 10 security correspondent Alon Ben David reports the totally unsubstantiated claim that Abusisi is a “senior Hamas operative.” But well-placed sources within Gaza report to me that this is false. This is what was reported to me:
Abusisi is not politically aligned or active and he’s not really well-known in Gaza. One person there believes that Israel wants information and when it gets it they will release him.
Another source told me that Abusisi has held his position since the days of PA rule of Gaza. So in other words, he is not a political appointee, but a technocrat who was held over by Hamas because he is good at his profession and a critical worker for the power plant.
According to a source knowledgable about the issue of fuel oil for the plant, the success in Gaza has been to mix solar industrial gasoline from Israel, which costs about 6 shekels with non-industrial Egyptian solar which is smuggled in and which costs 1.7 shekels. This increases Egypt’s profit and reduces Israel’s. It has also reduced the cost to the consumer by 40%.
If you add to this that Abusisi and his colleagues have succeeded in bringing two turbines destroyed by Israel back online, now three of the four original ones are working. If you add to this the steep decline in the price of fuel, it’s possible this might be some motivation for Israeli intelligence, which wishes to disrupt everyday life in the ghetto, throw a spanner in the works.
There are other sources within Israel I respect who, while they do not know precisely what happened to Abusisi, do not believe that his apprehension was connected to his professional work. So since the security services wish to maintain the shroud of secrecy over this case, the best we can do at present is present educated guesses.
Yousef Abusisi, Dirar’s brother tells me that his grandfather came from the Negev village of Houj, within the 1948 boundaries of Israel. Before the war, the townspeople were supportive of the Haganah and even hid operatives from arrest by Egyptian and British forces. But after the war began, the residents were driven out and not allowed to return. Though Ben Gurion objected to their expulsion, he pointedly refused to allow them to return.
From Houj, the Abusisi family fled to Gaza. Eventually, Dirar’s father brought the family to Jordan where he was raised.
This is the recompense Palestinians receive who befriended the pre-State Jewish forces. They are expelled during the Nakba, and then one of their sons is kidnapped by Israeli intelligence with the collusion of a dirty Ukrainian intelligence apparatus. Let it not be said that Israel doesn’t repay the loyalty of its Palestinian citizens, nay by a hundred fold.
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.