Yousef Abusisi, Dirar’s brother, tells me that after the latter left Gaza he traveled to Egypt, and then boarded a Jordanian flight to Kiev that had a 5 hour Amman stopover. During the layover, Jordanian intelligence agents refused to allow him to board the connecting flight. They held him overnight at the airport. Then he stayed at his father’s home in Amman for another six days until they allowed him to exit the country. Before they did, he was required to check in at a Jordanian intelligence office every day. On one day, he was forced to remain there for ten hours.
When he finally left Jordan, the intelligence services monitored him closely wanting to be sure the “package” was delivered to Ukraine intact.
I think we can reasonably speculate on what happened while he was detained in Jordan and why. The Mossad contacted Jordanian security at some point after he left Gaza and informed them that Abusisi was either a Hamas terrorist on a mission or that he was at the least a high-security risk. Mossad asked Jordan to detain him. What we don’t know is what happened between the two security services while Dirar was in Jordan. Either they were trying to agree what to do with him (possibly detain him and ship him directly to Israel from Jordan); or planning his kidnapping once he arrived in Ukraine.
I’m guessing that given the strength of the Jordanian opposition and Muslim Brotherhood, that Jordan couldn’t afford to directly render Abisisi to the Mossad from Jordan. It would simply be too embarrassing and arouse too much anger for the intelligence services to be collaborating so closely with the Israelis. But that seven-day interval would allow Israeli agents in Ukraine to set up their safe house, arrange for the plane that would spirit him to Israel, and negotiate with Ukrainian authorities about what would happen to Dirar while there.
All of which means that now we have not one, but two foreign countries deeply implicated in the Abusisi extraordinary rendition. And one of the countries is Arab, which throws an entirely new wrinkle on the project. Before, somehow having just Israel and Ukraine implicated it was a bit more distant. But now, a Palestinian was betrayed by a fellow Arab nation. It gets a lot more complicated both for the Jordanians themselves and for their relations with Palestinians both inside and outside the Kingdom.
It indicates a high level of “cooperation” (aka “collusion”) between Mossad and Jordanian intelligence that certainly would be disturbing to many of the 70% of the Jordanian population of Palestinian origin. It also opens Jordan up to charges that it too, like Ukraine, violated international law by participating in the plot to kidnap him, even if they may not have known specifically what would happen to Dirar once he arrived there.
Yousef also told me that after Dirar left Jordan the latter was haunted and had a strong suspicion that something was being planned, though he didn’t know what.
Yousef also believes that the Palestinian embassy in Ukraine was at least partially implicated in the plot, after the fact. After Dirar disappeared, Veronika and Yousef went to the embassy seeking help. Instead of actively doing so, the embassy took the line of Ukrainian officials who’d told them to remain silent and not publicize the then-disappearance. The Palestinian embassy officials promised they would do everything in their power to find Dirar, but did nothing. This was the result of the Ukrainian effort as well. This Voice of America article in Russian indicates that both the Ukrainians and Palestinian officials there continued to maintain their studied indifference as both refused to comment to VOA after a press conference Veronika held today.
So now you actually have an official Palestinian government entity that at least tacitly collaborated with the kidnapping as well. It just gets seamier and seamier.
It seems to me the Jordanian intelligence services have a lot to answer for. For those who read Arabic, there is a report in the Jordanian opposition newspaper Assabeel about Dirar’s experience in Jordan. It isn’t fully accurate, but mostly so in the broad outline of events.
One thing is important, no matter how many countries were involved and no matter how sleazy their involvement, this factor must not be used by Israel to lessen the scrutiny and opprobrium that accords to Israel’s secret police for their role as authors of this nasty business. Israel would love to point to all the other countries involved to say that they too agreed with their assessment that Abusisi was a terrorist or whatever the claim might be. That would somehow lessen the blame on Israel. But we mustn’t let the intelligence apparatus get away with laying blame elsewhere. Blame lies fully on Israel for this despicable act.
The other parties mentioned above behaved reprehensibly and violated their commitments under international law. But they are co-conspirators, not the authors of the crime. Israel takes sole credit for that.
The VOA report also notes that Veronika is concerned for her own safety and has hired two security guards from a private company to guard her in case Ukrainian security services seek to intimidate or harm her in any way.
Originally published at Tikun Olam