Bibi Netanyahu took the unprecedented step, one which I don’t ever recall a previous prime minister taking regarding a specific security detainee, of publicly defending Israel’s extraordinary rendition of Dirar Abusisi. He did so deliberately according to Amir Oren in Haaretz in an interview filled with softball questions and self-serving, hasbarist answers before an international audience assembled by a Youtube program called World View. Here is what he said about Abusisi:
Asked about a Palestinian engineer who disappeared in Ukraine and later surfaced in an Israeli jail, Netanyahu said, “He is a Hamas member, held legally in Israeli detention.” Netanyahu added, “He delivered important information,” without elaborating.
The prime minister is clearly bluffing his way through this exercise. The only reason he’s taken this question is that he feels the need to justify the kidnapping, which no nation or international body outside Israel (and Ukraine and Jordan who are implicated as collaborators) considers justified. There is some sort of brewing pressure against the Mossad adventure that has made him feel it necessary to explain Israel’s position, weak as it is, to the world.
Further, I believe he’s lying about Abusisi being a Hamas member and I strongly doubt the latter’s delivering any information of any value on any subject pertinent to Israel.
I’m not sure whether it’s the looming threat of formal complaints to UN bodies or Ukrainian legal action or the possibility that this will be followed by recourse to the European Court of Human Rights once Ukrainian jurisdiction is exhausted. Whatever the reason, I think Bibi’s feeling the heat. And the heat will only increase as the case continues.
Though the Abusisi question is being widely covered in world media, I could only find the question in the Hebrew language video above at the 21:00 mark. It comes in the context of a question about what the government is doing to free Gilad Shalit. The interviewer allows Bibi to infer that the Palestinian’s kidnapping has something to do with freeing Shalit (which his attorney denied flat out yesterday). I’m guessing that Bibi’s press office deliberately translated this portion of the interview both to showcase what the government is allegedly doing on Shalit’s behalf and also to defend an act that threatens to become an increasing international liability to Israel.
This article first appeared at Tikun Olam