Israeli Justice Endorses Continued Abuse of Dirar Abusisi

Richard Silverstein |

Israeli Mossad agents collaborating with Ukrainian authorities kidnapped Gaza civil engineer Dirar Abusisi on a Ukrainian train nearly two years ago. He was spirited to a Kiev apartment and by some accounts drugged and shipped in a coffin to Israel. There he was imprisoned under sham charges that he was Hamas’ chief “rocket engineer.” He has languished in solitary confinement without trial during that period.

Over the past months, his Israeli attorney, Tal Linoy has appealed to the Supreme Court demanding the right to see all evidence the State has against his client. He has also appealed his isolation from other Palestinian detainees, which is a punitive response to his refusal to agree to a State offer plea bargain which would force him to admit guilt and confine him to prison for a ten-year sentence.

The Israeli regional court last month, approved a six month extension of his prison isolation (the third such extension granted) on the grounds that the State’s evidence, which the defense was denied access to, marked the prisoner as someone who poses a danger to the State. It argued that releasing him into the general prison population would endanger state security, an argument patently fraudulent on its face. Will he use his special engineering skills to build hand-made missiles that will be smuggled from prison on Hamas’ behalf? Or perhaps he’ll build an explosive device that will destroy the prison and allow a mass prison break?

There are those who seek to argue that the Israeli judiciary exists to maintain the rule of law and correct injustices done. Clearly, this claim is unfounded. Israeli justice exists to ratify the worst excesses of the national security state. Keep in mind that what evidence the State has offered has been thoroughly discredited by this blog, a BBC documentary, and an investigative report published in a Kiev newspaper.

All this comes in the midst of an agreement Israel signed with its Palestinian political prisoners which granted them family visits and prohibited the State from placing them in solitary confinement. This agreement applied to everyone…including Abusisi. Yet now the State chooses to ignore this fact and pretend the agreement doesn’t exist. So far, the Israeli justice system refuses to intervene and uphold the agreement.

The detainee suffers from painful kidney stones, dangerously high blood pressure, anemia, and other serious ailments. A year before his detention he suffered a serious heart attack. The Israeli prison service has refused to allow him to be treated by medical specialists and confined him to taking aspirin. Even the service’s psychiatrist has conceded he is suffering from severe depression, a fact which the Shin Bet denied before the judge. A specialist appointed by the defense, after examining the prisoner, found that his medical treatment fell below standards demanded by Israeli law.

In any real democracy where there was rule of law, Abusisi could appeal his treatment and demand release. In Israel, even with its vaunted Supreme Court which supposedly upholds society’s democratic values, Abusisi receives little consideration.

Gaza media note that the Hamas minister for prisoners has appealed to Egypt to adopt Abusisi’s plight and gain his release. Tal Linoy tells me that this appeal is a cynical ploy on the part of Hamas, which has essentially abandoned Abusisi to his fate. The reasons for this are complicated, but were alluded to in Gabriel Gatehouse’s BBC documentary in which a Hamas representative essentially offered Abusisi a cold kiss-off. Hamas’ refusal to support him is evidence alone of the falsity of the Israeli government claims that Abusisi played any role on behalf of the Islamist group. Can you imagine why, for example, in the agreement to release 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in return for Gilad Shalit, Hamas refused to include Abusisi among those it sought to release?

I speculate that Abusisi had been approached while still in Gaza to join Hamas and collaborate with it (he was deputy director of the local power plant at the time). When he refused, he fled Gaza to the Ukraine. To get revenge, Hamas conveyed false information to the Mossad that Abusisi knew the location of Gilad Shalit, who at the time remained imprisoned in Gaza. Thinking they had a sure-fire way to locate Shalit and gain his freedom, they arranged for his kidnapping in Ukraine and forced return to Israel.

When they discovered that they’d been “had” by Hamas, the Shin Bet could not quietly let the matter drop. Saving face is a critical factor not just in “primitive” Arab culture (as Israelis are wont to claim), but in Israel’s national security state as well. The secret police do not generally admit mistakes unless compelled to do so. In this case, the only ones who know the truth aren’t in a position to threaten the prerogatives of those who made this blunder. So Abusisi languishes for years in an Israeli dungeon, abandoned by Israeli justice and by the rulers of his native Gaza who he “betrayed” by refusing to serve them.

Dirar Abusisi is a hero, a proud man who refuses to serve two masters, ones in Gaza and now those in Israel. He will not bend. This is the greatest crime he has committed. He has offended the security services, denied their supremacy, and defied them. In the national security state this is a supreme offense. He may suffer permanent damage to his health. He may not see his six children and wife Veronica for many years. But for him honor and dignity are supreme values. He puts his Israeli torturers and tormentors to shame. He puts the Israeli justice system to shame. He puts all those who betrayed him to shame.