Ameer Makhoul is being indicted for the crime of searching locations at Google Earth, amongst other things. If there was need to prove that Makhoul’s arrest is a scheme by Israel’s General Security Services and its Director Yuval Diskin – the proof is here.
The indictment against Dr. Omar Said was filed with the Nazareth District Court and includes the alleged offenses of contact with a foreign agent and the delivery of information to an enemy. The indictment against Ameer Makhoul, submitted to the Haifa District Court, accuses him of the assistance to the enemy in a time of war, conspiracy to assist an enemy, aggravated espionage, and contact with a foreign agent. Dr. Said and Makhoul have both informed their attorneys that they vehemently deny these charges.
According to Adalah: the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, which represents Makhoul and Said, the arrests and interrogations of Saeed and Makhoul were conducted in gross violation of their fundamental rights to due process. Moreover, total gag orders were immediately imposed on the cases, which prevented disclosure of the illegal acts committed against them by the General Security Services (GSS or Shabak).
Moreover, although the Shabak denies any wrongdoing, claiming that “The interrogation was carried out in full accordance with regulations and the law,” the GSS refused to provide Makhoul’s attorneys and Physicians for Human Rights – Israel with Makhoul’s medical files, raising suspicions that he was tortured. Already on 18 May, Makhoul’s legal representatives claimed that interrogators had used prohibited methods of interrogation, in violation of the absolute prohibition on torture under international law and Israeli Supreme Court decisions.
On 27 May, Adalah also provide details of the interrogation methods used by Yuval Diskin’s Shabak: “The illegal methods employed against Ameer Makhoul during the initial days of his interrogation include protracted sleep deprivation and continuous interrogation, while being shackled tightly to an under-sized chair that was bolted to the floor to prevent it from moving. His hands were cuffed to the back of the chair in a way that stretched his arms and shoulders sharply backward. His legs were folded backwards flanking the chair, with his knees turned toward the floor. When, after hours of being bound in this stress position while under intense interrogation, Makhoul complained of being in excruciating pain, the GSS interrogators proceeded to cuff his legs to the chair. They also threatened that he would be permanently crippled from the interrogation.”
Regarding the GSS accusation that Ameer Makhoul provided information to Hezbollah a senior Shabak official told the Israeli daily Haaretz that “Part of the information that Makhoul transferred could be delivered by anyone with a pair of eyes and Google Earth. But Makhoul, as an Israeli Arab, has freedom of movement and access across Israel” in other words Ameer Makhoul was indicted for browsing Google Earth.
The arrests and interrogations of former Member of Knesset Azmi Bshara, who was also accused of spying for Hezbollah and fled the country into exile, Omar Said and Ameer Makhoul demonstrate that Israel’s apartheid system is moving to include Palestinian citizens of Israel by denying their legal rights and freedom of expression and indicting them with treason charges when they dare to use this right.
Shame on Israel? The siege on Gaza and its criminal attacks against Gaza’s population, the continuous attacks on peaceful Palestinian demonstrators who defend their lands from confiscation and annexation by the Separation Wall, the eviction of Palestinian families in Jerusalem and the ongoing detention of more than eight thousand political prisoners are shameful acts.
But this shame also applies to those who, when the time came for a clear decision, hesitated to make human rights in Palestine an inviolable part of their foreign policy in the Middle East. On the contrary: the European Union and the United States collaborate with Israel’s apartheid regime and finance it.
Paraphrasing Ernesto Guevara, the solidarity of progressive forces of the world towards the people of Palestine today is similar to the bitter irony of the plebeians coaxing on the gladiators in the Roman arena. It is not a matter of wishing success to the victim of aggression, but of sharing his fate and struggle.
The silence of liberal and shy social-democrats over continuous Israeli aggressions, the collaboration of opportunist socialists’ members of various European parliaments who encourage and promote normalization, claiming to have a balanced perspective between the aggressor and the victim, are shameful attitudes that must be exposed and denounced.
The arrest of Ameer Makhoul should start a new page of intolerance towards Israel’s apartheid regime and those ready to collaborate with it out of agreement, shyness or opportunism. Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions are minimal requirements by the Palestinian civil society struggling to survive a criminal offensive by Yuval Diskin and its trained hounds in the GSS.
Ameer Makhoul and Omar Said should be freed immediately. And if they are spies, we are all spies.
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