Double Standards for Prisoners Vanished In Israel
The case of Ben Zygier, known as “Prisoner X,” has opened the door to questions about the possibility of Israel secretly detaining other prisoners and abductees.
Zygier, a Jewish-Australian citizen, died in an Israeli prison two years ago, in a case Israel went to extreme lengths to cover up, imposing media gag orders.
This is not the first time Israel has hidden information related to the whereabouts and conditions of prisoners. Consider, for example, reports of the three Iranian diplomats kidnapped by the Lebanese Forces during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, who were reportedly moved to prisons in occupied Palestine.
Then consider the case of Lebanese prisoner Yahya Skaf. In addition to a wealth of reporting on his case, testimonies by other detainees all aver that he is still alive and being held in an Israeli prison. It’s a claim that Tel Aviv denies, maintaining that it lost Skaf’s body.
In the same vein, reports from various sources assert that Iranian General Mohammed Reza Asgari, who was kidnapped in Turkey in 2007, is being held in Israel.
Until recently, the global norm was to accept that Israel is a state where the rule of law is paramount. Any reports that questioned Israel’s democratic credentials were considered prejudiced or even anti-Semitic.
Yet if Tel Aviv was able to conceal the truth about Zygier for so long – the fact that he had committed suicide more than two years ago – then it’s entirely fathomable that Israel is withholding the truth about other prisoners like Skaf, Asgari, and the above-mentioned Iranian diplomats.
The answer is now clear and backed up by damning evidence: Israel has both the capability and the willingness to engage in such acts.
A simple hypothetical exercise. Let’s say the kidnapping, detention, and subsequent suicide of the Australian Prisoner X had happened to another detainee of a different nationality. How would the global media reaction differ? Would it have been as fervent as with the Australian Prisoner X?
Just look to the cases of the Lebanese and Iranian detainees, specifically with the three Iranian diplomats and General Asgari. Iran repeatedly declared that it had evidence as to their whereabouts, and the Iranian press reported extensively on the matter. Yet Israeli denials were enough to refute the Iranian account. Western and Israeli reports did not stop there, and Iran was even mocked as a source of fabricated news.
The same applies to cases involving Lebanese citizens, such as Skaf. Israel cannot possibly deny it has him, and that he had entered occupied Palestine. For one thing, Tel Aviv’s claims about Skaf and his lost body make little sense. If he had been a citizen of Australia, or other nations of similar stature, Israel’s account would have differed.
Israeli assertions that Tel Aviv had kept the Australian government in the loop on Prisoner X created more – not less – ramifications. Indeed, Israel is not only able to hide the facts and detain people in secret, but also to involve Western governments in the cover-up.