"How Israeli intelligence recruits collaborators"
By Muhammad Al-Baba
The Jerusalem Times (independent Palestinian weekly) 17 October 2002:
A young man from Rafah recently confessed that an Israeli
intelligence officer offered him cash rewards and a job in exchange for
working with the internal security apparatus, Shabak. The young man, who was
stopped at the Abu Holy checkpoint south of Deir Al-Balah, said he strongly
refused the offer.
The young man, a twenty-year-old identified as A, told the story
that unfolded at the Israeli military checkpoint separating the southern
districts of Gaza from the northern. The checkpoint was closed, and
occupation authorities picked young men riding in cars after learning their
ages, addresses and destinations.
The young man was among 15 men held by occupation authorities
for two hours in a site beside the checkpoint separated from cars by
concrete blocks. The men were tied and blindfolded.
Said A, "After about two hours a truck arrived and transported
us to a site east of the checkpoint. They placed us in a tiny room and
warned us not to talk to one another. One of them spoke Arabic and warned us
not to use cellular telephones, cautioning that violators would be beaten
and left in the burning sun.
"One of the soldiers led me to another site surrounded by
concrete blocks. In the center was a small chamber that I later learned was
built for the intelligence officer. The solider searched me thoroughly and
another scanned my body with an electronic device. Then they untied me,
removed the blindfold, and led me into the room, which held three men
dressed in civvies, one of them sitting at a computer.
"The intelligence officer commanded me to sit on a chair. I
refused, but succumbed after he insisted. I refused to accept any drink from
them, which irritated them. The intelligence officer tried to soothe the
atmosphere by chatting with me."
The young man added that the intelligence officer asked for
personal information, concentrating on academic achievement and personal
aspirations, social standing, work, and the reason behind his travel through
the checkpoint. He said the intelligence officer left nothing untouched in
preparing to reach the true purpose of the meeting, which he did by saying,
'You have a chance to work with us that would never be repeated. You will
get all the money you want, cellular telephones, recreation trips, travel
abroad, education, and free healthcare.'
Intelligence officers normally use pressure and threats to coax
Palestinians into collaborating with them, but in the intifada, while the
PNA handles affairs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, they began to use new
methods, primarily negotiation and allure, relying on the difficult economic
The young man continued his story with the intelligence officer,
who introduced himself as Abu Hanin, Rafah District supervisor. He said that
'Abu Hanin' offered to find him work and solve his personal problems if he
agreed to cooperate, assuring him that they were after only minor
Continued A, "After I refused all his offers, citing religion
and patriotism at times and the unwillingness to break the law at others,
[Abu Hanin] said sarcastically, 'It's your call, but you must steer clear of
clashes and persons that work against the Israeli army.'
"He ended the meeting and handed me my ID, then called in two
soldiers that led me out of the room and disallowed me to talk with the
other men in the group. The others were called in one after the other in the
'A' indicated that the intelligence officer asked repeatedly
whether he owned a cellular telephone or a phone book, from the which the
officer would take names and telephone numbers and use them to taint the
reputation of the would-be recruit.
'A' expressed awe at the new ways of recruitment, which he said are cunning,
relying on the economic and political conditions. He said he approached the
Preventive Security apparatus and explained to them what happened.
Occupation authorities employ such tactics at checkpoints and
ports under their control and place obstacles in the way of Palestinians in
order to pressure them into collaboration. 'A' believes that the seminars he
attended in youth meetings contributed to his success in resisting the
menial methods of Israeli intelligence.