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Nadim Injahz
Photo: Tomeriko

Collaborator left in the lurch?

Why can't Israel take care of its informers when they are no longer needed?

Israelis and Palestinians alike believe that Israeli intelligence would not be able to thwart so many attempted terror attacks inside Israeli territory without the information culled from Palestinian collaborators. It is almost impossible to count how many lives may have been saved thanks to the collaboration of Palestinians who provided crucial intelligence.

 

Isn't it therefore, incumbent on Israeli authorities to assure the safety and well being of the collaborators in the event they are caught, or no longer needed?

 

Nadim Injahz, one such Palestinian collaborator, became so desperate Thursday that he broke into the British Embassy compound in Tel Aviv and threatened to kill himself unless he were granted political asylum. In desperation, he used a plastic gun, proof that he meant no harm.

 

Why can't Israel take care of its collaborators when they are no longer needed, instead of pushing them to the brink of madness?

 

Doomed

Nadim Injahz has been "homeless" for eight years. In Ramallah, the Tanzim are after him. In Israel, in spite of his contribution to the safety of the citizens, he is an illegal resident. Injahz would love to go home but his compatriots will never forgive him for collaborating with Israel.

 

He told reporters that he was offered a chance to restore his honor among the Tanzim by carrying out a terror attack, but he refused. He is in an impossible situation, unable to go home, and unable to remain in Israel. He didn't have anything to lose by breaking into the British Embassy and seeking political asylum, a feat he achieved by whatever means were at his disposal, including a toy gun.

 

Collaboration with Israeli intelligence is vilified as the worst kind of treason in Palestinian society. In 2002, Mousa Rajoub, a Palestinian collaborator was tortured, shot and strung up from an electricity pylon in the centre of Hebron with two other Palestinians; just recently a collaborator was shot several times in a public square and the event shown on nationwide TV.

 

Be fair

Although a dangerous business, many Palestinians opt for this way of life, their reasons are varied. Some join as an alternative to years of imprisonment, others are coerced into low-level collaboration, providing tidbits of information just to be able to make a meager living and get on with daily life. Others, in need of Israeli permits to travel, work or study say they are pressured to cooperate or their requests are denied.

 

Israel began recruiting collaborators from the early days of its 1967 occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. According to reports about 90 alleged collaborators were killed by fellow Palestinians during the last Intifada, 21 of them while in the custody of the Palestinian security forces. More than 1,000 alleged informers were murdered during the first uprising.

 

Injahz deserves, at the least, to be treated fairly by Israeli society. Even if just for the sake of public relations, he should be set up in Israel or abroad and given the opportunity to start a new life. Israel, on its part, will be setting an example of what collaborators can expect when their work is done, while assuring continued recruitment among the Palestinians in its bid to protect Israeli citizens any way it can.

 

This is indeed a harsh reality

The British embassy spokeswoman told the press Thursday that the Israeli police operation was coordinated with British officials, in line with diplomatic protocol. As far as the embassy is concerned, the event is over. So now that Injahz is out of British territory and in Israeli police custody, what will become of him?

 

It's not as if Injahz' plight was unknown to Israeli authorities. Just two months ago his story was published in the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper in an article written by Assaf Levi.

 

Last week, the High Court of Justice rejected Injahz's request to be recognized as a person whose life is in danger in the Palestinian Authority so that he would be given a permit to reside in Israel. This was just days before his desperate attempt to seek asylum at the British Embassy. The High Court suggested he remain in custody, but he refused and his appeal was rejected.

 

The police said they wanted to conclude this incident quietly, and hoped they could prevent him from committing suicide or hurting others - this is not enough!

 

What will happen to Nadim Injahz? One possibility is that he will be jailed for committing the offense of breaking into the British Embassy compound, another option is that he will remain a non-entity in Israel, barely living on the edge of a society he helped preserve, or he can go back to Ramallah where his fate has been sealed.

 

The right thing for Israel do at this time is to clandestinely give him a chance for another life.

 


פרסום ראשון: 09.02.06, 10:25
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