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Six Palestinian organizations hacked with NSO Group’s Pegasus Spyware (frontlinedefenders.org)
541 points by bjourne 73 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 307 comments

Slightly OT - Isn't it obvious that NSO must be able to control every "copy" of Pegasus it sells?

They wouldn't sell it unless they were absolutely sure it wouldn't be used against its own people and they have no problem selling to their arch enemies.

NSO's defense has always been "we just sell the tech and can't be held responsible for what our clients do with it" (this was clear from the Darknet Diaries episode).

If you consider they must be able to control it, and are therefore perfectly capable of monitoring it, then they become much more complicit in what's being done with it. Same story if somehow 1 license = 1 target. This is something that I don't think was explored enough in DD.

> (this was clear from the Darknet Diaries episode)

think that episode also mentioned it iirc ... that the plausible deniability goes out the window the minute they host their own infrastructure.

also NSO Group goes through great length to obscure who they're selling to using shell and shelf companies. actually indistinguishable from how narco terrorists and organized crime operates: https://forensicnews.net/the-covert-reach-of-nso-group/

Unit81, and Unit8200 FTW :(

Not wanting to defend NSO, but I guess that is common business practice for any supplier of surveillance software for state actors. Remember how loud they cried when people leaked about their monitoring? Such dealing are meant to be intransparent and states create the market.

Jack was alluding at that but afaik he didn't mention anything about how they ensure it's not used against their own citizens?

I also don't recall it. iirc the topic also came up in a tptazcek episode of "security cryptography whatever" and a handful of other places ... so I might be conflating things on who made claims when.

If it were used against their own IL citizens, would it really matter legally? As long as the parent company (NSO) can plausibly claim it had no knowledge of even the existence of a specific SLA between a foreign spinoff (e.g. FloLive, Circle etc) and their clients. If you think yourself into a position where you want to become a global player in an increasingly regulated market (embargoes, sanctions lists etc) the only way to avoid repercussions is by not knowing what other parts of your affiliates are doing.

Just because some of these shell companies have been unmasked must be annoying for NSO. But they can still say they had no idea what directors of these "independent" companies were doing.

It would be normal military tactic to compartmentalize information not just on paper but also in reality to be on a "need to know basis". So it's double baffling to me that the shell companies listed as the main investors are the same people sitting on the NSO board of directors.

sorry lots of conjecture IANAL ...

> that the plausible deniability goes out the window the minute they host their own infrastructure

NSO operates the infrastructure and customers provide a list of phone numbers. They will launch exploitation against the provided numbers without any knowledge of who owns the phone (as long as the number isn't from a restricted country like Israel or the US). Once the implant calls back it goes to a portal where the customer can control it.

I'd fault NSO for a lot of things, but they just aren't in a position to know if a burner phone belongs to a journalist or a foreign diplomat until it has been popped. They do have to trust their customers to an extent.

No they do not have to trust anyone. They designed it that way. Maybe this level of oversight is the only level the market will bear, but it was still a design decisions.

> have to

Careful, now.

(which is because organized crime is indistinguishable from general business)

> They wouldn't sell it unless they were absolutely sure it wouldn't be used against its own people

Why not? NSO Group is willing to sacrifice the lives of others for profit, so who’s to say that NSO Group would shy away from that?

Ransomware will often leave computers untouched if they have a Cyrillic keyboard layout, because aggravating authorities in your own country is orders of magnitude more dangerous than aggravating foreign authorities.

Theoretically, the NSO group might feel the same way.

If I remember correctly every sale of Pegasus requires an export license and is therefore subject to approval by the Israeli govt. They don't seem to care much for human rights activists and journalists but assuming every unpatched smartphone is vulnerable, it's very unlikely they're going to allow sales if it could just be pointed at any member of the Israeli govt or military.

They do care about 1 thing and thats Pegasus source code.

A Senior Engineer of theirs got caught and jailed trying to sell it for 50 Million Dollars[1]. I assume they don't want their index of exploits leaked


Does Israel even have laws against spying on its own citizens? If not, or very weak one, it's hard to imagine it wouldn't want to spy on them, especially any political opposition.

"They wouldn't sell it unless they were absolutely sure it wouldn't be used against its own people and they have no problem selling to their arch enemies."

I do not follow that logic.

They do not have to control every instance of their software, to defend against it. I certainly would not try to hack someone with their own tools. I would just assume they spot it easily and exchange the favour.

I believe the OP was referring to the state of Israel, more in the sense that Israel wouldn't grant permission to sell a certain technology without being sure it cannot be wielded against its people.

I think it's a sound argument, even if speculative.

You can never be sure with any weapon you made, that it will not be eventually be used against you. But a fine grained hacking tool has a very unique fingerprint and working style, you could defend against much more easier, if it was you who build it all.

They don’t necessarily need a backdoor or similar to control it, they just need to be able to identify if it is being used against them and to be able to defeat it.

My assumption is that what they have full control over is the admin/CRUD interface that is on top of the database that their malware is feeding. They tightly control the access to that data which is probably encrypted on the target device. That admin interface probably also is where the targeting is done so they could easily put anything they don't want targeted behind a disallow-list.

> "we just sell the tech and can't be held responsible for what our clients do with it"

This should not be put in quotes - as it is not a quote.

Also, they issued a statement saying the opposite - that they review the uses of the tech, and sign agreements with nations buying it that they will act in a certain way.

Enforcement those agreements is obviously complicated.

I think it is pretty clear from the context that this is not a direct quote. The usage of quotes online has evolved - language is not prescriptive.

Have a great day :)

To be fair, it is quite murky to what extent groups like Al-Haq are associated with the PFLP (which, with its history of aircraft hijackings and suicide bombings, is undoubtedly a terrorist group). There is plenty of purported evidence of financial and personnel links out there, and I really doubt HN is the right forum to decide either way (unless someone is an expert).

This is undoubtedly false. Speaking of "purported evidence" when there is literally no credible evidence submitted by the Israeli government for these allegations is misleading at best. Their whole case rests on the testimony of two Palestinian accountants, likely attained by torture, that worked for two organizations that were not included in the list of six [1]. They merely state it is "general knowledge" that these orgs are funneling money to PFLP without providing any evidence. These testimonies have been already partially refuted by public information. Multiple European governments and a large range of reputable international human rights organizations, incl HRW and Amnesty, have rejected the Israeli allegations as baseless and unsupported. These organizations are highly reputable and been supported for years by the EU, uk and other reputable international donors.

They are targeted for their role in opposing the Israeli occupation and human rights violations and, in the case of Al-Haq, likely targeted for their role in the ICC investigation.

[1] https://www.972mag.com/shin-bet-dossier-palestinian-ngos/

Looking around, you can quickly find, that `Shawan Jabarin` the general director of Al-Haq (which was banned) was convicted in 1985 of recruiting and arranging training for members for PFLP and was called “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,” by the Israeli Supreme Court in 2007 for being a human rights campaigner by day and a terrorist by night.

Also, HRW statement should be taken with a grain of salt, since they have conflict of interest since he was appointed by Human Rights Watch (HRW) to its advisory board that oversees reporting on Arab-Israeli affairs In February 2011 (All after his convictions)

So having two accountants telling you it is "general knowledge" that these orgs are funneling money to PFLP are not statements in the void.

No proof there was any kind of torture also in your article. Only "may". Apply your own standard.

And the subject is definitely not innocent body that is solely targeted because of their role in the ICC investigation

He was part of a student group that was associated with the PFLP, which is labeled a terrorist group and has done violent acts, and was convicted on that basis.

You know who else this sort of indict applies to? Nelson Mandela and his involvement with the ANC.

Nevermind that I don't trust the Israeli legal system that existed in the 80s to give a fair shake to a Palestinian student activist.

I don't have any skin in the game here, just an observers perspective.

Just looking through these comments I understand nothing of the narratives at play for either side. Most of them don't line up with history I can find at Wikipedia, or they'll partially match but then deviate significantly in some fanciful explanation.

This is the entire conflict in a nutshell. Sometimes it feels like there are no good guys on either side -- obviously not true, but the lack of any real ground truth can give rise to that illusion.

There's more mud than honor in the Middle East, I guess you could say, and probably not because there's a shortage of the latter.

Something I think helps a lot to bring moral clarity to one's thinking about the Israel-Palestine conflict is to locate where the material power to end it lies, rather than to search vainly for a party without blood on its hands.

Israel, a country that terrorizes Palestinians on the daily accuses everyone that fights it as terrorists. Maybe some are, but I think our minds should be initialized to “given the terror you consciously and actively spread, please provide evidence for any terrorist accusations”.

> Israel, a country that terrorizes Palestinians on the daily accuses

They don't. Sending a Police Riot control unit against a group of people throwing stones and molotovs does not qualify as being terrorized.

> accuses everyone that fights it as terrorists.

If they hurt bystanding civilians (and they do) or funnel money for it (and they do) there is nothing wrong with that.

> Maybe some are

They are, Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and many more... not some and not maybe.

> please provide evidence for any terrorist accusations

They do.

Israel have problems. It should solve them. Hyperbolic discussion will never achieve it.

> They don't. Sending a Police Riot control unit against a group of people throwing stones and molotovs does not qualify as being terrorized.

But sending an army unit with an order "break the village" which results in shock grenades being dropped into a cradle with the baby inside does qualify them as being terrorized.

Note: I'm Israeli and was working with people who got those orders and carried them out during their service.

Thank you for your courage to say that.

It is also funny how often people forget why the riots start in the first place. So often it seems to be that the riots are precipitated by egregious abuse by settlers/army/police/Israeli policy. Abuse the people long enough and they will rage.

There was a case couple of years ago near Salfit (Palestinian town near the end of the road 5). First, someone "shot at security vehicle". I remember telling my wife after reading the news: "See what happens next". Of course, the barged into Salfit to "retrieve video recordings from CCTV cameras" shooting some mid-aged man in front of his family. It was already clear, what will happen next. In couple of days 19 y.o. from Salfit approached IDF soldiers on nearby intersection, pulled the knife, stabbed one of the soldiers (19 y.o. musician from Beer Sheva), took his rifle, shot some more soldiers, then grabbed a car, shot some more settlers and escaped. He was later found and executed on the spot by army forces. Two teenagers dead only because prime minister needed some escalation to distract population from the trial.

Did they find the original shooter, who "attacked" security vehicle?

>It was already clear, what will happen next.

Is it? The attempted murder of innocent people? Is that the sort of behaviour that should be accepted and tolerated? because it sounds like you are saying that.

It shouldn't be accepted and tolerated, but it's disingenuous to discuss it without mentioning the reasons why it happened in the first place.

I think he's saying the turn of events is tragically predictable, and we SHOULDN'T accept or tolerate it. That was my reading, anyway.

> The attempted murder of innocent people?

In your opinion, what should a teenager do after witnessing extrajudicial execution of his relative by occupying army?

In your opinion, how should the IDF act do if they know that every teenager can become a potential mass murderer? Your words, not mine. Bear in mind that soldiers are people and they can feel emotions such as fear and anger over dead comrades. Of course unjustified violence is not right, but you can't exactly expect them to engage in community relationships. They also can't ignore the status quo which involves terrorists acting with impunity like in the intafadas.

> how should the IDF act do

Solution is simple: end the occupation.

> which involves terrorists

Your terrorists are someone else's freedom fighters.

> Solution is simple: end the occupation.

That is not an answer, might as well have just written "Free Palestine!"

I would be interested in hearing your real solution, instead of just repeating a slogan. Nobody has been able to figure it out for decades.

This depends on what is the desired outcome. Currently our real goals are defined by Lebensraum ideology. Of course, ending the occupation is not helping here.

The moment we ditch colonial dreams and ideas of racial superiority (as a base for Zionism), there are two possible solutions: pull out settlements, pull out army or annex all the territories, give citizenship to all residents. In both cases, , start preparation for return of refugees and work out compensation (like Germany after WW2).

I dont think you are israeli,not that I dont agree with your points, but because I dont think you are talking like one. I think you are from Russia or an arab larping as an israeli

Where to should I send my proof of citizenship and results of testing for STDs?

1) You are making an hypothetical based on orders. Which amount to nothing.

2) Searching google for "shock grenades on a girl israel" will show you first a Jewish Ultra-Orthodox girl getting hit around a corona protest last year:


So this is a police brutality issue, not a Palestine issue.

3) Based on your previous comments- "Hamas is an ally of Israel in Gaza" I'm thinking you are just out of the loop.

> 1) You are making an hypothetical based on orders. Which amount to nothing.

No, my colleague actually spent time in jail for military crimes.

> 2) Searching google for

You get what you search for.

> you are just out of the loop

Or, what is more probable, you are just pushing Hasbara.

You say your Israeli.. But then you use the phrase"

"you are just pushing Hasbara."

I'm Israeli, and I have never met an Israeli who would say that phrase, Especially in english, using the hebrew word like that. Something doesn't add up.. Are you russian or israeli arab or something? You had work partners in magav and they told you they put a stun grenade in a baby stroller? This seems pretty weird..

Hasbara Hasbara. When you're pushing Palestinian narrative you're progressive. When you're pushing zionist narrative you're an evil Jew Hasbara troll.

Yeah, except the hasbara efforts are real and well documented.

Pretty disingenuous for you to try and present OP in such a way.

Israeli here. I don’t want to get into an argument here about the six NGOs, Israel and NSO group. I personally don’t have enough information to make an informed decision on it.

There is one thing I want to clarify though. Hasbara is Hebrew for “explaining” - so when Israelis or any Hebrew speaker say hasbara it literally means “explaining” their point of view. Now more often or not, Israelis and Hebrew speakers actually complain that “our governments Hasbara/explanation was garbage” or “wow, we did a really poor job explaining ourselves there”.

When you put it into that context, you need to understand from an Israeli/Hebrew speaker point of view “hasbara” is not a bad thing at all - it’s a necessity regardless of if you are pro or anti Israel.

Unfortunately people who don’t understand Hebrew have turned a common Hebrew term into a derogatory attack against any Israeli or pro Israeli individual and this extremely problematic for so many reasons I won’t get into now.

Regardless, every time you accuse someone of “hasbara” you are actually just accusing them of explaining themselves or their point of view and since it is everyone’s right to be allowed to explain their point of view - you really aren’t accusing them of anything bad at all.

Hasbara refers to simply explaining the same way that Islam refers to mere submission. When people are talking about Hasbara with an uppercase H they are referring to government PR programs - ie, propaganda.

It's yet another tool in the "destroy Israel" toolbox; prevent Zionists from speaking up or defending themselves. If someone says anything remotely positive about Israel (even if it's real) it's "Hasbara", some kind of black magic. Already it's increasingly difficult to identify as pro Israel in American colleges, slowly but surely it's happening.

Every country in the world uses diplomacy and public relations to create a better strategic reality for itself, especially in times of conflict. Israel is no different than the U.S or Australia or the Palestinian Authority for that matter. It's pretty disingenuous of you to call it "Hasbara" when Israel does it as if it's some kind of Israeli phenomena.

Hasbara is what the Israelis call it… what would be a more sincere way for me to refer to it?

Public relations? Diplomacy? Even propaganda if you want to be negative towards Israel? Why would you use the Hebrew word for it, do you use the Hebrew word for other things as well? It's not a unique thing to Israel that's exactly my point.

You are missing the point, people don’t use it because it’s the Hebrew word. Hasbara is a crucial part of Israeli strategy to expand its borders and maintain its dominance of the Palestinian people. Hasbara is all about (1) obfuscating the settler-colonial nature of Israel and (2) white-washing Israeli military war crimes in Gaza and occupied territories. It’s telling that the achievement which launched the political career of the current prime-minister was astroturfing Wikipedia to promote Zionism and Israel. This stuff is important to Israel it’s not just propaganda to promote is hasbara to enable.

The nature of hasbara has features which warrant distinguishing it from propaganda. For example it seemingly exclusively relies on astroturfing. That’s useful to know that there are organizations giving students fellowships [1] to promote these efforts. Another feature is in the objective. Unlike generic propaganda, the objective isn’t to promote domestic nationalism, counter competing ideologies, or to demotivate foreign adversaries. The objective is obfuscating the settler colonial nature of Israel and white-washing Israeli military war crimes.

To me, this warrants calling these efforts by what the Israelis call it.

1. https://hasbarafellowships.org/

Yeah ok man ...was nice talking to you.

Given your apparent intended meaning, “propaganda” seems most appropriate.

Ever wondered why those people are protesting? If you only follow the history of the region you’d quickly realize that Israel did (and does) terrorize their neighbors who in turn retaliated and the vicious cycle of vendettas on eachother continues to this day. What is realy cool about Israel is that they’re a democratic country and a large part of their country denounces all this violence, there is a way forward towards peace. But before that look closely at a map, Israel has sistematically divided and isolated most Palestinian land in an obvious divide and empera plan.

1) Molotov != Protest


> follow the history of the region

> terrorize their neighbors

Counter example:

2005: Israel unilateral dismantling of the 21 Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip

2007: Hamas takeover of Gaza

2007: Gaza Blockade

I do not think we see the history of the region in the same way.

> 2007: Hamas takeover of Gaza

As you mention Hamas, it gives me the opportunity to point out that Israel bankrolled Hamas founder Sheikh Yassin even prior to the founding of Hamas. This was admitted by former military governor of Gaza Yitzhak Segev and other Israeli government and military officials. Israel wanted to undermine secular political Palestinians and empower Islamist political Palestinians. Once successful, they bemoan that the Islamists they funded and worked to empower, have come to power.

Incidentally, the EU funded NGOs which Israel are spying on here are mostly secular (and even the militant groups which Israel is claiming the NGOs are affiliated with are secular as well).

> Israel bankrolled Hamas founder Sheikh Yassin even prior to the founding of Hamas

Yes, prior to the founding of Hamas, Israel was fighting secular terrorist groups and gave support to other (less violent) Palestinian factions in hope that those other factions could gain control and bring peace. That backfired miserably. But it wasn't some sort of nefarious conspiracy like you are alleging.

Well Israel ended up killing Sheikh Yassin so I don't know about that theory - maybe we can agree Israel did conflicting things? Also - are you saying the Palestinians have zero responsibility for Hamas?

Not talking about Gaza, look closely at the whole map and how all palestinian territory is fractured, divided and isolated from one another. One can think its a security measure but it ceases to be one when they move in their own settlers in.

Second, molotov and rocks is protest, not a peaceful one but it still is. You have to understand these people have nothing else to lose, they’ve been beaten down with far more uneven military power.

I was listening to a podcast in which former Israeli soldiers were talking about how they were raiding palestinian houses at night and making arrests. They themselves thought it was wrong. How do you expect a generation that grows like that to behave, throw roses at the Israeli border?

Molotov and rocks may be both protests and murder attempts.

Hamas has also initiated unilateral ceasefires (called "tadiyah") that Israel has broken.

The actual timeline is that in 2006, Hamas won the elections (hence the "takeover") despite Israel prohibiting them from campaigning and arresting their candidates.

Upon their election, Israel put them under sanction, prohibited them from traveling between the two parts of Palestine they had been elected to run, withheld governmental money owed to the PA, and sponsored a coup against their government (which pushed them out of the West Bank, hence Hamas' exclusive control of Gaza).

AFAIK, elections have not been permitted in the PA since then.

> 2005: Israel unilateral dismantling of the 21 Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip

If you credit Israel for dismantling the settlements, I think it would make sense to also credit Israel for having built them. Selecting events can make any side seem like the good guys.

This is not meant as a pro-someone or anti-someone argument. You can use the same technique to argue for or against either side.

> Molotov != Protest

Molotov is not only a protest, it is a peaceful protest without weapon which is a human right.

> Hamas takeover of Gaza

You do know, that Hamas is an ally of Israel in Gaza, don't you?

> You do know, that Hamas is an ally of Israel in Gaza

Now how do you argue with someone who has the very basics of the conflict wrong.

You ask first if this someone understands the very basics correctly.

That isn't all true. Egypt was perhaps the Israel's most bitter enemy, yet they made peace. They have made peace with Jordan, SA and many others. Most of the nasty vendettas were removed from the cycle and do not continue today. Their worst enemy now is Iran who they actually got on with until about 35 years ago when they called Israel the Little satan. Above all i want you to think for a moment what would have happened to all the Jews living in Israel had they lost the first war of independence.

They tried to give back Gaza and got extremely burned for that. Should they have listened to Egypt how to deal with the people in Gaza? I don't think so.

> They don't. Sending a Police Riot control unit against a group of people throwing stones and molotovs does not qualify as being terrorized.

Is it a police operation if it is conducted in occupied foreign territory or would that count as military action?

> They are, Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and many more... not some and not maybe.

Is every Palestinian who voted for Hamas in the last elections permitted in Palestine in 2006 a terrorist as well?

> Is every Palestinian who voted .. a terrorist as well?

No. But at the same time, If Hamas hides military equipment in a news building where other civilians work, then Hamas is committing a war crime.

And Israel has the right to attack this building while taking every action to minimize civilians bystanders casualties. As they did by giving 1hr notice.

Israel routinely mixes civilian and military operations, particularly in Mossad, and uses civilians as cover for their work.

Israel engages in illegal extrajudicial assassinations of civilians, and their occupation of Palestine is a war crime under the geneva convention.

No evidence has been presented that Hamas was actually hiding military equipment in this news building.


> and their occupation of Palestine is a war crime under the geneva convention

This is not true. Military occupation by itself is allowed, but puts certain restrictions on the occupying power. For example, it's forbidden to transfer own population into the occupied territory, which Israel does.

I wasn't saying that occupation in general is a war crime, I am saying that the Israeli occupation as it manifests itself right now (ie. with settlements) is.

> And Israel has the right

This kind of hides the fact, that a responsibility for war crimes is personal. Not everyone will be as lucky as Ariel Sharon who died before he was tried.

Firstly, your source is incredibly biased - it is a Palestinian advocacy organization.

Secondly, you make the claim that they attained the evidence by torture - with no evidence of such.

The fact remains that two Palestinian accountants testified in court that these "charity" organizations were funneling money to the PFLP terrorist organization.

HRW and AI may not think that the evidence is strong enough, and maybe it isn't, but given the testimony, it seems much more reasonable that the Israeli gov't conduct espionage on them if they suspect there is possible terrorist financing happening.

Let's also remember that HRW and AI are hardly unbiased sources when it comes to the Israel/Palestine conflict. They have both repeatedly taken sides in that conflict.

This also wouldn't be the first case of a "human rights" organization in the middle east being used to funnel money that ends up in the hands of terrorists, so I think espionage on these organizations should be expected, and is likely ubiquitous, whether they use NSO tools or not.

1. it's not an "advocacy organization" but a magazine. And this a) doesn't change the fact that the dossier provides no evidence and b) other media has reported on the dossier, including The Intercept [1].

2. I only mentioned that torture has been alleged. Shin Bet has a long-standing pattern of using torture and other inhuman or degrading treatment to obtain confessions.

3. These two disgraced accountants only provided assertions on general hypotheses, no concrete evidence. Such testimony isn't worth much. To quote +972 [see above]:

> An examination of the dossier’s “evidence,” however, along with an examination of the summaries of Abdat’s and Hamuda’s repeated interrogations, reveals that the accountants — who did not work for any of the six targeted organizations — based most of their accusations on general hypotheses, what they alleged was “common knowledge,” or information they claimed was widely “known.”

> More importantly, even Abdat’s and Hamuda’s unsubstantiated testimonies indicate, at most, that some of these organizations were involved in civic and public activities such as student events, helping the sick, and poetry classes that form part of the PFLP’s work as a movement in Palestinian society. A lawyer representing one of the accountants, Abdat, further alleges that his client may have been pressured to provide testimony following interrogation methods that could amount to torture or ill-treatment.

Their reliability must also be questioned:

> Moreover, the summaries of Abdat and Hamuda’s interrogations reveal how poorly acquainted they were with the six organizations listed in Gantz’s declaration. For example, during his interrogation on March 31, Hamuda mentioned the six groups but erroneously noted that parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar is the director of Addameer, an organization that defends the rights of Palestinian political prisoners, despite the fact that she has not headed the organization since 2006 (Addameer’s current director is attorney Sahar Francis).

4. I'm not sure we should accuse AI and HRW as biased, simply for standing up for human rights in Israel, which, considering where the majority of violation lie and who the occupying power is, will necessarily focus on one player. After all, it is not the PA but the Israeli army that demolishes homes or holds people in indefinite "administrative" detention.


In short, it is up for the Israeli government to prove publicly - beyond a reasonable doubt - that these severe allegations of terrorism funding are true and that the designation as terrorist associations is justified. It is not up to those organizations and their defenders to prove a negative. Innocent until proven guilty is after all the foundation of state respecting the rule of law.

A designation based on secret "evidence", combined with the fact that even confidential dossiers don't offer a shred of evidence, doesn't make this look like a justified designation

[1] https://theintercept.com/2021/11/04/secret-israel-dossier-pa...

Seeing how they choose to manipulate the information, I can no longer take anything Intercept publishes seriously.



why Israel need to answer to EU and why everything EU does is automatically right?

I think this is a loaded and defensive question that tries to broaden the scope of the allegation to something obviously wrong. Obviously everything the EU does isn’t automatically right because it’s the EU. But maybe if multiple reputable human rights organizations are condemning allegations of a country as baseless and part of ongoing human rights violations then maybe that specific thing is a correct statement of fact.

or maybe its conflict of interests. I'm not talking of the general situation but about this action by Israel government and the response. And this all human right groups are funded by the EU if its private or public it doesn't matter from the Israeli government perspective. Or maybe this groups doesn't know everything? why their members opinion is more accepted than the Israeli politicians who did that? some of them are even have pro-Palestinian independence stance

The fact based claim is that the Israel government haven’t provided evidence to their claims and therefore the claims are unsubstantiated. Any discussion of conspiracy can be put to rest with some proof.

but since when governments need to provide evidence and to whom? the world government? Can I go to random governments around the world and ask them to show evidence about their security issues to my organization?

Any state abiding by the rule of law, human rights, and democracy needs to provide evidence proving such allegations beyond a reasonable doubt and enabling the victims to challenge such administrative decisions in court. If Israel wants to drop the pretense of democracy, so be it. But human rights and the rule of law are universal obligations under international law.

this is biased for countries which are not under conflict and don't get accused by the other side every other week

Yes, and you should. And for those governments who can’t or won’t provide evidence, you should disregard their assertions as baseless and suspect.

I mean, why wouldn’t you demand proof? Governments have a long and nasty history of conflating their political interests with security interests, just trusting their assertions seems extremely foolhardy.

because it would compromise means and methods

Tough. The logical consequence of “we can’t show you the proof” is “okay, I don’t believe that you have any”. After all, you would not believe my assertions about fantastical achievements without evidence, and the consequences of that hypothetical are much lower than the state saying it should be able to kill people in the name of “counter terrorism”.

More succinctly; “it would compromise means and methods” is a phenomenal way to cover up shaky or non-existent evidence.

All the evidence of Russian collusion and hacking is almost always presented without any evidence whatsoever. Yet no one in the mainstream media thinks to question it.

countries do hit jobs rarely and when they do its clear this person was involved 100% of the time. That's the only case people get killed in the name of “counter terrorism”. the discussion was about banning an organization not a person.

They claim that, yes. Then again the DOD also claimed that their final drone strike was on a valid combatant, later on they had to admit that it was just a worker being greeted by his children. Whoops (/s).

Obviously banning an organization is much lower stakes than killing or jailing someone, and we should adjust accordingly. Still, if Israel (or any other country really) is going to run around and say that an organization or person is connected to terrorism, they should pony up enough evidence commensurate with the actions they propose so that we can discuss the matter. The pressure for any state to conflate political and security threats is high, and public scrutiny is part of what provides a counter balance.

This is particularly important if a country is demanding that the international community writ large take action against a given person or organization. Should not the citizens of the countries being asked to participate have the opportunity to see some evidence and discuss the matter?

> why their members opinion is more accepted than the Israeli politicians who did that?

Why does the opinion of multiple third parties carry more merit about the adversarial facts of a conflict than one of the participants to said conflict? Really?

Exploting bugs to gain unauthorized access is a crime regardless of who does it. If the crime happened on EU grounds they have to asnwer to EU. That particular company should have trading sactions imposed on it just like the country it belongs to. We do the same for Russian hackers so it's only fair to apply that to everyone else.

EU is the modern equivalent of Soviet Union and it behaves like that. They do a ton of stuff wrong and they take decisions without any regard for the local culture and people. This has nothing to do with illegal access to other peoples devices.

What evidence is "out there"? So far, there's no evidence, from what is being reported by legitimate news agencies who saw the supposed evidence. Example: https://apnews.com/article/business-europe-middle-east-israe...

In 2018 all payment processors (MC/Visa/Amex) banned payments to Al-Haq due to allegations that they forwarded money to PFLP, so this is not new news.


This was based on testimony given in court by two Palestinian accountants that Al-Haq was funneling money to terrorism.

It should be noted that Al-Haq does not make disclose either the sources or destinations of donation money.

Those allegations came from the same place this “evidence” did.

Since when is testimony from their own Palestinian accountants not considered evidence?

> The dossier relies almost entirely on the interrogation of Said Abedat and Amru Hamudeh, who worked as accountants for the Union of Health Committees, a separate group which was outlawed in January 2020. Both were reportedly fired in 2019 for embezzling funds, and were later detained by the Shin Bet. Their lawyers could not be reached for comment.

Not their own accountants

Why are you splitting hairs??? They worked as accountants through 2019. So obviously they have knowledge of where the funds were being funneled to.

No one is splitting hairs; this is the very crux of the matter. They worked as accountants for a different organization altogether.

Given that the accountants gave testimony - it would stand to reason they had knowledge of it.

I know you're arguing from a very partial perspective, but if you'd read the 972mag article it's insanely clear that the accounts' testimony would be thrown out as hearsay in any real court of law. They weren't involved in the supposed activity the other organizations are accused of doing based on their testimony, they didn't see it happen, they just "know" that it happened.

But I feel like there is no use continuing to argue this with you, so peace out.

Unless you count the oddly vague couple admissions extracted under torture from some random accountants as evidence of something, which you shouldn't because torture is not and shouldn't ever be considered a valid way to extract actionable information, being "fair" has nothing to do with what is being done here.

q1w2 73 days ago [flagged] | | | [–]

There is no evidence of torture whatsoever. This is a strange lie you keep posting with your link to 972mag, a biased Palestinian defense magazine.

If you dig a little deeper at what the actual accountant's lawyer said - he said his client was seated in a chair with his hands tied behind his back during his initial arrest. Inventing a new name ("The shabah position") doesn't make it torture.

Obviously the lawyer wants to protect his client from retribution from Al-Haq, so he will make outlandish accusations of "torture". I don't blame him - I'd be afraid of Al-Haq too after testifying against them.

...but remember that both accountants provided detailed testimony in an open court room - not from a torture chamber. Your claims torture are false.

> This is a strange lie you keep posting with your link to 972mag, a biased Palestinian defense magazine.

972mag is a magazine founded by Jewish journalists in Tel Aviv. When an Israeli magazine run by Jews condemns torture of Palestinians and is called a "Palestinian defense magazine", you have to wonder how provincial the thought process that would use that label is. Considering world opinion on the human rights of Palestinans who were tortured by Israel, which includes these journalists, and which includes their political pole within Jewish Israeli society, you have to wonder how isolated the group on the other side of all of this is.

https://www.972mag.com/shin-bet-dossier-palestinian-ngos/ Oh isn'there?

Please, stop lying.

The established facts, that the Shin Bet tortures people and israeli courts accept anything extracted under torture as testimony, do not in any way make your attempt at attacking sources of information nor your claim that this is false any more valid.

Your insistence makes me wonder what kind of incentives you have to be perceiving to go out of your way to defend a bald-faced lie like this.

Can we go back to having an earnest discussion instead of a boring, hasbara-typical farce?

>what kind of incentives you have

I am sure you are aware, but there is an ongoing, well-funded and highly organised propaganda campaign with deep military integration.




> Your insistence makes me wonder what kind of incentives you have to be perceiving

If someone disagrees with you, surely they must be getting paid. Whose payroll are you on?

> Can we go back to having an earnest discussion


> but remember that both accountants provided detailed testimony in an open court room - not from a torture chamber.

That’s not actually a counter argument for torture here. Tons of torture victims will walk into court and say everything they said in the torture chamber; the threat of continued torture of them and their loved ones is quite the motivator. History is littered with examples of torture victims “confessing” in court, often to crimes that were laughably made up.

> remember that both accountants provided detailed testimony in an open court room - not from a torture chamber

Using torture to force victims to testify against themselves or others in an open court room was routine in early USSR, for example, so I don't see how this changes anything.

Having been interrogated myself, it's incredible how defiant I was until my interrogators threatened my wife, and at that point I told them I'd do whatever they wanted.

Wait until you learn what was said about Mandela.

Seriously. Do people forget the rhetoric around Mandela and the ANC during apartheid South Africa?

He was only taken off the terrorist watch list in '08.

Mandela was offered an early release if he renounced violence. He did not take that offer. I don't know about after his release, but for most of his life he believed in achieving his aims with violence, if need be.

As for the violence the ANC perpetrated: It would definitely be considered terrorism today.

Super disingenuous in my view to have some purity test around renouncing violence against a white supremacist state. Is political violence not justified in that context?

Were violent European revolutions against their monarchs all terroristic?

Honestly surprised to see so many apartheid apologists in these replies.

In case of ANC, it definitely did things that fit the colloqual definition of terrorism - i.e. targeting civilians for political purposes:


That's not a justification of apartheid, though. One can argue that apartheid and terrorism are both morally despicable. Or one may argue that terrorism is sometimes justifiable.

And there are many other historical examples of the same. E.g. Soviet partisans did a lot of things that would also be considered terrorism during WW2 - targeting not Germans or their pet militias, but civilians accused of collaboratinism (which could be very vaguely defined - e.g. teachers who refused to close down schools on occupied territories). Again, you could debate whether it was justified or not, especially in the context of much broader use of terrorist tactics by Germans themselves, but that's a separate conversation.

I'd call Bantustans terrorism though.

Why bother, when there's an example of straight-up, blatant terrorist tactics by the apartheid government:


> Were violent European revolutions against their monarchs all terroristic?

Unfortunately the answer is something like "yes but we don't want to speak about that because it makes us feel uncomfortable" most of the time. Thing is western society has been doing well the past 20/30 years regarding civil-war like violence at a large scale and for a hard to fix issue, and no one wants to talk about how or why but everyone wants to believe days of violent civil uprising are long gone.

No, they weren't. Nevermind the fact that "terrorism" is a stupid word - these were justified conflicts of a people against tyranny. Violence for those aims is justified.

I don't think terrorism is a stupid word, it just means terrorizing civil population outside of normal militia vs. militia violence on the field. In a lot of those conflicts civilians that were persecuted by the government fought back with unconventional action, I'm not saying it was not justified, but it did involve innocent bystanders. For example during the end of the French revolution, as a reaction to the Reign of Terror and Robespierre, on the storming of the Hall of Paris.

What's stupid is thinking that on a violent conflict only one side can be guilty of terrorism.

I'm not passing judgement on his stance, the ANC's actions, and even on whether terrorism is a good or bad thing. I'm merely stating that he did have prolonged support of the entity that we today call terrorism.

Terrorism is not an entity, so I don't understand what you are saying.

If you are saying that the ANCs actions make them objectively terrorists, I would say that I've never seen the term terrorist used in an objective and consistent manner.

Was the violence always against the state or was it also against innocent civilians? Not really the same thing.

Sorry, trying to follow the threads here. Because some violence was perpetrated against civilians, I should thus expect Nelson Mandela to denounce all violence against the apartheid state and condemn him for failure to do so?

Why is the same charge not levied against the apartheid South African state, which refused to renounce violence after committing violence against its own black citizens (forcible imprisonment, beatings, etc.) for daring to marry a white person, against anyone who was caught in a white area of the country, etc. etc.?

I don't know what you should do, I do think it's complicated.

Seeing necklacing with your own eyes is something to forget, but cannot.

This seems like an attempt at misdirection. In a lawful society, the reason for surveilling suspected terrorists is because you actually suspect them of terrorism, not because they're currently your political opponents.

If you ran with a gang in your 20's, that doesn't give the government permanent access to a wire tap when you start doing social justice advocacy in your 40's.

>There is plenty of purported evidence

The name for this is "allegations," specifically "unconfirmed allegations," AKA "random BS."

Al-Haq is a Palestinian human rights NGO funded by the European Union. Two weeks ago, Israel labeled six Palestinian NGOs, including al-Haq, terrorist organizations and has outlawed them. This was condemned by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and others. The EU also funded the other Palestinian human rights NGOs which Israel outlawed.

The US had an office in Jerusalem dealing with Palestinians that Trump closed down. Biden and Blinken began to reopen it but the Israeli government have refused permission for the US to reopen it.

This is following Israel's throwing Palestinians out of their homes in East Jerusalem back in May and replacing them with settlers, which was followed by a mass bombing of the Gaza strip by Israel, including the building in which the Associated Press had its office, a building Israel said it purposely targeted.

This amidst settlement of Palestine's West Bank by Israel which is opposed by multiple UN resolutions supported by an overwhelming majority of nations.

> including the building in which the Associated Press had its office, a building Israel said it purposely targeted.

Why did you omit the reason for targeting?

"... because it was being used by the groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad and that terrorist attacks were directed from there"


There are so many facts omitted in the comment you are replying to, there is no question it is not a comment made in good faith.

Because it was never substantiated. There's little point in repeating information that's no more trustworthy than taking a poll of random people on the street.

Israel is free not to release their evidence, and the rest of us are free to infer what we would like from the fact that a first world nation refuses to substantiate their reasoning for bombing a news outlet.

That would stand for pretty much any nation that considers itself to be free. If Germany bombed their AP HQ and refused to release any evidence of why, there would be some very stern questions as well.

> Why did you omit the reason for targeting?

I think it's obvious why he omitted it.

That's the excuse used to bomb every hospital, school and press building by the Zionist regime. Hard to take anything that comes out of their mouths seriously.

I don't understand how people can think Israel mass bombed gaza. Israel has one of the largest militaries in the world. If they decided to mass bomb somewhere, it wouldn't be a place anymore. Its not the 1800s. A mass bombing is not something anyone walks away from in the modern world.

Israel launched over 900 attacks on Gaza in May, killed hundreds of Palestinians, and displaced tens of thousands of Palestinians. The UN estimate is 461 housing and commercial units were destroyed by Israel's bombing of Gaza.

I don't dispute even more could have been killed by Israel and more destroyed by Israel if the United Nations Security Council did not call for an ending to it and that if that did not happen "it wouldn't be a place anymore...not something anyone walks away from". People can go and look at the videotaped news reports from Gaza after the bombings and judge for themselves.

A quick google search reveals that the US launched 2800000 ground attack missions during the Vietnam war, dropping 15000000000 pounds of bombs. That works out to an average of several hundred attacks per day for two decades.

I also encourage you to look at Wikipedia's List of ongoing armed conflicts [1], which lists the Israeli–Palestinian conflict as a "Minor Conflict" given its scale in comparison to the other entries.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ongoing_armed_conflict...

Seems a bit over the top to use the Vietnam War as a benchmark for the size of any bombing campaign, unless the benchmark is going for "largest ever by quite a margin".

You're indulging in the fallacy of relative privation and trying to change the subject for some reason.

I'm not saying there wasn't an armed conflict or that people didn't die. Just when people say something was mass bombed it implies something very different.

there were fewer people killed than bombs dropped - it was a highly pinpointed affair beyond any sort of 'mass bombing' terminology, while at the same time the government of gaza WAS mass launching artillery rockets at israeli cities.

Truly upside-down world.

Gaza City has a higher density than NYC (34k per sq mi vs. 29k). Now imagine trying to run an anti-mafia campaign using only air power.

Maybe don't do that then? If someone knowingly bombs areas densely packed with civilians, then they are committing war crimes at best, terrorism at worst.

It's incredibly difficult to have sympathy with Israel when their politicians and military behave with such little regard for human rights and human life - I really wish they'd take the moral high ground and just fucking stop the evictions, abductions, torture, beatings and killing.

No, Hamas is committing war crimes by deliberately launching rockets from an area packed with civilians, knowing that some of them will be killed by the return fire. And doubly so if you consider that the rockets Hamas is launching are targeting densely packed cities (without military targets nearby)

But they do walk away from mass bombings. I mean, heck, folks walked away from nukes (most later died of cancer, but not all). More folks survived the hindenberg than died in the crash. And so on.

Mass bombings tend to kill folks in the blast areas, but there are a lot of places that aren't directly in the blast. If you destroy one house with a bomb, the surrounding houses will likely have damage but still stand - and the residents will know.

way fewer people died than bombs dropped. There was no 'mass bombing' - it was all highly pinpointed with roof knocking and warning of people in the area.

The mass launches of artillery rockets against israeli cities was mass bombing, just less effective.

So perhaps the obvious conclusion should be that your definition of "mass bombing" is not what people mean when they use that term?

I was under the impression it was a synonym for area bombing - e.g. throwing a bunch of bombs at a place to inflict damage in a general way. As opposed to having a very specific target.

What's your definition?

Tens of thousands of people being displaced seems pretty general to me.

How does that compare to other conflicts? Tossing around numbers without any context doesn't do anyone any good. There are four ongoing "Major Wars" with 10,000+ fatalities in the last year, which undoubtedly displaced orders of magnitude more people

Many people have no idea what they're talking about when speaking outside of their areas of expertise. So, yes, it's very possible that those people have something very different from mass bombing in mind.

"people" are not one group. when a group uses some specific words, you can ask what those people mean. General 'people' have different definitions, and sometimes use words as weapons.

>This is following Israel's throwing Palestinians out of their homes in East Jerusalem back in May and replacing them with settlers

that is a complete distortion of the facts. This was a perfectly legal eviction which made it's way through the court system over a number of years. The pa put a nationalist spin on it in order to distract from their failing election campaign and unfortunately, everyone fell for it. But it was never anything more than a rental dispute.

The issue with many terrorism designations, such as these, is that it allows for the evidence of such designations to remain secret. It is great for banning organizations you do not like based on innuendo. It would be better if the evidence was made public and could be judged -- when it isn't you have to wonder whether it is being hidden because it can not stand up to scrutiny.

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