In an attempt to defend himself from my exposure of his record and actions, Mosab Hassan Yousef has solicited help from Gonen ben Itzhak – Yousef’s former handler within Shin Bet (Itzhak was fired from the organization). Itzhak intended to write and publicize a letter damaging my name and credibility. I obtained the letter sent by Itzhak prior to its publication, have seen its claims, and can offer proof beyond any doubt defending myself from the spurious charges therein.
It is crucial to note Itzhak’s own background: he was fired from Shin Bet for “financial mismanagement and lying.” Additionally, former deputy head of the Shin Bet (and current Kadima MK) Gideon Ezra has questioned the credibility of Mosab’s story, saying it was all “exaggerated.” Itzhak is also an extremist Greenpeace activist and a pro-Palestine, anti-settlement advocate. This man is now countering my honest, factual reporting of Yousef by claiming he investigated me and found that I was a “fraud.” I can prove he is now lying about my past, and given his current behavior, I am not surprised at the stated reason for his previous firing.
In my article exposing Yousef, I mentioned having witnessed a Jew being beaten at the hands of Jewish guards while a prisoner in the Masqubiyeh (Jerusalem Central Prison). Itzhak now writes of my account:
I visited many times the Masqubiyeh prison. Reading Mr. Shoebat’s description of the place, I can only say, Mr. Shoebat, you know nothing of the Masqubiyeh.
Itzhak also challenges the veracity of my past as a PLO terrorist:
[Walid] claims to have been a PLO terrorist who bombed Bank Leumi in Bethlehem. Yet, I never heard his name before, never saw his name in any Israeli intelligence files, and there is no record of any such attack.
Itzhak then chooses to rebuke me for not being more involved in the current “Arab Spring”:
I found it strange that, while his brothers and sisters are being slaughtered in Syria, Libya, Egypt, and Yemen …
In other words, Itzhak thinks an Arab like me should be supporting the current Muslim Brotherhood-led revolts, as Yousef is doing.
And that’s about it. Itzhak provides nothing: no research material, no details of any sort, and no due-diligence to collaborate his supposed efforts to arrive at his “fraud” allegations. Itzhak has no access to any internal Israeli records, anyway — he was fired for misconduct. In actuality, his claims are simply a repeating of the slanders about me one can find circulating on the internet, as this is not the first time I have been so libeled.
For many years I have had my terror activity questioned, my imprisonment in the Masqubiyeh (with notorious bombmaker Mahmoud Al-Mughrabi, who recruited me to bomb an Israeli bank) denied. Itzhak is pulling his charges from New York Times reporter Chris Hedges and from Holocaust-denial supporter Jorg Luyken, writing for the Jerusalem Post, who has claimed that my story cannot be corroborated.
Further, I know Itzhak is being dishonest about performing due-diligence since it takes months to dig out the old records proving my past. This I know because I have put the time in to gather these records — it took me months, and there is more to be done. Additionally, Itzhak has clearly not even checked the Jerusalem Post archives (United Nations reports on the bombing I was involved in included references to Jerusalem Post coverage of the incident).
Enough: Below is evidence proving the activities of Al-Mughrabi and myself, evidence Itzhak claims does not exist.
Al-Mughrabi was my prison mate and my PLO recruiter: he sent me to bomb the Bank Leumi branch in Bethlehem. After his release from the Masqubiyeh, he was considered enough of a danger that Israel assassinated him on October 1, 1985: Israeli F-15B Eagle war planes, in Operation Wooden Leg, hit Arafat’s Tunisia headquarters in retaliation for the PLO’s murder of Israelis in Larnaca, Cyprus one week earlier. (The assassination mission that killed Al-Mughrabi can be pulled up on video via Al-Jazeera.) Arab sources like Middle East Report lamented his death:
In pain and sorrow we learn that our friend Mahmud Al-Mughrabi was killed during the October bombing raid in Tunisia. Mahmud was born in Jerusalem in 1960. By the age of 16 he was under detention 12 times and he was one of the first to speak in public about the methods of interrogation of Palestinian detainees used by the General Security Services in Israel. He then gave his permission to being publicly identified as an informant for the Sunday Times expose of Israeli torture in June 1977. In 1984, he managed to escape to Jordan after years of increasingly marginal existence under steadily deteriorating conditions of military occupation.
Famed Egyptian terror-apologist Edward Said spoke of Al-Mughrabi:
One of the victims of the Tunis bombing was Mahmoud Al-Mughrabi, born in Jerusalem in 1960, under detention twelve times by the age of 16, one of the informants of The Sunday Times to expose of torture in Israel (19 June, 1977) who “managed to escape to Jordan after years of increasingly marginal existence under steadily deteriorating existence of the Israeli occupation”, according to a memorial notice by Israeli Jewish friends that was repeatedly denied publication in Arab newspapers in East Jerusalem by Israeli military censorship.
Al-Jazeera and Said are not “Zionist” sources, but Arab.
Al-Mughrabi boasted of carrying out 15 bombing operations against Israeli civilians and infrastructure. His claims of torture within the prison are pure deception. He told his communist activist lawyer, Leah Tsemel — who represented him from 1976-1978 — that he had suffered severe electrocution, yet every time he returned from interrogations he was without a scratch. In fact, he disclosed that he was lying to Leah Tsemel, using her as a pawn to win his release.
I have researched old records of a litany of claims against Masqubiyeh: alleged tortures, humiliations, spitting incidents, sexual harassment, overcrowding, and even claims of being forced to watch rapes. All are unfounded upon examination. Unlike what Mosab described, the Masqubiyeh was humane, perhaps even more so than American prisons. Each inmate had his own bed and an in-the-cell shower. We ate three full meals a day, which included a beverage choice of tea or sweet punch. We were fine, and Al-Mughrabi always seemed fine after he returned from questioning.
Lea Tsemel’s clients whom Hedva Sarid says she saw being kicked, was a youth-called Mahmud el-Mughrabi. At l6, he had already been picked up a dozen times, and he was clearly regarded as a trouble-maker. Mughrabi gave us a detailed account of how he was beaten at the session Hedva Sarid interrupted. His story is in part corroborated by another prisoner though Mughrabi’s additional allegation of electric shock remains unconfirmed. Mughrabi was one of 24 Palestinians we interviewed who had been interrogated in the Russian Compound — “Moscobiya” the Arabs call it. … Thus the faces constantly re-appear among the countless detainees whose names can (or cannot) be seen on graffiti on the filthy walls of the Russian Compound (Moskubiye) prison cells. 3
The several riots in both Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Beit Sahour in which I participated in are documented events:
The riots in Bethlehem, Beit-Sahur, Hebron, Jericho and Halhul were reported in Ha’aretz on 18 March 1976. 4
I first spotted Mahmud Al-Mughrabi during a demonstration on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. He was firing a low-caliber pistol when an Israeli post guard fired back, hitting Mahmoud Al-Jneidi instead. I was right behind Jnedi, who was killed by the shot.
Later on, I was imprisoned with Mahmoud Al-Mughrabi at the Masqubiyeh in 1977. I recognized him from that event on the Temple Mount.
We became friends. He recruited me into the PLO to carry out a bombing operation after my release. He gave me his address: Judo Star Martial Arts Institute on Bab Al-Wad Street in Jerusalem’s Old City. We met several times to plan an operation: we concluded that I could use my U.S. passport one day to hijack an airliner, but to start we would target all branches of Bank Leumi — mine was the branch of Bank Leumi in Bethlehem’s Manger Square.
The Jerusalem Post article by Jorg Loyken stated that “[Loyken] called Bank Leumi and there was no record of any bombing.” This meaningless statement provided no reference of what records were checked, and Loyken apparently did not check other sources or witness statements that were provided to him. (Loyken’s article has since been referenced by other news sources to attack the credibility and legitimacy of my story.)
After the publication of the Loyken article, witnesses came forth to rebut it and to confirm my account.
I spoke to Moshe Ozery, a retired military officer who served in the Israeli Defense Forces in the Bethlehem area under Moshe Ya’alon prior to Ya’alon becoming IDF chief of staff. Ozery was stationed in Beit Sahour during 1976-1977. He gave details regarding the bombing and demonstrations (and additionally gave a corroborating description of the injured soldier that I attempted to lynch during the Land Day demonstrations of March 1976).
The bombing of the Bank Leumi in Bethlehem’s Manger Square — as described in my books — was documented by the United Nations. Between December 24 and 27, there were two explosions in Manger Square: “Bethlehem (in Manger Square near the Church of the Nativity)” and “Explosive charge went off outside the local Courthouse 27 December 1977 JP. 2 Jan. 1978 Yediot Aharonot, 2 January 1978.” The Sharia Court in Bethlehem Square is part of the mosque in front of Bank Leumi.
James Al-Yateem — another witness from my village and a former classmate of mine — stated: “Not only was there an explosion on top of Bank Leumi in Bethlehem, but many of us knew that Walid did the bombing.” Al-Yateem also recounts several incidents of violence that I was involved in (including the attempted Land Day lynching).
Muhammad Meri Al-Atrash Shoebat, my relative, was also arrested at the Bethlehem Police Station after the explosion and released three days later.
I have other family connections that Itzhak has not explored. My cousin Jawad Younis, another terrorist who was exiled to Jordan, later became a prominent attorney and defended Abu Zubayda, Osama bin Laden’s henchman. My cousin Arin Shoebat was the mastermind of Operation Rishon Litzion, and Raed Awadallah Khalil Shoebat was behind an attempt to bomb Ben Yehuda street.
Gonen: how come you never discovered any of this? No wonder Shin Bet fired you.
1 Blaming The Victims by Edward W. Said and Christopher Hitchens (Verso 2001) on page 100. Also see The Spectator by F.C Westley, 1987, Volume 258, Issues 8269-8285, page 13. Also see Leila Baroody in The Arabs Under Israeli Occupation, 1977, pages 28-29. Also, see Middle East Report, issue 138, page 47.
2 A/32/132, S/12356 July 5, 1977
The article entitled “Israel tortures Arab Prisoners” and a related editorial which appeared in The Sunday Times 19 June 1977 with the request that they be circulated as an official document signed by Security Council Mustafa Medani, Permanent Representative of the Sudan Chairman of the Arab Group.
3 Detention of Palestinian Youths in East Jerusalem, Journal of Palestine Studies 1977, University of California Press. Also see Noam Chomsky Protest From Israel, January 1977
4 International Documents On Palestine, Institute of Palestine Studies, 1978