MK Hasson: Ilan Grapel Treated Fairly in Egyptian Prison

Lahav Harkov; Nir Elis

MK Hasson: Ilan Grapel Treated Fairly in Egyptian Prison

Kadima MK meets with dual Israeli-US citizen detained in Egypt on espionage charges, says Egypt “worthy of our appreciation,” not like Hamas.

The Jerusalem Post


Grapel, Hasson and Molcho Photo: Courtesy

MK Yisrael Hasson (Kadima) recalled on Tuesday his visit with New Yorker Ilan Grapel in the Egyptian prison where the Israeli-US has been kept on espionage charges since June 12.

Shortly before Egypt agreed on Monday to release Grapel, 27, Hasson, who was involved in the negotiations to free Grapel, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s special envoy Yitzhak Molcho, talked to Grapel.

“We met Grapel when it was clear to us that we were about to close the deal,” Hasson, formerly a senior Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) officer, explained. “It was a very emotional meeting, and he was not aware of the negotiations, even though they were revealed to the press.”

“When we started talking, Grapel didn’t know who we are, and answered us in Arabic. He said he was treated fairly and sensitively.”

Hasson also said Grapel’s parents had been allowed to visit him in prison, and that he told stories of his experiences in prison.

“I’ll leave him the privilege of giving the details to the press,” the MK quipped.

Hasson told reporters that once the cabinet approves the deal, in which 25 non-terrorist Egyptian prisoners are to be released from Israeli jails in exchange for Grapel, it will be implemented within two days.

“The Egyptians accused Grapel of espionage, but they did not indict him,” Hasson explained. “This made finding a solution easier, because getting a pardon after a trial is much more complicated – in Israel, too.

“If there won’t be complaints to the High Court, he will be home on Thursday,” the Kadima MK said.

“Egypt isn’t like Hamas. In my opinion, most people are not looking at this situation in the right way.

“The new government in Egypt traversed the potholes [in the negotiations process] and are worthy of our appreciation,” Hasson said.

MK Arye Eldad (National Union) slammed the prisoner exchange.

“Israel is becoming morally bankrupt,” he said. “After releasing murdering terrorists for a drug dealer [Elhanan Tannenbaum, who was arrested by Hezbollah in 2000], the state is releasing drug dealers in exchange for a professional anarchist who worked against the state at protests [against the West Bank security barrier] in Bil’in.”

“The state is emptying itself of any concept of law and justice. Maybe tomorrow the government will propose a wholesale release of foreign workers convicted of rape or murder in exchange for Israelis who dealt drugs in Japan or Thailand,” Eldad said.

Almagor Terror Victims Association is trying to delay the prisoner exchange, saying that half of the 25 Egyptian prisoners to be released in exchange for Grapel are, contrary to official claims, security prisoners.

Almagor said that half the prisoners had provided weapons to terrorists, while the other half were involved in smuggling drugs.

“The Israeli government is turning itself into a Mediterranean bazaar for its kidnapped citizens, making them a living commodity for terrorists and governments,” the group said.

Almagor called on Israelis to avoid traveling to Muslim countries, to avoid being kidnapped or arrested for political purposes.

“Israelis traveling in Turkey and Jordan may find themselves in a similar situation as Grapel, and consider these events as a travel warning,” the NGO said.