It is well known that successive Tunisians regimes – there’s own been two – have allowed the Israeli Mossad, intelligence agency, to operate in the country provided its focus is against the Palestinians.
Tunisia’s Bourguiba provided a refugee for the PLO after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 at the behest of an American request to transfer the Palestinian faction away from Israel’s border. The Israelis later bombed the PLO office in Tunis and killed numerous civilians, including Tunis nearby, all because an entirely different Palestinian faction had killed Israelis or an American Jew (I forget the exact incident, and I am too lazy to look now, but I believe it was after the now effectively defunct Palestine Liberation Front attacked the Achille Lauro).
But the Tunisian authorities, due to their obsequious alliance with the United States, continued to turn a blind eye to Israeli covert operations in the country. Many prominent Palestinian officials were killed in those years by Israeli agents. And I few years back a Tunisian former sought refugee (granted) in Germany after it was discovered he was on the Mossad payroll.
All this has suddenly become salient in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution which has overthrown the 23-year reigning tyrant Ben Ali, the first time in Arab history that a popular revolution of this nature (and fortunately it was not Islamists) toppled in an authoritarian regime, and the transition to democracy which will hopefully take place due to this Israeli headline:
A group of 20 Israelis was rescued Saturday evening from Tunisia, where a violent uprising has succeeded in overturning the government. The complicated mission was orchestrated by a number of Israeli authorities, including the Foreign Ministry. The tourists were first transferred to a third country, from where are to continue to Israel by plane.
Right. Tourists. Do they think we’re saps? Israeli must think that we are all stupid.
But these “tourists” could also likely be Mossad agent and are fleeing now since the new cabinet and ruling elite will not look kindly, to say the least, on Israeli operations in the country. And thus they fled for fear of being trapped and apprehended under the new government. And the Mossad office folds.