I want to make clear, immediately, just how uncomfortable I am with this post. Both the act and the process are difficult and troubling, and if anyone would recommend removing or otherwise amending the identifying information, I will take it into very serious consideration.
Nonetheless, I have multiply-cross-checked, publicly-available sources that confirm the identity of the (supposed) eBay seller of the Gaza Apollo; and I have contacted the subject repeatedly via various media, but he has not responded.
Since I have contacted him privately and there may be an innocuous explanation, I would ask that no-one contacts him at his workplace.
‘Probably, very naive[ly]‘, I had not thought that eBay seller thn87 would use the same tag for his Facebook address but, as fmar pointed out, he had. Soon after fmar pointed that out, thn87 changed his Facebook url.
Still, I knew that thn87 had used that name elsewhere, and I knew that his real name was Thaer Almadhoun. (Almadhoun now has a different Facebook username and address, but I know those too, as I do other accounts and references.)
Almadhoun is a Gazan Palestinian, who became a permanent resident in Canada at least five years ago, and who became a Canadian citizen last year. In 2008, he was one of hundreds of students to whom Israel denied a permit to leave the Gaza Strip (though, eventually, it relented).
An excellent student, Almadhoun graduated business administration at Brock University (to which he transferred from development and commerce at Niagara College). He is now an estimator at Woodart and Store Fixtures, Inc.
At the latest by the 10th of October, he had opened the alleged auction on the Gaza Apollo on eBay; and on the 15th of October, he closed the auction. (The technical explanation on eBay is that ‘[t]his listing was ended by the seller because the item is no longer available‘, which may cause concern; however, he most likely closed his auction simply because his advert had been noticed.)
Since the Repubblica article was published on the 10th of October (in English as well as Italian), it is most likely that Almadhoun received a news alert and straight away made the eBay listing, impressively completed with photos ripped from Repubblica that cannot be found in the article.
I am not accusing Almadhoun of any crime. Theoretically, there are two innocuous explanations for this aspect of the Gaza Apollo case. However, I am loathe to provide either of them in case one of them is used disingenuously, and neither fits with the excellently fabricated advert.
Nevertheless, I repeat, Thaer, that I would very much like to speak with you. I would like to understand and to explain what has happened. Please, Thaer, e-mail me.