Shin Bet responds to attempts at 'slander'
The Shin Bet published a highly unusual statement on Thursday evening with regard to the ongoing investigation into Jewish terrorism, the details of which are still under gag order. The Jewish arrestees are defined as members of an 'anti-Zionist organization' that is working to violently overthrow the government.
The Shin Bet issued a rare public statement on Thursday evening, in the wake of a press conference held by a team working to defend those arrested in connection with Jewish terrorism.
The domestic security agency defines the suspects in the murder of the Dawabsheh family as "members of an organization" that pose a significant security threat and whose goal is a change in Israel's government.
"A Jewish terror organization has been under investigation recently, whose activity is suspected to include serious terror attacks that endangered life and harmed religious sanctity and property," the Shin Bet statement said.
"This organization adheres to an extreme, anti-Zionist ideology, that has set itself the goal of violently overthrowing the Israeli government," the statement continued.
"The terror attacks that are suspected to have been carried out by the organization led to, among other things, the murder of three innocent Palestinians. This contributed to instability in the region and worsened the security situation," the agency added.
The statement continued: "To our regret, since the arrests the Shin Bet has identified a proactive and ongoing effort to slander the organization and its work, and to disrupt its activities.
"This attempt deserves full condemnation and will not deter the Shin Bet from continuing its work as envoys of citizens of the State of Israel, in line with national values," the statement added.
The Shin Bet explained the importance of detaining these suspects, despite their being held under administrative detention and being prevented from seeing a lawyer.
"A meaningful security threat has been perceived from the organization members' activities in the territories. There is a duty to thwart their intention to continue perpetrating serious terror attacks that are liable to lead to casualties," the statement continued.
"Several central activists from this terror organization were arrested for interrogation and they are being questioned intensively regarding the suspicions attributed to them."
'Where are the human rights organizations?'
The suspects' lawyers on Thursday evening held a press conference in which they addressed the claims of the arrestees – among them minors – that they were abused and tortured during the investigation.
Some progress began on Thursday when one of the suspects was permitted to meet his attorney, Adi Keidar, who said that he was hardly able to identify the suspect when they met due to the "extreme violence" that he'd been subjected to.
"They prevented him from sleeping and his hands and feet are cuffed. Senior interrogators come in and start beating sensitive parts of his body until he stops feeling anything, including kicks and slaps," Keidar said.
Attorney Itamar Ben Gvir, who represents another of the suspects, claimed it had been a "black day for democracy." Attorney David Halevy added: "The legal system is supposed to restrain those conducting interrogations. Where are the human rights organizations? Where is the National Council for the Child?"
In response to the reports of Shin Bet violence, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel said on Thursday evening: "The attorneys' reports of the Shin Bet's use violence against the suspects in the terror attack in Duma raise grave suspicion of the use of illegal interrogation methods.
"This includes the use of physical force and sleep deprivation for extended periods. These interrogation methods have been excluded by the Supreme Court following petitions by the Association for Civil Rights, the Pubic Committee Against Torture and the Center for the Defence of the Individiual, which were partly based on reports from B'Tselem.
"We call on the Ministry of Justice to immediately investigate these complaints against the Shin Bet," the statement continued.