Young Israeli Jews arrested on suspicion of causing the death of a Palestinian woman filmed themselves burning the Israeli flag, according to a video published by the Shin Bet domestic security service on Sunday. The security forces also confiscated Israeli flags daubed with Nazi slogans from the home of one of the detained teenagers.
The five minors are suspected of hurling stones at a car of Palestinian woman in October, leading to her death. Aisha al-Rawbi, 47, and her husband Aykube, 52, were driving through the junction with their nine-year-old daughter, on their way back from a family wedding in Hebron, when a large rock was thrown at their car, hitting Aisha in the head and killing her.
The five Israeli teenagers arrested in the case are suspected of a series of severe terrorism offenses, including her death. They are all under the age of 18 and have not been formally charged. The flag that was taken from the home of one of the minors had "Death to the Zionists" and "This stinking flag"—alongside a drawing of a swastika—written on it.
Lawyers for the five suspects said their clients were being held in isolation in a bid by the Shin Bet in order to force false confessions. The Shin Bet dismissed claims that their interrogation methods were unethical.
"The Shin Bet acts in accordance with the law to thwart terror activity, regardless of where it originates," said the agency in a statement. “As part of the investigation into the attack, we found evidence that indicates the suspects had anti-Zionist and extremist motives … evidenced by the activity and the harsh language used by the minors to attack the State of Israel and its symbols."
"The allegations that the suspects were kidnapped by the agency are baseless," the Shin Bet said, adding that "warrants were issued by a judge before the arrest, and immediately after the teenagers’ families were informed. The suspects were not allowed to meet with their lawyers for the first six days of interrogation due to being suspected of terrorism offences."
The Shin Bet also rejected the accusation of abuse during the interrogation process, saying that anti-terrorism measures taken by the agency are standard, and applied to all terror suspects, regardless of whether they are Arab or Jewish.
"The interrogatees were held in accordance with the standard procedures, separately from adult detainees … they did not raise any concerns about their well being either with the Shin Bet medical staff or the court officials during the appeal hearings,” said the agency’s statement, adding that the suspects were provided with Kosher food and the right to observe Shabbat.
"Since the arrests began, the Shin Bet has identified an intentional and ongoing effort by interested parties to defame the agency and its personnel and delegitimize its activity. This attempt is reprehensible, and it will not dissuade the Shin Bet from continuing its activity to thwart any kind of terrorism—Jewish or Palestinian," the agency said.