Israeli soldiers detain Jewish settlers during clashes with Palestinians near the West Bank village of Deir Jarir, near Ramallah.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency issued a detailed denial on Thursday in response to claims of torture made by lawyers representing Jewish suspects who are in custody as part of the investigation into July’s arson attack in Duma, in which a Palestinian toddler and his parents were murdered.
“Recently, a Jewish terrorist organization has been investigated. Its operatives are suspected of severe terrorist attacks, which endangered lives, holy sites, and property,” the Shin Bet said.
“This organization is characterized by an extreme, anti-Zionist ideology, which aims to use violent means to topple the State of Israel, including through terrorist acts to promote its goals,” it added.
“Terrorist attacks carried out by the organization led to, among others, the murder of three innocent Palestinians, and as a result, contributed to instability in the region, and worsened the security situation,” the Shin Bet said.
To thwart the significant security threat posed by members of the group, and to meet the obligation of preventing further acts of murder, a number of “central operatives in the terrorist organization have been arrested for questioning.
They have been interrogated intensively on the suspicion attributed to them,” the Shin Bet added.
“Unfortunately, since the arrests, the Shin Bet has identified an ongoing initiative aimed at slandering the organization and its employees, and disrupting its operational work. This effort is worthy of all condemnation, and it will not stop the Shin Bet, as the agent of the State of Israel, under its state values, from carrying out its work,” the agency stated.
All lines of investigation have been followed out in strict accordance with the law, it said.
Earlier on Thursday, lawyers from the Honenu legal representation group representing the suspects accused the Shin Bet of physical torture.
Honenu said some of the suspects have been allowed to meet with their lawyers after 21 days of being in custody, adding that “one of the interrogators attacked the private parts of one of the suspects, while the other changed the seating position of a minor on a chair while he was bound, until he could no longer feel his limbs.”
Adi Keidar, one of the attorneys representing a minor, said at the news conference, “Today is a sad day for the legal and law enforcement fields in Israel. Today is the day that the state decided, for the first time in its history, to turn into another state, a state we should not be in, in which the Shin Bet interrogation room is a place where suspects have no rights, and anything that comes to the mind of the interrogator can be done to them.”
Keidar said that when he saw his minor client, “I understood that I am not looking at the same person that I know. I was looking at a completely different person, a person who experienced something very difficult.”