Fight breaks out with police at court over Jewish terror case

There were 32 anti-Arab incidents were in 2018 – double the number from 2017.

A man looks out of a house badly damaged by a firebomb attack by suspected Jewish extremists in the Palestinian village of Duma in the West Bank, July 31, 2015 (photo credit: REUTERS)
A man looks out of a house badly damaged by a firebomb attack by suspected Jewish extremists in the Palestinian village of Duma in the West Bank, July 31, 2015
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A fight broke out between right-wing activists in support of the suspects in the alleged Jewish terror case and the police outside the Rishon Letzion Court on Monday, when the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) interrogated one of the minors that was arrested/
The Shin Bet can continue to interrogate a minor who was arrested on Sunday while blocking his access to a lawyer in an alleged case of Jewish terrorism, the Lod District Court ruled Monday.
The minor’s lawyer, Itamar Ben Gvir, had filed a petition demanding he get to meet with his client, but the court denied the petition.
Ben Gvir responded to the Lod Court decision saying, “Unfortunately, the court is giving its backing too broadly to the Shin Bet though just recently we revealed troubling testimony regarding the Shin Bet’s conduct of questioning the detainees in the Duma case. We will appeal to the Supreme Court and prevent further harm to the minors.”
Parents of three minors being held by the Shin Bet in relation to the case expressed deep concern about their condition on Monday.
The minor and two others, whose names are under gag order, have been under questioning by the Shin Bet without access to a lawyer since they were arrested by the Shin Bet and police in the West Bank Sunday.
Further details of the allegations are under gag order pending developments in the ongoing questioning of the suspects.
Later on Monday, the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court extended the detention of all three suspects until at least next Sunday.
While disappointed, Ben Gvir pointed out that he did obtain the court’s support for a social worker to visit the minors to ensure that they were not being treated improperly and to provide objective updates to the court.
He said the court also accepted the need for a social worker’s intervention due to prior allegations of mistreatment of Jewish activists accused of terrorism in the Duma case.
Outside the Rishon Lezion courthouse, there was an altercation between around 20 right-wing activist supporters of the three suspects and police.
The activists can be seen on video trying to remove police barriers and shoving some of the police officers who were holding the line at the barriers, followed by the police aggressively throwing some of the protesters to the ground and detaining them.
Publicly and robustly backing the Shin Bet, State Attorney Shai Nitzan said at a Calcalist conference on Monday that “terror is terror is terror” and that Jewish terrorists should not get off easy simply because they are not Arabs.
The Shin Bet had no comment on the case, but according to Ben Gvir, one of the minors was arrested by security forces during a raid of a yeshiva in the northern West bank.
Though suspects, especially minors, generally have the right to consult a lawyer in security cases, the courts permit the Shin Bet a longer period of time to question suspects without such access.
There were no allegations yet of the Shin Bet using enhanced interrogation on the suspects, but it did use such methods in 2015 on the alleged Duma Jewish terrorist conspirators.
The Shin Bet’s use of enhanced interrogation in the Duma case led to some confessions being disqualified by the trial court. Others were accepted by the court and the prosecution says it still expects to convict the defendants.
Whether enhanced interrogation might be used in the current case will depend on whether the suspects cooperate, and if they do not, whether the Shin Bet can convincingly argue that they need to unravel more aspects of the cell to stop further attacks.
However, there was speculation on Sunday night that this cell was less organized than the Duma cell, which might weaken the idea that it had future dangerous attacks planned.
There have been 32 anti-Arab or anti-Palestinian incidents in 2018, nearly double the number from 2017.
In recent weeks, in particular, there have been a number of so-called “price tag” vandalism incidents in Judea and Samaria that remain unsolved.
On October 13, a Palestinian woman, Aysha Ravi, died after being hit by rocks while she was driving her car near the Tapuah Barrier in the West Bank.
Ravi’s husband, who was beside her in the car, was injured in the attack.
There was testimony from the Palestinian side that Jewish rock throwers had been involved, but no one had been caught to date.