The Jerusalem Post''s Yaakov Lappin, in his report "Settlers furious over ''reconnaissance arrests''", notes that there is criticism being voiced as regards the arrests and subsequnet charging of six activists from the nationalist camp "on suspicion of monitoring the movements of security forces And carrying out "reconnaissance on army and Border Police movements" so as to thwart demolitions of outposts.
He quotes the Judea and Samaria police spokeswoman Nurit Tzemah as saying
"The suspicions are that they collected classified information without permission, and mutiny...they warned other far-right activists, with a view to mobilizing them to areas and creating disturbances...Spying [though] isn''t the right word"
I would think that if soldiers are used for what should be regular police duties which include maintaining the public order rather than purely providing security, well, we might be witnessing the ''bending'' or more correct, the ''stretching'' of the penal code.
In the first instance, what crime are these suspects to be assisting in their behavior? Protecting private property rights? Guarding state lands? I would think the matter is a bit more complex than what Ms. Tzemah informs. Moreover, if, at a demonstration, I ask a policeman for his identity number (and as we know, there exists the problem of police either not wearing a name tag, against regulations by the way, or hiding them in some fashion), could I be accused of surveillance activity or even interference in the performance by a policeman of his duties? How much leeway do the police seek?
Secondly, these "crimes" are more of a protest character - of course, entering an army base to destroy property, is another matter entirely - and should be treated as such. That the police and even GSS have largely been stumped, failing in their own reconaissance activities, is noo reason to subvert them,selves the rule of law. I disagree with the Jerusalem Magistrate''s youth court which ruled that the surveillance posts in question were not civilian in nature. Fopr sure, however, they weren''t military.
Itzik Shadmi, head of the Binyamin Resident''s Council did seem to hit the nail on the head, calling the arrests:
a campaign [that is] turning us into enemies.
The ''price tag'' policy is wrong. Violence is wrong. And this interpretation of the penal code is incorrect, too. Perhaps a problem for Israel''s democracy.