Those of us who live in democratic societies have grown to see the limits placed on our naturally exuberant police forces as essential components of our civil freedoms. We know a person may not be interrogated without his or her attorney being present. We know a person must be arraigned and charged with a crime, or be set free. We know a minor may not be interrogated without his or her parent present.
Not in the wild-west territory of Judea and Samaria, where police is more likely to be brutal than not, especially to Jewish “settlers” (Hebrew for Pariah) and definitely not regarding Jewish boys of bar mitzvah age and younger.
Every week, it seems, we are treated to new evidence of Israel’s security forces in the “territories” appearing to merge with the Arab regime police forces all around us, employing brute force, intimidation, illegal incarceration and the occasional physical torture, because, frankly, they’ve run out of other ways to solve crimes.
A case in point is the recent testimony of two young teens, one 12, the other 13, who testified on video which was published by HaKol HaYehudi (The Jewish Voice).
At the end of last week, three young teens from Bat Ayin were released after spending six days in prison on suspicion of firebombing an Arab taxi, injuring six Arabs.
All three children withstood extremely difficult conditions and especially long interrogations, accompanied with threats and sophisticated tactics, utilizing relentless psychological pressure.
13-year-old M. told HaKol HaYehudi about the investigation methods employed by the Police Central Unit (Yamar) and the General Security Service (Shabak).
M. and his friends were on their way to Jerusalem Sunday morning, last week.
“At the Gush intersection (a hitchhiking post), a car stopped to give us a ride to Jerusalem. Two of us got in; the third boy wanted to get in too, but the driver said that he would only agree to take two. The driver and his wife started talking to us about ‘Price Tag’ (the clandestine retaliation movement against the left-wing and Arabs) and whether it was a good thing or not,” M. related.
“The driver turned on the radio and it was someone talking about ‘Price Tags’ and that we have to burn down mosques during the day, with the Arabs still inside, and that he tried to join the Price Tag movement and they wouldn’t agree with him. It seemed very strange, but we didn’t understand what was going on,“ M. described.
“When the radio piece was over, the driver started asking us who threw the firebomb, and that of course we knew who it is.” M. answered that he and his friend had no idea who did it.
The two children still didn’t realize that the innocent “hitch” was a actually a police trap.
“We reached Kiryat Moshe and asked to get out, but the driver said that he would pull over for us at a stop further down the road. When we got to that stop, the driver said that it’s illegal to stop at the bus stop and there’s an increased fine for it, so he would stop after the next turn. He stopped after the turn and two detectives immediately jumped on us and told us that we were under arrest for suspicion of conspiracy to commit a crime.”
After several days under arrest, M. was led near the interrogation room when he suddenly heard loud shouts.
“I saw the driver of the car that we hitchhiked in, handcuffed inside the interrogation room, with a detective shouting at him, ‘what did you talk about with them during the ride? We already know everything about you!’ and stuff like that. I heard him tell the detective that he knows me only because he picked me up one day at the Gush intersection and that he has no connection to us.”
“After that, I was put into a holding cell and suddenly they put him in too. He started shouting at me: ‘What did you do? I am a married man and I don’t want to get involved in problems.’”
The investigating police officer then started to shout at M. that he and his friends must tell the detectives what they did in order to get the man released to his family.
“I didn’t really pay attention to him, so they took him out and I didn’t see him again,” said M.