Over the past few weeks, Israeli media have been publishing leaked bits of information from the Shabak—Israel’s clandestine police, and from rightwing sources, on the secret arrests of Jews in Judea and Samaria, in preparation for another case against “Jewish terrorists.” The suspects, adults and young teens, were kept away from legal counsel, as has been the norm rather than the exception in the workings of the Jewish Section of the secret police, not to be confused with the Yevsektsiya—the Jewish Section of the Soviet secret police. In a manner similar to the workings of their Soviet predecessors, however, the Shabak was definitely preparing a show trial, exposing once and for all the Jewish terrorists lurking everywhere in Judea and Samaria with murder in their hearts.
After all those weeks of isolation and rough interrogation, with the suspects’ human rights being trampled as only a secret policeman knows how to do, the indictments that were brought against the seven suspects on Monday include little more than being a group of Jewish settlers who have had it up to here with Arab violence.
The central suspects are two minors, ages 16 and 17, and a soldier, 19, from Nachliel, a Haredi communal settlement in Judea and Samaria located close to the Arab villages of Beitillu and Deir ‘Ammar, about 14 miles from Modi’in. The other suspects are Pinhas Shendorfi, 22, married and living in Kiriat Arba; Itamar Ben Aharon, 20, of Nachliel; Shneur Dana, in his 20s, married and father of children from Maale Ephraim; and Michael Kaplan, 20, from Nachliel. Three of the suspects are brothers, and Dana is married to their sister.
Arab car in Beitillu, allegedly burnt by the accused.
The indictment charges that the seven suspects “wanted, among other things, to spread fear and panic among the Palestinian residents of Judea and Samaria, on the one hand, and on the other hand to deliver messages to the security forces and to the Israeli public on security issues.”
In other words, none of them are accused of, say, murder, or even manslaughter. They are accused, and according to Walla have already confessed to causing damage to property in a number of neighboring Arab villages. They apparently threw Molotov cocktails on one occasion at a house in an Arab village north of Ramallah last November 20, but it was deflected by a window. On December 22 they are accused of throwing IDF issue gas grenades into a house in another Arab village. They also sprayed graffiti on walls belonging to Arabs, saying: “Revenge,” “death to the Arabs,” “Jews, Wake Up,” and “Revenge, Regards to the Prisoners of Zion,” the latter being the subject of some controversy as to what they actually meant — they most likely meant the Jewish administrative prisoners who are lingering in state jails without an indictment against them, by the stroke of the pen of Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud).
The seven are also charged with illegal possession of weapons and membership in an illegal organization, although the organization appears to be this family in Nachliel. The prosecution says they constituted an extremist and violent organization which systematically attacked Arabs and their property “with full awareness of the possibility that they might harm human lives, even after the results of the arson of the Duma village house, and, in effect, inspired by it.”
In the end, the indictment comes down to accusing the defendants of hating Arabs and expressing their hatred in dangerous ways. In other words, harassment and disorderly conduct with illegal weapons involved.
Frankly, that’s a little disappointing for such a production.