(JNi.media) Back in September 2014, it was revealed that a joint Shin Bet (Shabak) and IDF operation exposed and foiled an extensive military infrastructure of Hamas, which operated throughout Judea and Samaria, recruiting military units and carrying out attacks against Israeli targets. The infrastructure operations, controlled by Hamas headquarters in Turkey, involved Hamas members who had been trained abroad, and were placed in Judea and Samaria to carry out terror operations. The joint operation arrested 93 suspects, out of whom 46 were interrogated by the Shin Bet. The operation also captured 24 M16 rifles, six pistols, seven rocket launchers, explosives materials, and about $150,000 in cash.
The newly hatched Hamas underground was involved in the kidnapping of three Jewish boys which led to the 2014 Operation Protective Edge against Gaza.
Now, according to a report in Haaretz, the Shin Bet is demanding that the military prosecution sign plea bargains with the Arab defendants, who will receive disproportionately light sentences, considering this is a case of the largest-scale Hamas infrastructure effort in Judea and Samaria. The report suggests the reason for the light deals has to do with the Shin Bet looking to avoid having its operatives testify in court about the interrogation methods used against detainees in this case.
According to the Shin Bet website, Hamas is highly motivated to open a second front against Israel in Judea and Samaria, as part of its plan to destabilize the Palestinian Authority.
In 1987, after complaints about excessive use of violence, the Landau Commission— a three-man panel set up by the Israeli Government—drew up guidelines condoning “moderate physical pressure” when necessary. In 1994, State Comptroller and later Supreme Court Justice Miriam Ben-Porat found that these regulations were violated and senior Shin Bet commanders did not prevent it. In 1999, the Supreme Court heard petitions against Shin Bet methods, including “forceful and repeated shaking of the suspect’s upper torso, in a manner which causes the neck and head to swing rapidly,” manacling of the suspect in a painful position for a long period of time, and the “frog crouch” consisting of “consecutive, periodical crouches on the tips of one’s toes.” The Court, in a heralded, landmark decision, ruled that the Shin Bet did not have the authority, even under the defense of “necessity,” to use these methods. The Shin Bet claims it now uses only psychological interrogation methods, although B’Tselem and Amnesty International continue to accuse it of using torture.