Today, the Shin Bet released accused murderer Chaim Pearlman from prison after a judge refused to extend his detention for an additional eight days. Such refusal is quite unusual in a judicial system which grants utmost deference to security considerations.
Haaretz noted the news approvingly, as if this signified that Israeli democracy was working properly. It did so while also rapping the Shin Bet over the knuckles for its sorry performance in rooting out Jewish terror and for abusing suspects (including Palestinians) in the process of investigating them.
In the final paragraph of the editorial, Haaretz made one interesting and important statement about the quality of evidence against the latest series of Palestinian Israeli security suspects; while making a glaring omission of important information:
Pearlman is not the only suspect in recent months who was arrested on the basis of serious allegations that quickly turned out to be false. He was preceded by several Israeli Arab detainees; in those cases, a raft of allegations produced little. Before the Shin Bet arrests people and makes false accusations, it should investigate carefully. It should remember that not everything is permitted in interrogations, and that torture – whether psychological or physical – is always unacceptable, no matter the case or the suspect. Even the war against terror must be conducted using legal means.
This is the first indication I have seen of media skepticism in the cases of Omar Said, Ameer Makhoul and the group I call the Syria 3, which includes long-time Shin Bet target, Mahmoud Masarwah. I have been saying precisely the same thing for months myself.
The glaring omission is the fact that all these Arab suspects remain locked up indefinitely while Pearlman has gone free. It should be noted that Pearlman is accused of multiple murders, which the Palestinian suspects are accused of spying. Yet the former is free and the latter in prison. This is justice in a democracy?