I’ve published here, the only media source inside or outside Israel to do so, the full name of the settler suspect arrested by police in the mosque arson attack: Yisrael Katz from Yitzhar. I’ve also noted that the evidence against him is thin and unlikely to stick or result in formal charges. Israeli media is reporting that a second suspect was arrested today in the crime and my Israeli source indicates he is Elkanah Pikar, about 20 years old and also from Yitzhar. In my earlier post about the mosque burning I indicated that a car was impounded at the settlement by the police. It transpires that this was Pikar’s car. Little if anything of this has been reported in the Israeli media as there is a gag on the investigation.
Close readers of this blog will remember my quarrels with Yossi Melman, who is far too often far too friendly with his sources inside Israeli intelligence, resulting in much of his writing taking a slant that is favorable to them. But every once in a while he really nails a story, and he’s done so tonight in criticizing the shameful record of the Shin Bet in solving crimes of Jewish terror. When Melman is willing to be critical he can be a terrific reporter as this story shows.
Melman notes that the Shin Bet has offered Katz far more lenient treatment than it offers Palestinian suspects. They are tortured routinely, denied access to their lawyers, and basically made to confess. None of this happened to Katz and he has, according to Melman clammed up after his lawyer told him to do so.
Yesterday, more Jewish settler jihadis desecrated a Muslim cemetery in the Palestinian town of Jaffa. Shimon Peres and Bibi have sword the culprits will be hunted down, arrested and sent away. Pardon me, but we’ll believe it when we see it.
The Shin Bet, Israeli judges and reporters looks at this as sordid nasty stuff. But they don’t see it as a plague. Literally, a disease that needs to be uprooted from the body politic. What happens when a sore festers is it becomes infected and can kill the host. The disease is racism and religious hatred. The disease is Occupation. Get rid of the disease or it may kill you.
Look at the image of Yisrael Katz displayed here. This is the little 19 year old pisher who wants to bring holy war to Israel. This is what the Shin Bet is up against and can’t control. Does it seem credible to you?
Returning to Melman’s critique of the Shin Bet’s behavior, he writes:
The Shin Bet has also not been employing special procedures [ed. “torture”] in interrogating him [Katz]. Otherwise, it would have been possible to bar him from meeting with a lawyer, but this was not done. The lawyer, at least at this point, has advised his client to maintain his right to remain silent.
These details are the big difference. The Shin Bet has…repeatedly failed…when it comes to…the carrying out of pogroms and terror attacks by Jews. The mosque in Tuba-Zangaria is the fourth incident involving arson. It was preceded by one in Ibtin in the Western Galilee and two others in Palestinian villages in the West Bank. And then over the weekend, the reports surfaced of desecration of Muslim and Christian graves in Jaffa. Anyone who commits arson at a mosque or desecrates graves isn’t simply trying to exact revenge. He is also seeking to provoke a religious war.
The repeated Shin Bet failures in solving cases of Jewish terrorism are both disturbing and endanger the fabric of Israeli democracy…This represents a systemic failure.
Those…committing pogroms benefit from the lenience of judges, who more than once have made light of such deeds and released the perpetrators or imposed light sentences. Suspects have also benefited from incompetence that appears to have been deliberate on the part of the police and the army.
The Jewish Israeli press also plays a role in that it adopts the euphemisms of the settlers, who call the offenses “price tag” incidents, as if they were dealing with merchandise in a supermarket. The truth has to be stated. What the settlers are doing to their Palestinian neighbors is terrorism in every sense of the word.
In all the years that the Shin Bet has fought Jewish terrorism, its senior officials have contended that it is difficult to infiltrate nationalist bands of Jewish religious zealots because their operations are very compartmentalized and they are trained on how to face interrogation. These are simply excuses. The Islamic Hezbollah and Hamas organizations are also religious zealots. They, too, study their enemy but nonetheless the Shin Bet and the intelligence agencies manage to infiltrate them and obtain accurate intelligence information about them.
The three heads of the Shin Bet over the past decade, Avi Dichter, Yuval Diskin and the current head, Yoram Cohen, are the product of elite commando units. They have certainly not forgotten the saying that there is no such thing as not being able to do something – just not wanting to.
- Rabbis Stand In Solidarity With Burned Mosque In Israel (loonwatch.com)