UPDATE: עוד עצור בפרשת הטרור היהודי: צור ישראל בנגוסי, פעיל ימין קיצוני מקריית ארבע
Yet another suspect, Tzur Israel Bengusi, a notorious extremist from Kiryat Arba, has been arrested as a member of “The Rebellion” settler terror cell. His name and arrest are under gag order in Israel. He has been arrested previously and placed under restrictions by the Shabak for prior acts of violence.
Israel has been awash in news and controversy about the four suspects in the Dawabsheh arson murders. Though their names are under gag order in Israel, I’ve reported all four of them here. Their lawyers and the terror support group, Honenu, have complained vigorously about alleged torture inflicted on their clients. This is treatment routinely inflicted on Palestinian security detainees imprisoned for far less severe crimes. Settlers and their facilitators never utter a word of complaint about this system, only caring for the welfare of “their own,” that is, Jews.
There appears to be a political conflict between the intelligence apparatus and the settler lobby. The latter persuaded defense minister Bogie Yaalon, who is a close ally of theirs, to release a statement a few days ago that implied the case might be dropped for lack of evidence. He said that the suspects had confessed to lesser acts of terror, but that Shabak came up empty regarding the murders. I took that as a shot across the bow of the Shabak and police on behalf of the settlers.
Today, 1,000 settler supporters rallied in Jerusalem near Yoram Cohen’s home. Nearly 100 of them tried to physically storm the site, but were prevented by the police. In the many years I’ve written this blog I’ve never heard of protesters storming the home of any intelligence chief. To my recollection this is unprecedented and terribly brazen. It shows just how much the settler movement believes it has the political system in its pocket. An Israeli I consulted recalled that there may’ve been such a demonstration in the days when Ami Ayalon headed Shabak. But that was twenty years ago. In any event, this is an extremely rare event.
Two different Israeli security sources inform me there’s been a major break in the case. At least one (and possibly more) of the suspects have not only confessed to the murders, but reconstructed the crime for investigators. Maan News also confirms that at least one suspect was brought to Duma to re-enact the crime for investigators. This is done generally after the suspect has confessed.
Though all four were present at the scene of the crime (an eyewitness saw four individuals run from the home after it’d been torched), at least one (and possibly more) of them has refused to confess. To render its case stronger or even unassailable, interrogators are attempting to get all of them to confess. That would make the prosecution air-tight and permit no wiggle-room for the defense to argue its way out of the charges for any of them.
My second source explains the discrepancy between how many suspects have confessed and how many have refused by noting that Shabak wants the suspect/s who hasn’t/haven’t confessed to believe that all the others except him have done so. They can threaten to throw the book at the holdout by telling him they will throw the book at him and give lighter sentences to his co-conspirators.
An interesting side note is that several of the suspects in murder case and among those arrested in the broader investigation into the terror group being called “The Rebellion,” have dual nationality. At least one is Australian and two or more are American (I noted that Israel Keller, one of the suspected killers is a U.S. citizen). In an earlier post, I reported that the State Department has refused to comment on the presence of American nationals among these accused terrorists. If one didn’t know better, one might think this means the U.S. government feels one way about Arab terrorists and another way about Jewish ones. It denounces Muslims, but maintains radio silence regarding Jews. That doesn’t seem right, does it?