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The farce of catching Jewish terrorists

When it comes to Jewish terrorism the Shin Bet is either ill-equipped or totally uninterested in preventing attacks against Palestinian civilians.

Relatives of 18-month-old Palestinian boy Ali Dawabshe, who was killed along with his mother and father when Jewish terrorists set their home on fire, mourn next to his body during his funeral in the West Bank village of Duma, July 31, 2015. (Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

Relatives of 18-month-old Palestinian boy Ali Dawabshe, who was killed along with his mother and father when Jewish terrorists set their home on fire, mourn next to his body during his funeral in the West Bank village of Duma, July 31, 2015. (Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

After months of seemingly never-ending promises by Israel’s defense establishment, a number of Israeli youths have been arrested in connection with the arson attack in the West Bank village Duma last summer, which killed three members of the Dawabshe family.

Several young Israelis were detained for questioning in recent days over their connection to Jewish extremist organizations, says the Shin Bet following the partial lifting of a gag order. Their identity still remains under gag order.

Gag orders are commonly used in cases of Jewish terrorism, a courtesy hardly extended to Palestinian subjects of military rule. In fact, at any given moment there are hundreds of Palestinians, including minors, who Israel holds without trial. Their existence is no secret, and there is no gag order hovering over their cases. Yet how often do they make it to the front page of newspapers?

The Duma arrests come just months after Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon first claimed he knew who was responsible for the attack, yet abstained from putting anyone on trial so as not to expose the defense establishment’s source’s in court.

In fact, in the days following the attacks, Israeli authorities announced they had put three alleged Jewish extremists, two of whom are U.S. citizens, into administrative detention (a tool for imprisoning somebody without trial). The state has never actually connected those three men to the Duma murders, which makes the use of administrative detention all the more alarming.

The Duma attacks, which took the lives of 18-month-old Ali Dawabsha, as well as his mother Reham and her husband Sa’ad — leaving their four-year-old son, Ahmed, without a family — rightfully brought the issue of Jewish terrorism to the forefront of the Israeli public discourse. Yet the question remains: does the Israeli security establishment actually do everything it can to bring Jewish terrorists to justice?

Huda Abu Ranni inspects the damage to her home, which was attacked and burned by suspected Jewish extremists using petrol bombs, in the village of Abu Falah, northeast of Ramallah, on November 23, 2014.

Huda Abu Ranni inspects the damage to her home, which was attacked and burned by suspected Jewish extremists using petrol bombs, in the village of Abu Falah, northeast of Ramallah, on November 23, 2014.

It is no secret that Israel’s security services have spent the last 67 years treating Palestinian terrorism with utmost seriousness. Through building a wide network of informants, the Shin Bet has been successful in capturing or killing Palestinians who have either planned or participated in terror attacks against Israelis (“I didn’t want any more live terrorists in court…In the war against terror, forget about morality,” former Shin Bet head Avraham Shalom famously told Dror Moreh in the Oscar-nominated documentary, “The Gatekeepers”).

When it comes to Jewish terrorism, however, it seems the Shin Bet is either ill-equipped or totally uninterested in preventing attacks against Palestinian civilians.

Case in point: according to Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din, there have been 18 cases of arson attacks on Palestinian homes in the West Bank since 2008. This number refers solely to the number of incidents recorded by the organization.

Among these cases, police investigated 15 of the attacks (in three cases, the victims decided not to file a complaint). According to Yesh Din, only one arson attack — the burning of a Bedouin family’s tent near Ramallah in August 2015, just weeks after the Duma attack — ended in indictment. Ten of the cases were closed without any indictments; the others are still being investigated.

Furthermore, out of the 1,026 cases being handled by Yesh Din over the past 10 years, 940 cases (91.6 percent) were closed without any convictions. Only in 75 cases (7.3 percent) were individuals indicted handed down.

It doesn’t help that some of the most notorious Jewish terrorists that have been caught were later given clemency from the Israeli state. In the 1980s, a terrorist organization called “The Jewish Underground” — formed by prominent members of the Israeli settler movement, Gush Emunum — carried out a series of terror attacks, including car bomb attacks against Palestinian officials. The group also planned to blow up six Arab buses full of Muslim worshippers in Jerusalem, a plot that was foiled by the Shin Bet.

Their sentences were controversially commuted three times by then President Chaim Herzog and they were released after serving less than seven years. In 1984, three of the members, Menachem Livni, Shaul Nir and Uzi Sharbav, were given life sentences for their involvement in terrorism, sentences that were commuted by 1990. After their 1990 release the three were hailed as “heroes” by leaders of the Gush Emunim movement.

In 2015, Ofer Gamliel, who belonged to the radical “Bat Ayin Underground” group and was sentenced to a 15-year prison term for a failed 2002 bomb plot against an Palestinian girls’ school in the Jerusalem, was released from prison — more than two years before the conclusion of his sentence.

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    1. Gustav

      Riiiiiiiiight….

      Now let’s get scandalized about the PA and Hamas who insist that Israel has to release convicted Arab terrorists from jail, child killers and all.

      The PA offers fake peace negotiations in exchange while Hamas is a bit more up front. They offer hostages.

      Just sayin’ for the sake of balance…

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Aw, THAT’S not balance, mate. THIS is balance ==>

        Strike: “Riiiiiiiight….”

        Add: “True, Edo, Jewish terrorism is just as bad. It’s scandalous what Haggai describes. I’m scandalized. Terrorism is never excusable and being Jewish or Muslim is not a mitigating factor.”

        Add: “If you add up years served in prison it’s clear there’s no comparison. Jewish terrorists get off almost scott-free with all sorts of commutation shenanigans on the down low after the press stops paying attention, whereas Arab terrorists serve very long, heavy duty sentences before anyone even thinks about release and you have to pry them out of prison with freaking hostages and then the press has a hypernationalistic orgy over it.”

        Strike the off-topic hasbara: “…fake peace negotiations…”

        There. THAT’S balance! G’day mate.

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          First of all, Benny, we are not mates. I Consider us to be enemies.

          Having said that, I agree with you on this…

          BEN:”Add: “True, Edo, Jewish terrorism is just as bad. It’s scandalous what Haggai describes. I’m scandalized. Terrorism is never excusable and being Jewish or Muslim is not a mitigating factor.”

          So why does this publication only write about what Jews do wrong and it never criticizes what Arabs do wrong? Is it because it’s intention is to vilify only Israel?

          Are they incapable of discussing a topic in a balanced way?

          Oh I know…

          Coz they claim that Israeli publications present only Israel’s side of the story?

          Firstly that isn’t entirely true. There are plenty of dissenting Israeli voices who are self critical. People like Amos Oz and Benny Morris. But they are balanced. They don’t whitewash the Arabs in the same way that this publication does (and I won’t even mention an insignificant little nobody like you Benny). Them I can respect even if I don’t necessarily agree with all of their proposals either.

          Two more things…

          1. Where are the self critical Arab voices? Why are you people not scandalized by the lack of balance exhibited by your darling Arabs?

          2. If this publication wants to redress the so called imbalance in the Israeli press, why are they not directing these articles at us, the Israeli people? I’ll answer that myself…

          …because they could not give a flying F&@k about us. Their intention is to sow disinformation to the western public by conducting unbalanced discussions about what is happening here. This publication is the instrument of those who mean harm to come to Israel, the state of the Jewish people. This publication wants to turn as many people against us as they can…

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            I know you see “enemies” everywhere, mate. That’s why you’re always so steamed and off balance and so damned serious all the time. It’s not a matter of this publication writing about “what Jews do wrong” and Arabs do right. It’s not actually fundamentally about “Jews and Arabs,” it’s about Israelis and Palestinians. It’s not an eternal Jewish/Arab grievance balance sheet. Everything for you is “Jews and Arabs.” It’s not about an eternal “we did this, ok, but they did that! So there!” That kind of thing could go on for another 100 years. And that would be just what you want. You want more “managing the conflict,” the real right wing Israeli aim. You want an endless “balancing” because that promotes an endless “managing.” Nothing doing. And this publication is from the left and does not feel the need to include a settler perspective. It does not pretend to seek that kind of “balance.” Your chronic complaint is simply off the point. This publication never intends, as far as I can tell, to vilify Israel. I think it is pro-Israel. You equate being pro-Israel with being pro-Right-Wing-Israel. That’s wrong. “Israel’s side of the story” is what? Ayalet Shaked’s side of the story? Or Gideon Levy’s? They’re both Israelis. No one is “whitewashing the Arabs” any more than you are “whitewashing the Jews.” Since when have you yourself ever criticized “the Israelis”—you only criticize left-of-the aisle-Israelis or Jews you consider “foolish” i.e., not Shakedist enough, or not sufficiently angry at the Arabs. “Why are they not directing these articles at us, the Israeli people?” They are, but also at others, because I think they’ve given up on you guys to a large extent and a core operative principle in founding this publication as I understand it was to address the outside world in order to effect real change. Your countrymen and soldiers in Breaking the Silence tried for years to address you guys and to this day all they’ve gotten is vilification and persecution and your ears slammed shut—see no evil, hear no evil. “This publication wants to turn as many people against us as they can.” This is more of the same “us/them” mentality. “The whole world is against us.” “Us” being the right wing. Nationalistic psychosis. It’s sick. This publication’s “side of the story” is part of Israel’s story.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            BEN:”I know you see “enemies” everywhere, mate.”

            We are not mates, pal. But since you mention it, yes, I do think we have the odd enemy here or there…

            BEN:”That’s why you’re always so steamed and off balance and so damned serious all the time.”

            Well, Bennyleh, most people tend to take 100 year wars seriously. I guess for outside gibitzers like you it’s just cheap entertainment right?

            BEN:”It’s not a matter of this publication writing about “what Jews do wrong” and Arabs do right. It’s not actually fundamentally about “Jews and Arabs,”

            Well, I’ll be damned. What was I thinking? Here I was thinking that the Arabs have been upset about the existence of a small Jewish state in the Middle East, but Benny is telling us that it isn’t so. What was I thinking…? LOL.

            BEN:”it’s about Israelis and Palestinians.”

            Really? You mean, us Israeli Jewish and Arab citizens, collectively known as Israelis, against the non Israeli Arabs who call themselves Palestinians?

            Hey Benny, did ya know that before 1948, this land was part of the British mandate. And before that it was part of the Ottoman empire for hundreds of years and there were both Jewish and Arab Palestinians?

            After 1948, as a result of the UN partition plan, we the Jews declared our Jewish state (which the UN specifically voted for, yes, shock horror, the UN used the words Jewish state).

            But your Arabs rejected our right to form a Jewish state so they attacked us. Ya wanna know why? Coz they hoped to strangle us before we could even come into existence.

            So Benny-leh. That history makes this war a war between Arabs and Jews. Not ALL Arabs and ALL Jews. Just many Arabs and many Jews. Get it? Nah ya don’t get it? Okey, dokey, that’s ok too…

            To be continued

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            BEN:”It’s not an eternal Jewish/Arab grievance balance sheet. Everything for you is “Jews and Arabs.”

            Well fancy dat. What am I thinking? Here I am walking in the street and some crazy incited Arab kid attempts to stab me because I look Jewish but it isn’t about Jews and Arabs?

            Okey dokey, Benny, if ya say so…

            BEN:”It’s not about an eternal “we did this, ok, but they did that! So there!” That kind of thing could go on for another 100 years.”

            I just gotta laugh (a bitter laughter).

            What Benny actually means is that we Israeli Jews should just forgive and forget. But his Arabs and publications such as this will incessantly remind the world about every real and imaginary wrong that we have ever done to the poor innocent Palestinian Arabs…

            Thanks for the lecture, Benny-leh.

            BEN:”And that would be just what you want. You want more “managing the conflict,” the real right wing Israeli aim. You want an endless “balancing” because that promotes an endless “managing.”

            Moi, Benny? I just want this publication to talk about what Arabs do wrong too, not just what we do wrong according to them. You mean to tell me that Arabs do no wrong?

            BEN:”Nothing doing. And this publication is from the left and does not feel the need to include a settler perspective.

            You mean the massacre of Hebron’s Jews in 1929 is settler perspective? You mean the Munich massacre of our athletes is settler perspective? You mean the massacre of Maalot’s school children is settler perspective? You mean the massacre of the Fogel family is settler perspective? You mean the rockets onto our civilians is settler perspective? You mean the suicide bombing campaign by your Arabs between 2000 and 2004 is settler perspective?

            Sigh, there is at least 100 more pages of the above Benny but all you people want to do is ignore all that and only talk about the occupation?

            Nothin’ doin’ Benny. If you do that, then I have the right to criticize ya all for bias.

            BEN:”It does not pretend to seek that kind of “balance.” Your chronic complaint is simply off the point.”

            And who decides what is on point and off point, Biased people like you Benny? Ok then I’ll bring my own bias into it and play your own game with you.

            To be continued…

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            BEN:”This publication never intends, as far as I can tell, to vilify Israel. I think it is pro-Israel.”

            Really? A bit like Pravda was pro America, right?

            BEN:”You equate being pro-Israel with being pro-Right-Wing-Israel.”

            If by right wing you mean those who want Israel to survive then you are right. Oops no, I mean you are left Benny, extreme left…

            BEN:”That’s wrong. “Israel’s side of the story” is what? Ayalet Shaked’s side of the story? Or Gideon Levy’s?”

            Definitely not Gideon Levy’s. Nor the foolish traitor who has just gone to meet his maker who will make him account for helping the enemies of our country.

            BEN:”They’re both Israelis.”

            Yet Gideon Levy behaves as if he is part of Hamas.

            BEN:”No one is “whitewashing the Arabs” any more than you are “whitewashing the Jews.”

            No one is whitewashing the Arabs? You for one did, Benny. You even deny the fact that they made war on us even before 1967, before the occupation.

            BEN:”Since when have you yourself ever criticized “the Israelis”—”

            Are you saying this with a straight face? You mean in a biased publication such as this, engaging biased morons like you, Benny, you want me too to join you guys? You gotta be kiddin’ right, Benny?

            BEN:”you only criticize left-of-the aisle-Israelis or Jews you consider “foolish”

            Once again you prove that either you don’t read what I write Benny, or that you have an extremely poor comprehension or more likely you are in denial. Didn’t I say that I have respect for people like Amos Oz and Benny Morris who offer a more balanced criticism of us and who don’t whitewash the Arabs?

            Or are you saying that they are not far enough to the left for your liking, Benny?

            BEN:”i.e., not Shakedist enough, or not sufficiently angry at the Arabs.

            Booooooring. Benny with his straw men argument again..

            BEN: “Why are they not directing these articles at us, the Israeli people?” They are,”

            Do you think they are? Then they are fools. Only fools demonize someone incessantly while whitewashing their enemies and they expect to be treated like someone who means them no harm.

            BEN:”but also at others, because I think they’ve given up on you guys to a large extent”

            Well that’s just dandy. They abuse us endlessly while telling us that their Arabs who blow us up, knife us, run us down, rocket us as they have for the last 100 years because they hate the very idea of a Jewish state, are perfect gentlemen and women who really love us to death. And after all they give up on us coz we don’t take them seriously?

            Well then, Benny, we give up on them. So there… take that. One can only respond with laughter (albeit bitter laughter).

            BEN:”and a core operative principle in founding this publication as I understand it was to address the outside world in order to effect real change.”

            Yep, change. No more Jewish state… hello shiny new Arab Muslim state from the river to the sea hail the new democratic Arab state which respects the rights of all minorities. The first Arab state ever to do so, [snigger…]

            BEN:”Your countrymen and soldiers in Breaking the Silence tried for years to address you guys and to this day all they’ve gotten is vilification and persecution and your ears slammed shut—see no evil, hear no evil.

            Oh really, spare us Benny. A country in the middle of a 100 year war which is not 100% perfect according to your (and your kind’s) definition of what perfect should be.

            During WW2 your country interned your own citizens who were of German and Japanese descent into camps. You had draconian censorship and people who promulgated enemy propaganda were jailed. A small number were even executed AFTER the war.

            We do nothing as draconian as that but we are the world’s worst according to you lot.

            BEN (quoting me): “This publication wants to turn as many people against us as they can.”

            BEN:”This is more of the same “us/them” mentality. “The whole world is against us.” “Us” being the right wing. Nationalistic psychosis. It’s sick. This publication’s “side of the story” is part of Israel’s story.”

            Really, Benny? It’s all just our paranoia, right? Underneath it all you just love us to death? Spare me …

            By the way, Benny this “the whole world” thingy is just another one of your straw men. I never uttered those words. But it’s ok, you can pretend that I did. We are used to your schticks already.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            I feel this is a milestone in our relationship, Gussie. It’s like a final divorce counseling session. I rest my case. Folks can review the material. Your diatribe clearly lays out how I think and how you think. About me and +972. I feel it lays bare your characteristic issues and habitual reflexes. Which I find unproductive. It’s illuminating. Over to the lawyers now to tidy things up. You could hire Eis and I’ll hire YR. lol.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            LOL now Benny-leh wants to divorce me and he wants YR as his attorney.

            Okey dokey Benny-leh. We are divorced [snigger..]. You don’t even need an attorney.

            Reply to Comment