Israel's military, police and internal security agents [ISA] have
conducted raids of the homes of suspected right-wing activists in the West
The campaign, said to be linked with a military plan to dismantle dozens
of Jewish communities in the West Bank, began with the arrest of a former
U.S. Marine on Oct. 7. Authorities obtained a court order to ban publication
of his arrest and remove all references to the detention on Israeli news
The Israel Security Agency has held the former Marine incommunicado
since his arrest, and the court ordered a three-week ban on publication.
Statements by prominent Israelis on the arrest were also prevented from
Two weeks later, the Israel Security Agency, accompanied by police and
army units, arrested other Jews opposed to the government policy to evacuate
Jewish communities in the West Bank.
The wife of the Marine was stopped as
she was driving to attend a court appearance by her husband on Oct. 21. The
hearing in front of Judge Noga Arad in Petah Tikva was held in-camera, with
a defense attorney in attendance.
Legal sources close to the campaign said defense attorneys have not
been informed of the exact charges or evidence against their clients. The
sources said the Supreme Court has rejected an appeal to release evidence or
"In the past, they used this [ban on meeting with legal counsel] mostly
against terrorists, but there were a few Jews who were not permitted to meet
with an attorney about six or seven years ago in
the case of the non-existent Jewish underground," Kedar said. "They were
about 10 people who were detained for a month and later released without any
Kedar said ISA usually cites national security for denying detainees
access to their attorneys. He said the main reason was to isolate Jewish
"In my opinion, the main reason is to break the person," Kedar said. "To
the courts they say other things but in my eyes, the sole aim is to break
the person. In the past, this has proven itself as unnecessary."
On Oct. 22, two other Jewish residents of the West Bank were arrested
from the Jewish community of Shvut Rahel in the West Bank. About 60
soldiers, police and ISA agents stormed a mobile home of a 23-year-old,
blindfolded and interrogated him in a secret facility for 12 hours without
food and water.
The 23-year-old suspect, who without a court order was forced to sign a
10,000 shekel bond and relinquish his passport, was accused of being
involved in a series of unresolved murders of West Bank Arabs from the
1990s. One of the killings took place in 1997 when the suspect was 10.
The sources said authorities have repeatedly revised their charges
against the detainees. They said the ex-Marine was first accused of killing
two gay youths in August 2009, and then blamed for the killing of Arabs in
the 1990s and early 2000s.
The 23-year-old suspect was at first presented with a court order that
accused him of murder, the sources said. Later that day, the order was
revised and accused him of conspiracy.
The critics said the arrests
were timed to the memorial of the assassination of Israeli Prime
Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. An Orthodox Jew and former ISA
staffer has been serving a life sentence for the killing.
"Every year this time, there are rumors of a Jewish underground in time
for the Rabin festival," Arieh Yitzhaki, a military historian and regarded
as a leading critic of the government, said. "They've
accused him [the Marine] of every unsolved murder that ever occurred."
ISA has recruited some of the major Israeli dailies in the campaign
against right-wing Jewish dissidents. The Maariv daily has published an
article of unsolved cases of the killing of Arabs in the West Bank
attributed to Jewish settlers.
"The Shabak [ISA] decided that these are acts of settlers, despite that
fact that the police said they are examining all avenues of investigations,"
Yitzhaki said. "And of course, there are the draconian administrative
In early October, the army served six-month expulsion orders to three
Jews who live in the West Bank. None of them was charged with a crime, but
security officials said they threatened the security of the state.
Israeli attorneys involved in defending right-wing dissidents said the
election of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has not changed policy toward
the Jewish settlement movement in the West Bank. They said Jewish
communities deemed unauthorized have been raided and sometimes dismantled on
a weekly basis.
Prosecutors have succeeded in reversing lower-court decisions to free
right-wing dissidents, the attorneys said. In Israel, the prosecution as
well as the defense has the right to appeal court verdicts.
Major Israel human rights organizations have refused to represent or
speak out against the campaign. Many of the major organizations,
particularly the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, receive funding
from both the government and Western sources.
"Until now we weren't approached by either the person or his attorney,"
ACRI spokeswoman Nirit Moskowitz said. "Unfortunately, this [violation of
the right to legal counsel] does happen, mostly to Palestinians."
Ms. Moskowitz said that the case of the former Marine is an absolute
violation of civil and legal rights.
"This [denial of an attorney] is definitely prohibited," Ms. Moskowitz
said. "This is against the law."