Israel: Shin Bet admits to sending threatening messages to Arab Israelis

i24NEWS

2 min read
A salesman on his phone while selling eggs at an eggstand in the Machane Yehuda Market, Jerusalem, January 27, 2018.
Liba Farkash/ Flash90A salesman on his phone while selling eggs at an eggstand in the Machane Yehuda Market, Jerusalem, January 27, 2018.

'You have been identified as someone who took part in violent acts at the al-Aqsa Mosque,' the text reads

Israel's Shin Bet security service admitted to using its tracking system to send threatening messages to Arab Israelis and Palestinians during the outbreak of violence last May, Israeli media reported Thursday. 

The Shin Bet admitted the messages were sent to people not suspected of any misconduct and the statements were "inappropriately phrased," Haaretz reported. They vowed to refine its protocols on the matter.

Thousands of east Jerusalem Palestinians and Israeli Arabs were sent text messages during the flare-up of tensions last May. 

The text read, "You have been identified as someone who took part in violent acts at the al-Aqsa Mosque. We will settle the score." According to Haaretz, the message was signed "from the Israeli intelligence service.”

Several recipients said they were not near Jerusalem or the Temple Mount at the time. 

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel and the non-profit Adalah asked the attorney-general for clarification days after the messages were sent. 

"Sending texts messages to worshipers during prayer just to let them know they're under surveillance in order to threaten or deter them is illegal, which exceeds the Shin Bet's authority," the Association for Civil Rights in Israel wrote in a letter, Haaretz reported. 

Some eight months after the complaints, the Justice Ministry responded on behalf of the Shin Bet, explaining that the goal was to "thwart illegal activity meant to harm state security." However, it stated that the Shin Bet made an "error in how the action was executed."

Video poster

This article received 3 comments