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Shin Bet: Jewish terrorists seek to 'violently overthrow' government

Dec. 18, 2015 11:25 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 19, 2015 7:25 P.M.)
Israeli soldiers at the Israeli outpost of Achiya near the Palestinian village of Duma on Aug. 4, 2015, a week after a deadly arson attack on the Dawabsha home. (AFP/Manahem Kahana,File)

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israel’s domestic security agency Shin Bet on Thursday cautioned that a Jewish terror organization is seeking to “violently overthrow” the Israeli government, Israeli media reported.

Israeli media across the board described the public statement issued by the security agency as a rare response to actors who have slandered the Shin Bet in a campaign to defend Jewish extremists responsible for a fatal arson attack on a Palestinian home last summer.

Suspects belonging to a Jewish terror organization on July 31 set the home of the Dawabsha family ablaze, killing an 18-month-old immediately. The infant’s parent’s later died from severe burns.

"A Jewish terror organization has been under investigation recently, whose activity is suspected to include serious terror attacks that endangered life and harmed religious sanctity and property," the Shin Bet statement said, according to Israeli media.

"This organization adheres to an extreme, anti-Zionist ideology, that has set itself the goal of violently overthrowing the Israeli government," the Shin Bet continued.

"The terror attacks that are suspected to have been carried out by the organization led to, among other things, the murder of three innocent Palestinians. This contributed to instability in the region and worsened the security situation," the agency added.

Despite the threat the terror organization has posed to both Palestinian and Israeli sides, the Shin Bet said that several actors have been working to prevent progress by the agency in its investigations of the group.

"To our regret, since the arrests the Shin Bet has identified a proactive and ongoing effort to slander the organization and its work, and to disrupt its activities.

"This attempt deserves full condemnation and will not deter the Shin Bet from continuing its work as envoys of citizens of the State of Israel, in line with national values," the agency said.

The Shin Bet statement came hours after lawyers representing the suspects held a press conference accusing the agency for using methods of torture during interrogation.

Concerns among the Israeli public as well as the international community of the rising influence of extremists on policies of the Israeli government have been voiced repeatedly in past months.

PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi on Wednesday denounced Israel’s failure to prosecute the suspects responsible for the Dawabsha arson attack as effectively condoning violent behavior of Israeli settlers.

“When it comes to Jewish criminality or terrorism against Palestinian victims, the legal system in Israel seems to fall apart,” the PLO official said in a statement.

While Israeli leadership at the time condemned the Dawabsha attack as "terrorism" and pledged to bring the perpetrators to justice, Israeli rights group B'Tselem slammed the reaction as "empty rhetoric."

"Official condemnations of this attack are empty rhetoric as long as politicians continue their policy of avoiding enforcement of the law on Israelis who harm Palestinians, and do not deal with the public climate and the incitement which serve as backdrop to these acts," the group said at the time.

Contention over Israel’s failure to bring the perpetrators of last summer’s terrorist attack to justice meanwhile continues to contribute to ongoing tension in the occupied Palestinian territory.

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