New immigrant recruited as informant

Wednesday, June 10, 2015, 9:08 M., a 28 year old resident of Pnei Kedem, who was detained last week, never thought that he would be embroiled in a saga of threats and enticements from an officer of the intelligence branch of the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police. “I didn’t think that in Israel there were things like this,” said the detainee, who emigrated from Chile.
On Sunday, May 31, at 5:00 A.M., policemen knocked on M.’s door in Pnei Kedem. After searching the house the police detained M. and took him to be interrogated at the offices of the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police. M. was interrogated on suspicion of assaulting and cursing left-wingers and Arabs who approached the area of Pnei Kedem a few months prior to his detention. After the interrogation the interrogators demanded that M. phone other suspects, including his father, and request that they pick him up from the police station. When they arrived they were also detained.
M., who grew up in Chile in the shadow of the military dictatorship which controlled the country in the 1970’s and ’80’s, never imagined that in Israel he would encounter the saga of threats and enticements which followed the interrogation. He recalls the ordeal at the police station:
“A guy who called himself Dan arrived and took me to his room,” M. told the following to the staff of Honenu to whom he turned for legal counsel: “We sat down and he turned to me and told me that he wants to help me, but he needs me to help him. I told him that I didn’t understand what he wanted. Then he told me that recently Arab trees were uprooted near my community and he wants me to reveal who did it.” M. explained that there is no connection between him and the acts and that he has no idea who uprooted the trees. Here the series of threats began. “He told me that up to today no houses in our community [Pnei Kedem] had been destroyed, but if I don’t reveal to him who uprooted the trees he would make sure that houses would be destroyed and that the police would give traffic tickets to everyone who enters and leaves the community. I continued to insist that I did not know who uprooted the trees and then he threatened me, saying that he would make sure that my gun license was revoked and that I would not be able to work any more as a guard and that I would no longer be in the rapid response squad of which I am a member.”
When that didn’t succeed Dan threatened to detain all of M.’s family, including his elderly father. “There was a stage at which I wanted to admit that I was the one who uprooted the trees. I told myself that if I take upon myself something that I didn’t do, I would sit in prison for a little while, just so they didn’t harm my father,” explained M. to Honenu’s staff.
After those threats didn’t succeed either, Dan left M. alone in the room and told him to think about what he had said. “After about two hours he returned and brought me a package of cigarettes and a bottle of Coca Cola and told me that I was free to go now, but that I should think about what was said and that tomorrow he wants to meet with me again. Before I left he took out a large wad of bills and told me that whoever helps him receives between 500 and 1,000 shekels each time and that it was worth my while to help him.”
M. and the rest of the detainees were then released. The following day M. turned to Honenu for guidance and legal counsel. Instead of the meeting that was scheduled for him at 19:00 with the intelligence coordinator, M. arrived at Honenu’s offices and met with an attorney. M. talked to the attorney about his worries due to the intelligence coordinator’s intent to blackmail him and turn him into an informant who would give reports about the members of his community. As a new immigrant from Chile who arrived in Israel only several years previously, M. did not know how to cope with the situation.
Honenu regards the conduct of the police with great severity. “M. has been caught in a situation in which pressure and manipulation have been used on him by a police officer without any cause while taking advantage of his new immigrant status. Almost every week Jews turn to Honenu, many of whom are residents of communities in Yehuda and Shomron, whom the GSS and the police attempt to enlist as informants by devious means. We call on the Minister of Internal Security to examine this matter and to formulate clear procedures which will prevent the police and the GSS from using unacceptable methods.”

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