Israeli Army, Police, Shin Bet Set Up Joint East Jerusalem Intel Team

The idea is to quell potential terrorism stemming from East Jerusalem without revealing the Shin Bet security service’s methods.

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Palestinians clash with Israeli forces in East Jerusalem, November 4, 2014.Credit: AP

The Shin Bet security service, the police and the Israel Defense Forces aim to set up a joint intelligence desk to coordinate information on potential terrorists in East Jerusalem.

The three sides’ legal advisers have spent the past few days seeking a way to make the arrangement work.

The law actually limits the transfer of information from the Shin Bet to the police because the security service is not subject to the same legal restrictions on its investigations and interrogations. This is especially the case regarding invasion of privacy and the need to obtain warrants for searches and similar operations.

The Shin Bet is also not required to submit all its investigative materials to courts during trials, unlike the police. There is thus a concern that intelligence cooperation might expose the Shin Bet’s sources or operating methods.

The probable solution will be to have a representative of each organization on the new desk; each would redact the information from his respective organization as necessary before passing it on for joint analysis.

Since tensions began rising in East Jerusalem several months ago, the police have cited a difficulty obtaining a complete intelligence picture of events on the Temple Mount and in the Arab neighborhoods. This problem is highlighted by the fact that many recent attackers have been Jerusalem residents with Israeli ID cards.

The police are generally the agency to deal with rioters and criminal elements that might also be involved in terror, but after terrorist attacks Shin Bet investigators usually take the lead; this is also the case with intelligence about the Temple Mount. As a result, the Shin Bet often has information that is unknown to the police.

Before the shooting of right-wing activist Yehuda Glick, for example, the police were not aware of the conference on the Temple Mount that Glick had attended just before he was attacked. It was a small, closed event that did not require a police presence; only afterward did the police learn that the Shin Bet had known about the meeting.

People involved in the matter say that at no stage would the Shin Bet get involved in regular criminal investigations. The intent is for each organization to operate in its own realm while making vital new information available to the other two agencies.