'We Forget Nothing': Shin Bet Agent Recorded Threatening East Jerusalem Activist

Phone call comes after Kamal Abu Kweider posted on social media a video of a Palestinian demonstration

Kamal Abu Quider, a familiar figure on social media in Jerusalem, working at a stand he owns in East Jerusalem, February 16, 2020.
Emil Salman

An Israeli security service agent was recorded threatening an East Jerusalem resident who had posted on social media a video of a Palestinian demonstration.

The Shin Bet agent can be heard telling the man, Kamal Abu Kweider, his activity on social media would make trouble for his son.

LISTEN: The only way Bibi can stay out of jailHaaretz Weekly Ep. 62

During the call, the agent also threatened to come to his house and either humiliate him in front of his family or “blow him up,” though a recording of the conversation was not clear enough to be sure which was said.

Abu Kweider is a familiar figure on social media in Jerusalem. He regularly shares recordings and videos, or films them himself, on controversial issues in East Jerusalem. Over the past year he has dealt extensively with the sale of homes to settlers in the Old City.

About two weeks ago, he shared a five-minute video showing a funeral of a Palestinian, where Palestinian flags and other national symbols were seen, including the Temple Mount.

A few days later, Abu Kweider received a phone call from a man who identified himself as “Captain Seif from Israeli intelligence.” The agent berated Abu Kweider for sharing the video. “I’m speaking to warn you. Your son in Azzariyeh who got into trouble with us still has an open account,” he is heard saying in the recording, obtained by Haaretz. “If you want to help your people, good for you, but without problems and without connection to Al-Aqsa because it’s a holy place."

The caller continued: “We, the Shin Bet, don’t forget any word, any stone, any explosive device, nothing. Anyone who did something against the state’s security will pay the price all the way.”

Captain Seif then ratcheted up his tone: “I swear to God if I hear your name one more time I’ll come to your house and [unclear] you in front of your whole family. Aren’t you ashamed? Isn’t there any respect? Who are you to talk like that? You receive a salary from us, we support you and your children and you publish things against us?”

Abu Kweider answered: “The things you’re saying are illegal and you’re a man of the law.” To which the agent responded, “I am 100 percent legal and you can check what I’m saying … The things you post lead to incitement and to attacks by young people that end in blood, and I’m warning you because what you’re posting will end in blood.”

Captain Seif reminded Abu Kweider several times of his son and the trouble he could get the younger man into.  According to Abu Kweider, his son was arrested on suspicion of membership in a terror cell planning to attack the helicopter that President George W. Bush was flying in during his visit to Israel in 2008. The son was held for about a year and eventually released without charges.

“The thing with my son was over a long time ago and that was a game of the Shin Bet,” Abu Kweider told Captain Seif, who responded: “If you want to influence the issue with your son, then you have to mind your own business and not publish lies, don’t publish videos, lying videos.”

According to security sources, the conversation was part of efforts the Shin Bet is making to prevent incitement and violence by Palestinians following the release of U.S. President Donald Trump’s Mideast peace plan.

Abu Kweider’s attorney, Madhat Diba, said, “When Kamal sent me the [recording of the] conversation the first time, I didn’t believe it … A man who makes such threats should not remain even one day at his job.”

The Shin Bet said in response: “The Shin Bet security service doesn’t generally discuss its activities. As part of its functions by law, the service is responsible for foiling terrorism, including incitement to terror activities, and it acts lawfully to fulfill this responsibility.”