How Hilltop youth plan hate-crime attacks, evade capture
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How Hilltop youth plan hate-crime attacks, evade capture

Two weeks after fatal arson strike on Palestinian home, former member of Jewish far-right settler group details how raids are organized

Palestinians look at the damage after a house was set on fire and a baby killed, allegedly by Jewish terrorists, in the West Bank village of Duma, on July 31, 2015. (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)
Palestinians look at the damage after a house was set on fire and a baby killed, allegedly by Jewish terrorists, in the West Bank village of Duma, on July 31, 2015. (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)

A former member of a far-right Jewish group operating in the West Bank provided an inside look into its tactics and ideology, in a Channel 2 TV interview.

With his face obscured, the interviewee, who was arrested more than 20 times while active, warned that violence perpetrated against Palestinians could one day be turned against fellow Jews as well.

“The attackers in Duma intended to kill — even [if it meant] children,” he said, referring to an arson attack thought to be carried out by Jews two weeks ago in a West Bank Palestinian village, which killed an 18-month-old baby and his father, and left his mother and four-year-old brother fighting for their lives.

“They could eventually turn on Israeli Jews,” the interviewee warned.

Listing a number of operational strategies employed during attacks, he noted that most of the so-called “Hilltop youth” groupings involved in hate-crime attacks display a high level of organization and carry out careful surveillance of potential targets prior to an offensive.

“Surveillance of houses before and during — the number of windows, if there are bars on the windows,” he continued in the interview, which was broadcast in part on Thursday and will be shown in full on Saturday night.

“They make totally sure that no equipment brought to the scene remains behind; it is laboriously searched for and taken from the site and then scrapped or burned at an alternate location. Gloves, bottles, etc,” he added.

If caught, members employ a tactic of maintaining their silence during interrogation by the Shin Bet security service, the subject said.

“We are silent for a day, or two, a week, however long it takes,” he noted, adding that eventually most suspects are released for lack of incriminating evidence.

Following the Duma arson attack and the murder of a 16-year-old girl at the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade a day earlier, the government declared a crackdown on fundamentalist Jewish ideologues, approving detention without trial for up to six months for Jewish suspects. Three extremist Israeli Jews have so far been placed in administrative detention.

Over a dozen suspects have been detained over the past couple of weeks in a wide-ranging sweep to clamp down on a phenomenon that politicians and the Israeli media have dubbed “Jewish terrorism.”

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