Israeli police have been posing as leftist activists in order to catch violent settlers in the West Bank, it was reported Wednesday.
The method, in which officers from the Judea and Samaria District link up with left-wing groups in order to monitor right-wing activists, has only been employed in recent weeks, and seems to contradict past assurances from Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, according to the Maariv daily.
After a controversial incident in which masked undercover policemen approached the settlement of Susiya in the West Bank in a suspicious manner, and arrested four settlers who clashed with them, Aharonovitch pledged that undercover police dressed as Arabs would not be employed against Israelis.
However, police linked up with Rabbis for Human Rights, an activist group of Israeli rabbis, in November at a scene of periodic clashes between settlers and Palestinians near Yitzhar, south of Nablus. Palestinian farmers were busy with the olive harvest, and undercover officers joined with RHR activists who were protecting the harvesters.
The activists showed the police to a spot where clashes regularly occur, and Palestinians even suggested the officers change their location to a position that would make it seem more believable that they were activists.
In that incident, an IDF jeep arrived and prevented any conflict between the two sides.
Though police in West Bank have regularly gone undercover in the past, linking up with left-wing activist groups appears to be a new phenomenon.
There were also reports of police disguising themselves as activists without telling the activist groups. Police said the tactic helps them monitor the left-wing organizations as well to see if they are provoking Jewish residents of the area.
Police refused to confirm or deny the reports to Maariv.
“Police from the Judea and Samaria District do not give details about undercover operations that its detectives carry out in its territory,” a police statement said.