Israeli Cabinet Expected to Adopt Report on Shin Bet

Israel’s Cabinet is expected this Sunday to adopt the recommendations of a special commission of inquiry into the conduct of the Shin Bet and appoint a ministerial committee to oversee the activities of the internal security agency.

The report, submitted to Premier Yitzhak Shamir last Friday and made public in part, found that Shin Bet systematically used physical coercion to extract confessions from suspected terrorists and resorted to perjury to obtain convictions.

The revelations by the blue-ribbon panel, headed by former Supreme Court President Moshe Landau, has stirred debate in the legal community. It has also revived demands for full pardons for members of an underground Jewish terrorist network convicted three years ago of crimes of violence against Arabs in the West Bank.

The findings of the Landau Commission are not in themselves disputed. But they pose a dilemma, as noted by Vice Premier and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres in his initial reaction to the report Tuesday.

He said the security services face a very difficult task fighting on behalf of a state based on law against terrorist organizations which abide by no law.

Meanwhile, according to a Haaretz report, the central committee of the Israel Bar Association decided Tuesday to appoint a committee to recommend how the bar should handle inadmissible testimony in light of the Landau report.

The committee, which has been given 10 days to complete its work, will also recommend measures to be taken against Shin Bet legal advisers and attorneys who have given false testimony in the courts.

Senior judicial figures expressed hope that implementation of the Landau Commission’s recommendations will usher in a new era of cooperation between the state attorney’s office and the Shin Bet, which have had strained relations for years.

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