In newly released recordings, alleged Shin Bet agent can be heard urging Chaim Pearlman to assassinate Sheik Ra’ad Salah.
By Chaim Levinson
New recordings released Thursday claim to prove that Chaim Pearlman, a right-wing Israeli extremist arrested Tuesday over the murder of four Palestinians, was encouraged by an alleged Shin Bet agent to commit violent acts, including the assassination of Sheik Ra’ad Salah, the head of the Islamic Movement in Israel.
Chaim Pearlman was arrested earlier this week, initially on suspicion of carrying out two murders in 1998, and for a series of attacks against other Palestinian victims over the last 12 years. The Petah Tikva Magistrates’ Court on Thursday extended his remand by six days.
According to Pearlman, he was contacted by a person who allegedly worked for the Shin Bet security service while disseminating fliers for the extreme right-wing Kach movement. Pearlman maintains that the person had tried to convince him to get involved in violent acts.
Pearlman recorded all his conversations with the man and says he has 20 hours of recordings.
The Shin Bet denied Thursday claims it tried to coerce Pearlman into carrying out attacks against Arabs, saying the exchanges recorded in the tapes released earlier Thursday represented a legitimate method of extracting a confession from a suspect.
In his conversation with the person Pearlman claimed was a Shin Bet agent, Pearlman can be heard supporting non-violent, educational activities, with the alleged agent apparently incites him to violence.
In the recordings released Thursday, the alleged agent can be heard saying that only an “extreme move” could change public opinion, citing the assassination of Sheik Ra’ad Salah as one such extreme move.
“I could do it,” the agent can be heard saying, referring to the proposed killing of the Islamic Movement leader, saying that Salah’s security would prevent him from succeeding, adding that if he were Pearlman he would commit the assassination.
“It’s not about hitting him [Salah] and getting in trouble. It’s about coming over, hitting him, and see you later, like that guy in Bar Noar” the alleged Shin Bet agent can be heard saying, referring to the killing of a counselor and a teenager at a Tel Aviv gay center last year.
The agent continues to explain how he would carry out Salah’s assassination, saying Pearlman would have to “use another person for that,” adding that if he himself had grown up where Pearlman had grown up, “I wouldn’t be spray painting slogans.”
“You don’t really want to do it,” Pearlman can be heard as saying, with the alleged Shin Bet agent replying: “Says who? Says you? What are you relying on? Can you check me? Come check me, I’m ready.”
When Pearlman asked if the alleged Shin Bet agent understood the ramifications of such an act, and if he would be willing to take responsibility for it, the agent said: “sure, why not.”
“How long will the noise continue? Will it lead to war? Won’t there be war without it happening?” the agent can be heard asking, adding that “war has casualties.”
“Listen I don’t have a problem [inaudible] someone who takes a life once and gets that feeling…. I would never do it to a Jew. It would be hard,” the alleged Shin Bet agent said, adding, “but I wouldn’t have a problem with one of those.”
After again discussing the risks such an action would entail, Pearlman can be heard asking if the alleged agent even knew where Salah lived, with the agent answering: “somewhere in the North, in one of the villages in the North.
“Look, it shouldn’t be much of a problem. The car passes. You shoot a burst. Chances are the driver will get killed,” the agent added, saying that Pearlman would have to either “finish him with one burst, or a few split ones.”
The alleged agent continues his description of the potential assassination, saying that it would not be the kind of operation where one would “come in close.”
“You need to be as far away as you can in this kind of situation. Or put a bomb in the car. That’s the classic one. Nothing’s left, everything goes everywhere,” the agent added, saying Salah would then “go to all hell.”
Throughout the recordings Pearlman can be heard rejecting the alleged agent’s call for violence, and instead supporting educational and spiritual activity.
At one point Pearlman can be heard saying that he was “a youth counselor, I organized rallies. I organized a rally in front of a store that sold pork.” The alleged Shin Bet agent subsequently asks Pearlman “and where did that get you?”
When Pearlman answers that he wanted to raise awareness to the fact that the store had been selling pork, the alleged agent asks if it wouldn’t have been “simpler to throw a fire bomb – people would get the message.”
“If you throw a fire bomb twice, the insurance [companies] won’t insure him anymore,” the alleged Shin Bet agent can be heard saying.
When Pearlman apparently rejects the idea of physically attacking the shop, saying that such a course of action could not be sustained, since he would eventually be caught, the person he claims is a Shin Bet agent can be head saying: “you throw once, you throw twice, and the insurance won’t insure. No one will open there.”
“That could mean prison for several years. I’m talking about spreading ideas,” Pearlman can be heard saying, adding that he was after “the long run, not a one time thing.”
To that the alleged agent answers “sometimes the one-time thing affects the long-run,” adding “let’s do something you and me. Let’s do something,” to which Pearlman replies that he is more interested in family.
The recordings continue to document the discussion between the two, in which Pearlman insists on the value of educational action, with the alleged Shin Bet agent dismissing that approach.
The agent can then be heard suggesting that Pearlman take the same people he had been working with distributing fliers and “sit on a nice village and organize a fireworks show,” referring to an armed assault on an Arab village.
“The Shin Bet is everywhere,” Pearlman can be heard answering, adding that “every second or third person is connected.”
“They keep taking people in to give them warnings. Arrest them for nothing, take people and frighten them,” Pearlman says, adding that the Shin Bet were conducting arrests and were “listening to every call.”