As almost all Palestinians facing military courts are convicted, and most of those convictions are based on confessions, either Palestinians have a bizarre propensity to incriminate themselves, or the Shin Bet has somehow managed to devise some particularly effective tactics in eliciting confessions. Yet that is not the Shin Bet’s only talent. They have also demonstrated their shrewd ability to foil terrorist plots, by banning international visitors from Israel.
One example is the Jewish American scholar of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Norman Finkelstein. When he flew in to Israel to visit the occupied territories, he was detained and then deported by the Shin Bet. After interrogating him for hours, the Shin Bet said Finkelstein “is not permitted to enter Israel because of suspicions involving hostile elements in Lebanon,” and because he “did not give a full accounting to interrogators with regard to these suspicions.”
Another triumph of the Shin Bet was when Ivan Prado, “the most famous clown in Spain”, tried to visit Ramallah. After flying in to Israel, he was detained and interrogated for six hours by the Shin Bet and the Israeli Interior Ministry. The Shin Bet said to Ha’aretz that “We recommended to the Interior Ministry to prevent his entry into Israel after the findings of the security check produced suspicions about him… The man declined to provide complete information to the security people, especially in regard to his links with Palestinian terror organisations.”