An Israeli man suspecting of killing four Palestinians in 1998 was released from Israeli prison today and put under house arrest, due to an apparent lack of evidence.
Chaim Pearlman was charged with killing and wounding Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem in a number of incidents. Two of the incidents involved stabbing Palestinians in the West Bank, while others involved shooting and wounding Palestinian civilians.
He had publicly spoken about the need to kill Arabs to achieve the objectives of the Jewish state, and was known to be in the area of a number of shootings. Pearlman is a known member of the banned ‘Kach’ movement, which is classified as a ‘terrorist group’ by both Israel and the US because of its attacks on civilians.
The case took a strange twist last month when Pearlman’s associates claim that the Israeli secret service, Shin Bet, had recruited him in part because he had boasted of carrying out these attacks, but said that he only told the Shin Bet agents that he did it in order to impress them. His associates said that the Shin Bet were now attempting to prosecute him in revenge for his refusal to be recruited by them. Shin Bet officials called the claim ridiculous, and said they had never tried to recruit Pearlman.
Palestinians claim that the ‘lack of evidence’ cited by prosecutors was actually due to the lack of a proper investigation of the cases in question.