Israeli security chief appeared to play role in cover-up of Bedouin shooting

Nadav Argaman, head of Shabak, Israel’s internal security service, prevented an investigator from giving his opinion to the investigative unit.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

The case of corruption, not of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but of those investigating him, has thickened in what looks like a widening circle of a good ole boys network, Israeli-style.

In the latest twist, Nadav Argaman, head of Shabak, Israel’s internal security service, has been pulled into the story, in this case one tangential to the Netanyahu corruption case.

Argaman, it turns out, prevented a Shabak investigator from testifying to the Police Investigation Unit, which delves into illegal activity conducted by police officers in a case involving the death of a Bedouin man at the hands of police.

His interference “significantly” damaged the investigation carried out by the unit into the incident as it resulted in the withholding of important information regarding the case, Israel Hayom reports.

In the case, Yaqoub Abu Al-Qia’an was shot by police officers in January 18, 2017 in the Bedouin town of Umm al-Hiran. He careened into a group of police officers with his car, killing one of them. Al-Qia’an was also killed.

Al-Qia’an was accused initially, and it turns out incorrectly, of being a terrorist. Shabak concluded the very night of the incident, after speaking with police at the scene, family members and others, that the incident shouldn’t be classified as terrorism.

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(It would later turn out that Al-Qia’an, a school teacher, was too upset to watch his house be demolished in the illegal Bedouin town in which he lived and had started to drive away when he apparently lost control of his car.)

However, at the time, then-Israeli Police Chief Roni Alsheich called the Shabak in for a meeting and insisted that ISIS was behind the attack. Shabak held their ground in the meeting, according to Israel Hayom, and its representatives said, “It’s permitted to say ‘Sorry, we erred,'” and told the police chief, “No one will die from this.”

Alsheich continued to insist publicly that it was a terror incident, and Shabak chief Argaman prevented the head of the investigation on the scene from giving his professional opinion to the Police Investigation Unit.

Israel Hayom notes that prior to becoming police chief, Alsheich was deputy head of Shabak. “Senior Shabak officials defend their friend… They ignored the established opinion that this wasn’t an attack. The Police Investigation Unit didn’t know about it! I don’t know how they can sleep at night,” someone familiar with the matter told the paper.

It adds another ripple to the bombshell report by Channel 12 reporter Amit Segal, who revealed on Monday that then-State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan attempted to hide Alsheich’s behavior, which he himself called “scandalous” for fear it would negatively impact the State Prosecution’s ongoing cases against Netanyahu.

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In an email obtained by Channel 12, Nitzan said in not so many words that no investigation should be pursued because it could jeopardize the Netanyahu investigations.