Indictments filed Sunday morning in Jerusalem District Court against five people charged with infiltrating an IDF base in Judea and Samaria omitted spy charges.
The suspects are accused of gathering information on military movements and infiltrating an army base in Samaria last month, where they allegedly vandalized military equipment and clashed with soldiers.
National Union Knesset Member Uri Ariel told a Constitution Committee hearing on law enforcement in Judea and Samaria that the charges were an "immoral abuse" of power. "Who is the enemy here?
“The settlers?" he continued. "The criminal justice system that is actively working to destroy the homes of civil servants and army officers has now turned us into 'spies.’”
MK Ariel lives in Kfar Adumim, a community in the Judean Desert, located east of Jerusalem.
Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely also railed against the decision to charge activists engaged in civil disobedience with espionage at the hearing, "You are cheapening the term 'espionage.' Have you completely lost your minds?
"What's next?" she asked rhetorically. "Will you be accusing them of genocide? Charging them with genocide is utterly shameful."
National Union party chairman MK Yaakov Katz told the committee, "We all received SMS messages about demolitions - are we all spies? When will you begin to execute people? The distance between accusations of espionage and shooting them is a short one."
Rights observers noted that leftist Anat Kam – who passed reams of classified documents to a Ha'aretz reporter – was charged with illegal possession of classified documents rather than espionage, even though the materials she leaked contained sensitive information that could have compromised Israel’s national security and future war plans.