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February 17, 2013 11:46 am

Netanyahu Makes First Public Comments On Case of “Prisoner X”: “Let the Security Forces do Their Work Quietly”

avatar by Zach Pontz

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The controversial "Prisoner X," Ben Zygier. Photo: YouTube.

Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, made his first public comments about the controversial case of Ben Zygier, also known as “Prisoner X,” during his Cabinet meeting Thursday.

Addressing the media frenzy that has surrounded the case, Netanyahu remarked: “The security and intelligence forces of the State of Israel operate under the full supervision of the legal authorities, which are completely independent. With this combination of maintaining security and maintaining the law, we will also maintain freedom of expression; however, the over-exposure of security and intelligence activity could harm, sometimes severely, state security.”

Netanyahu noted the country’s unique security requirements as well, stating: “We are not like other countries. We are an exemplary democracy and maintain the rights of those under investigation and individual rights no less than any other country. However we are more threatened and face more challenges; therefore, we must maintain proper activity of our security agencies. And therefore, I ask all of you, let the security forces do their work quietly so that we can continue to live in security and tranquility in the State of Israel.”

The case of Ben Zygier surfaced last week when a report that a dual Australian-Israeli citizen had died in custody in 2010. Speculation as to how he died and why he was in custody has reached a fever pitch, with many reports claiming Zygier was a member of Mossad who had turned on the security service.

Among other issues addressed during the meeting by Netanyahu was the matter of peace talks with the Palestinian Authority. “Over the weekend, attorney Isaac Molcho, my representative to the talks, returned from a round of talks in Washington. This week, National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror is expected to go there,” Netanyahu said, adding,”There is no doubt that this issue will be on the agenda and will be part of the work of the next government.”

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