The Shin Bet is reportedly trying to entice Palestinian medical students to join the Israeli intelligence service by promising entry permits to al-Quds (Jerusalem).
The spying agency allegedly tried to blackmail two fifth-year medical students at al-Quds University who are pursuing internships in Palestinian university hospitals in the city, Israel’s English-language Haaretz newspaper said on its website on Wednesday.
A "Captain Biran" who introduced himself as the Shin Bet agent responsible for monitoring the university told the two to report on other students and their activities as a condition for renewing their entry permits, Haaretz reported.
The medical faculty of the university — located in the village of Abu Dis near East al-Quds — is affiliated with some of the oldest and largest hospitals in al-Quds and have up to 200 students of medicine, nursing and physiotherapy who need entry permits to enter the occupied city.
Hospital officials file requests to authorities al-Quds’ Civil Administration in the settlement of Beit El who at the discretion of the Shin Bet issue permits valid for between three and six months.
One of the two Palestinians in question encountered the recruitment request in mid 2009 after his entry permit into al-Quds was not renewed following his pilgrimage to Mecca. He was then told by the Civil Administration to meet with a Shin Bet coordinator.
In his meeting with Biran, the agent allegedly threatened the student that the Shin Bet could "interfere with your ability to finish your studies," but that if he acceded to "help" him monitor other students, the agency would even grant him entry to the prestigious Hadassah medical center.
The other student met Biren in March, days after his entry permit to al-Quds was confiscated at Zeitim checkpoint outside East al-Quds. He was told that his entry permit had been seized because "some illegal things were found in your bag" and was similarly instructed to report to the Shin Bet about students traveling abroad.
The Palestinian students said they were effectively prevented from choosing a residency specialty and continuing their medical training when they both refused to spy on their peers.
The Shin Bet said in response that the entry permits for the two students had not been renewed for security reasons, but did not comment on the blackmail claims.