Rape [illustration] 370.
(photo credit: Ingimage)
The release of the Palestinian suspect accused of raping a seven-year-old Israeli girl was met by West Bank residents with both criticism and caution on Tuesday, with a feeling of mistrust in the police a common theme. Nearly two weeks after his indictment, Mahmoud Nazmi Katus from the town of Deir Qaddis was released after the Israel Police failed to compile enough evidence against him.
Settler and political strategist David Ha’ivri said the poor manner in which this case was handled was to blame for the lack of cooperation between the governing agencies involved, including the Israel Police and IDF. The gaps in information allowed for “a lack of justice, and nearly anarchy,” he said.
“The reality that we have all these different agencies dealing with segments of population is a horrible situation, very bad on the ground, and for this reason, I believe Israel should take full responsibility and sovereignty in Judea and Samaria. One governing body makes much more sense.”
Ha’ivri also said that uncertainty regarding the suspect’s innocence and the motives behind the attack was a concern for many.
“Over the past two weeks we have been discussing a crime with an obvious suspect, who was named and displayed to the entire public, and it was made very clear to the public by the media that this man has done horrendous things to this little girl, and now he was set free because the authorities admitted they do not have enough evidence to back up the accusation,” Ha’ivri said.
“Everyone is very confused and very frustrated with this situation. And again, obviously, the authorities did a very sloppy job with this investigation. Many people are concerned that a dangerous criminal may walk free and that he may not only be a dangerous criminal but he might also be a terror-motivated dangerous criminal.”
Yisrael Medad, a former journalist and current West Bank resident, said people shouldn’t be so quick to judge whether Katusa is guilty, and should wait for the police and courts to make a decision.
“However uncomfortable the situation is,” Medad said, “we should be the last people to jump at making accusations without knowing exactly the details and particulars.”
Medad also noted that following the rape and murder of Ori Ansbacher by a Palestinian in February, it may be easier for some to believe Katusa is guilty. “Being Jews,” he said, “sometimes however uncomfortable it may be, it means extra responsibility to be as moral or ethical as possible, even when reading about cases of that nature.”
Though Medad agrees that the police should continue to investigate the case, he is certain that the outcome will be used as a political weapon by all sides of the political spectrum.
“Whether for the Left or the Right, everyone has to see the other side as extreme or radical or irrational as possible, and that’s unfortunate.”
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