‘WE AT Yesh Din believe that the moral and proper thing to do today is to continue to urge and remind the government and the people of Israel that the occupation must end – and that millions of people denied civil rights for decades must be allowed to exercise their natural rights,’ writes the autho.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The police do a poor job when it comes to indicting Israelis for ideologically motivated crimes against Palestinians in the West Bank, the nongovernmental group Yesh Din charged in a report it issued on Monday.
The Nationalist Crime Unit the police established in 2013 to investigate such attacks “has not led to an increase in solving cases of this kind,” the NGO said.
Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said he had no response to the report.
Yesh Din explained that most of the data in its report is solely based on the cases it has monitored. The data does not include all investigations opened by police into ideologically motivated crimes against Palestinians otherwise known as hate crimes, or price tag attacks, it said.
From 2013 to 2016, Yesh Din monitored 289 such police investigations in the West Bank, noting that not all of them were cases handled by the Nationalist Crime Unit. It found that in only 20 instances indictments were filed against the offenders while 225 files were closed without any charges.
The remainder are open, it said.
Out of 289 cases, 136 were property offenses such as arson, theft, property damage and or agricultural incidents such as cutting down of trees.
Another 97 cases involved violent attacks such as stone throwing, shootings, assaults and threats of assaults.
Some 47 cases involved attempts by Israelis to seize Palestinian land. The remaining ten cases involved mosque desecrations, dumping sewage onto Palestinian farmland and killing or harming farm animals.
With regard to the 225 closed cases, Yesh Din said that in 153 of them police failed to find the offender. In another 23 cases, there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the suspect and in 37 cases police decided no criminal activity had taken place. Yesh Din has appealed seven of these cases.
In seven other cases, investigations were closed for various reasons such as “lack of public interest,” jurisdiction issues and the young age of the suspect.
Separately, Yesh Din said that Israeli Police provided data which shows that in 2015, the Judea and Samaria police opened 280 investigations into nationalistic crimes committed by Israelis.
But these cases also involved offenses including acts against security forces and disrupting public order.
“These investigations led to 59 indictments in 2015, but yet in only four of these files the victims of the offense were Palestinians,” Yesh Din said.
“The data reflect a trend of protracted failure in investigation of ideological motivated offenses against Palestinians,” Yesh Din charged.
“The vast majority of investigation files are closed due to police investigators’ failure to locate suspects or to collect sufficient evidence for serving an indictment,” Yesh Din said.
“The fact that the law enforcement authorities manage to indict suspects of nationalistic crimes when the victims are not Palestinians, indicate that this data is not inevitable but rather a product of policy,” Yesh Din said.
The problem is further complicated by a decline in the number of Palestinians who are willing to file a complaint with the police, Yesh Din said.
“In one third of ideologically motivated crimes that Yesh Din has documented since 2013, Palestinian victims of offenses chose not to file a complaint with the police,” the NGO said.
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