'More indicted for violence than vandalism'

Yesh Din report says Israelis more likely to be indicted for violence against Palestinians in West Bank than vandalism.

IDF soldiers detain a journalist in Nabi Saleh 390 (R) (photo credit: Mohamad Torokman / Reuters)
IDF soldiers detain a journalist in Nabi Saleh 390 (R)
(photo credit: Mohamad Torokman / Reuters)
Israelis are more likely to be indicted for violence against Palestinians in the West Bank and for land theft, than for vandalism, according to a new report by Yesh Din published Tuesday.
The report followed 781 cases of Israeli violence against Palestinians from 2005 to March 2012, out of which 280 involved violence. In addition, it said 44 percent (342 cases) were property damage issues, 15% (116 cases) involved land seizure and another 5% (43 cases) were miscellaneous.
Out of the 280 cases of violence, the report noted that 31 investigations were still active. The report said that out of the remaining 249 violent cases, indictments were served in 14.5%, or 36, of these investigations.
According to the report, most of the violence involved beatings, stone throwing, assault with clubs, knives and rifle butts as well as threats and other offenses.
In 38 instances, Israelis shot at Palestinians, according to the report.
Similarly, indictments were served in 14% of the incidents involving land seizures, according the report. It noted overall that there had been 116 such cases, out of which 18 were still active and 98 were closed.
These cases involved fencing, unauthorized cultivation, placement of buildings on Palestinian land, driving Palestinians away from their plots or denying them access, the report said.
In contrast, indictments were served in 2.6% percent of the 303 instances where the cases of vandalism had been closed, according to the report. These involved arson, damage to property or crops, theft of crops and other incidents, according to the report. It noted that 39 of the property cases were still active.
Overall, the report said, out of the 781 investigations conducted by Judea and Samaria police, based on Palestinian complaints, only 93 were still active.
Out of the 688 that were closed, indictments were filed in 59 instances, or in 8.5% of the cases. Two cases were lost and never investigated, the report said.
It said that in 627 instances, over 91%, the investigation was dropped.
It noted that in 24 such cases, it could not clarify the reasons for the closure.
Out of 603 investigations, the report said, 401 cases were closed because the suspect could not be found. In 138 cases, the report said, there was in sufficient evidence.
In 52 cases, according to the report, there was an absence of criminal culpability. Yesh Din appealed the closure in 18 cases. Another 10 cases were closed because of lack of public interest and two on grounds of exemption from criminal liability, according to the report.
The report noted that the low level of criminal indictments for crimes against Palestinians is similar to the 10% of indictments out of all criminal cases nationwide.
Still, Yesh Din on Tuesday charged that security forces were not doing enough to protect Palestinians and their property in the West Bank.
Yesh Din spokeswoman Hila Aloni noted that the rate of indictments should be much higher in the West Bank, because the crimes are ideological and not purely criminal.
“Ideological crime is perceived as particularly serious and, accordingly, the law enforcement agencies invest particular resources and efforts in these cases,” the report stated. “It is reasonable to assume that the national proportion of indictments for offenses committed against an ideological background is much higher than the general figure.”
Israel Police said the Yesh Din figures were inaccurate. In a statement to the media, the police said that instances of Israeli crimes against Palestinians were intensively and professionally investigated as are all crimes.
As a result of police overt and covert action in the field, there was a drop in the number of incidents of crimes against Palestinians that occurred during the harvest season and a rise in the number of arrests, the police said.
The fact is that in many instances, complaints are filed with the police long after an incident occurs, the police said.
In spite of this, the police said, the number of indictments for ideological crimes has risen as have the severity of the charges. However, the police did not provide any statistics in their statement.