Police accused of ignoring Palestinians

Only 15 percent of complaints against Jewish settlers in 2005 led to charges.

settlers police clash 88 (photo credit: )
settlers police clash 88
(photo credit: )
An Israeli human rights group charged in a report released Monday that police fail to follow through on the vast majority of complaints by Palestinians in the West Bank. In its report, Volunteers for Human Rights said only 10 percent of the complaints against Jewish settlers led to indictments.
  • MK Eitam calls for 'removal' of Arabs Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld denied the accusations. Police procedures in the West Bank were identical to those inside the green line, he said, and "all official complaints are dealt with by police units equally." He was unable to provide comparable figures for inside Israel. In any case, he said, the danger and complexity of policing Palestinian areas could not be compared with operations in Israeli police districts. Volunteers for Human Rights research director, Lior Yavne, said the group's findings were based on a sample of 92 police files from 2005 and part of 2006. "The most worrying conclusion arising from the report is that there is practically no law enforcement mechanism in place to protect Palestinians from settler violence," Yavne said. A police statement issued in response to the report said that out of 299 complaints by Palestinians against Israelis in the West Bank from January through November 2005, charges were filed in 43 cases, or 15 percent of the total. The statement, signed by assistant West Bank police chief Moshe Pintzy, said a number of the complaints were still pending and could yet result in charges. "There are files from 2005 still being processed and whose fate has not yet been decided," the statement said. It added that from January through April 2006 there were 250 complaints and 151 indictments. Previous reports by human rights groups have reached similar conclusions as Monday's report saying that settlers are rarely brought to trial for violence against Palestinians, while Palestinians are dealt with more harshly. Orit Struck, a settler activist in the West Bank city of Hebron, accused police of being too aggressive in prosecuting settlers. "These data are absurd given the low level of crime in our areas, and is evidence of political enforcement which is at the expense of the settlers' human rights," she said.