Saturday , 20 July 2024

March 2017 Data sheet: Law enforcement on Israeli civilians suspected of harming Palestinians and their property

At the beginning of March, Yesh Din published its annual data sheet regarding law enforcement of Israeli civilians suspected of committing ideological offenses against Palestinians in the West Bank. The main conclusion is that the Nationalist Crime Unit of the Judea and Samaria Police, established in 2013 with the declared mission of protecting Palestinians from nationalist crime, has not led to an increase in solving cases of this kind.

Out of 289 cases of ideologically motivated offenses Yesh Din has tracked between 2013-2016, only 20 led to indictments against offenders (8.2 percent of the files whose treatment has concluded.) 225 cases closed upon completion of the investigation without any indictment. Of those, the police failed in the investigation of 183 files. (75.3 percent of the cases that Yesh Din is aware of their outcomes.) This failure manifests in the incapacity of police investigators to locate offenders or collect evidence in order to put suspects on trial.

These figures are similar to Yesh Din’s figures on the handling of all the investigation it has been tracking since 2005 – which is prior to the establishment of the special unit, when only 90 files out of 1,122 (8 percent) investigation files closed by the end of 2016 led to indictments.

Likewise, according to official data provided by the Israel Police, in 2015 the Judea and Samaria Police Department opened 280 investigation files regarding suspicion of nationalist crimes committed by Israeli civilians. These investigations led to 59 indictments in 2015, but it is important to note that in only four of these cases the victim of the offense was a Palestinian.

Data collected by both Yesh Din and the police reflect a trend of protracted failure regarding investigations into ideologically motivated offenses committed against Palestinians, a failure Yesh Din has been highlighting since the unit was established. The fact that the law enforcement authorities manage to put suspects on trial for nationalist crimes when the victims are not Palestinians demonstrates that these figures are not inevitable, but rather a product of policy.

This policy ultimately leads to a realty in which less and less Palestinian victims of crimes by Israeli civilians are willing to file complaints with the Israel Police. We have pointed to this figure in the past. In 33 percent of ideological offences documents by Yesh Din since 2013, the victims chose not to file a complaint with the police.

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