Police fail to investigate ideological crimes committed by Israelis against Palestinians

According to Yesh Din's annual datasheet summarizing its monitoring of hundreds of investigation files handled by the Samaria and Judea police district, 91% of investigations into crimes committed by Israelis against Palestinians and their property are closed without indictments being served. 84% of the investigation files are closed because of the investigators' failure to locate suspects and evidence.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012
The human rights organization Yesh Din today (Tuesday) published a summary of its ongoing monitoring of investigations by the SJ (Samaria and Judea) police district into crimes committed against Palestinians.

The findings reveal that out of 781 investigations conducted by the SJ police district (from 2005 to March 2012), following complaints by Palestinian civilians in the West Bank of crimes committed by Israeli civilians against them and their property, less than 9% resulted in indictments being served. The vast majority of investigation files – more than 84% – were closed due to circumstances that indicate a failure of the investigation: most, following police failure to locate the criminals or collect sufficient evidence for prosecution, and some due to the loss of complaints and the apparently unjustified closure of investigation files on grounds of "lack of criminal culpability."

The failure rate is particularly high in the investigation of property crimes (such as arson, damage to property or crops, damage to trees, theft of agricultural produce etc.). Indictments were served in less than 3% of these cases. 95% of these files were closed in circumstances that indicate investigative failure.

Yesh Din explains that the findings mean the State of Israel is failing to meets its obligation to maintain an effective law enforcement system upon Israeli civilians who commit ideological crimes – some very serious – against Palestinian civilians in areas subject to its military occupation.

According to Ziv Stahl of Yesh Din's research department, "every month, Yesh Din volunteers collect the testimonies of dozens of Palestinian victims of violence, threats, damage to crops and property, invasion of their land and so on. These crimes are especially serious because they are ideologically motivated: their purpose is to drive the Palestinian residents away from their land or their homes, to intimidate or to influence the policy of the government of Israel. The data shows that the Israel Police continues to fail to identify the criminals and prosecute them."

Every year, Yesh Din publishes data indicating a continuous failure of law enforcement upon Israeli civilians who commit crimes against Palestinian residents of the territories. The data is published as part of a long-term project by the organization whose purpose is to exhaust law enforcement procedures against Israelis involved in criminal offenses against Palestinian civilians and their property in the occupied territories. Since 2005, Yesh Din has represented Palestinian victims of crimes by Israelis before the law enforcement authorities. This enables the organization to monitor the results of the investigations by the SJ district.

Full Datasheet (PDF)
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