Marking a decade of work, Yesh Din published a report entitled Mock Enforcement: Law enforcement on Israeli civilians in the West Bank, which summarizes a decade of monitoring law enforcement on Israeli citizens suspected of injuring Palestinians and damaging their property in the West Bank. The report details various law enforcement failures, which have led to poor results, reflected by the paucity of indictments and conviction of offenders.
The report depicts a disconcerting picture of how the law enforcement system functions, in particular the police’s conduct in handling ideologically motivated crime (violent offenses, property damage, seizure of Palestinian land, and other offenses). In addition to the report, Yesh Din published a data sheet – the first of its kind – with figures on the outcomes of trials for ideological offenses in the West Bank.
The report and data sheet show the following:
- 85.3 percent of investigation files are closed due the failure by police investigators to locate suspects or to collect sufficient evidence to serve indictments
- Just 7.4 percent of investigations yielded indictments against suspects
- Just one-third (32.7 percent) of legal proceedings ended in the full or partial conviction of the defendants
- The likelihood that a complaint submitted to the Israel Police by a Palestinian will lead to conviction of the suspect is just 1.8 percent
Mock Enforcement addresses the root causes of the problems in law enforcement in the OPT and to understand the reasons for the investigative failures. The primary conclusion from the analysis of hundreds of investigation files is the police’s failure to perform basic investigative procedures. This failure sometimes amounts to criminal negligence.
In addition to investigative failures, law enforcement in the West Bank suffers from systematic flaws that stem from the arrangements and provisions applied in the West Bank. The IDF is charged with law enforcement in the West Bank, but it has delegated this authority to the Israel Police. The division of authorities between these two bodies was never completed, and cooperation is lacking. These problems result from the protracted military occupation of a civilian population; Yesh Din holds that these problems cannot be resolved under occupation.
The manner law enforcement authorities employ administrative orders against Israeli citizens reflects the absence of the rule of law in the West Bank. In the absence of effective investigations that yield indictments, the law enforcement agencies make use of short cuts that enable them to remove individuals from the West Bank, or restrict the movement of those deemed problematic. Use of administrative orders is inappropriate and does not comply with the rule of law in a democracy; it is a measure for bypassing the right to due process that must be afforded to every suspect.