Like every other year when the harvest season begins, Yesh Din publishes figures on the failure rate of the Samara and Judea (SJ) District Police in investigating incidents in which Palestinian-owned olive trees or other fruit trees in the West Bank were cut down, burned, destroyed or stolen.
The figures, which cover the years 2005 through 2012, indicate that only 162 investigations that Yesh Din monitored during that period led to the issuing of indictments against those suspected of involvement in vandalizing Palestinian-owned trees. The indictment was issued more than four years after the incident took place. (It should be noted that the trial in this case ended in 2015 in a conviction for a much more minor offense as part of a plea bargain). One hundred and forty two investigation files were closed under circumstances that suggest the investigators failed to do their job.
Yesh Din does not document all the offenses that Israeli citizens commit against Palestinians and their property, however, the investigation files it is monitoring constitute a broad sample of all the investigation files regarding ideologically motivated offenses by Israeli citizens against Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Yesh Din figures for all the investigation files it is monitoring indicate that less than 9 percent of all the investigations being monitored have ended in an indictment.
As long as the Israeli government doesn’t act decisively to improve law enforcement on Israeli citizens involved in criminal offenses against Palestinians and their property, the State is effectively continuing to violate its obligation to protect the civilian population under its military occupation.