What happens when a crime is committed, but the police doesn’t feel like investigating it

Like many of our cases, this one was closed by the police, after they failed to find the perpetrator. One cannot avoid the feeling, however, that they weren’t trying very hard.
At the end of April 2012, S. took his herd of sheep to pasture, at the eastern end of the village Amathin. Unfortunately for the village, one of the most notorious outposts, Havat Gilad, lurks nearby. S. noticed a military Hummer coming out of the outpost and going his way. The vehicle was manned by soldiers; three hooded settlers were sitting on its roof.

The settlers disembarked, and started attacking S.’s sheep. The soldiers, in the meantime, also disembarked – three male soldiers and one female soldier – and two of them aimed their rifles at S., while the other two held stun grenades. S. notes he knows what stun grenades look like; I doubt there are many Palestinians who don’t. A sort of division of labor was created: the settlers were abusing S.’s sheep, while the soldiers kept guard on him, preventing him from interfering.

Other herdsmen were around; S. bitterly said that “we could have pushed the settlers away, but the soldiers prevented it.” A short time afterwards, more army vehicles reached the scene, and – as per procedure – they expelled the Palestinians. One of S.’s sheep miscarried; three others now limp. The terrorists, and the gunmen in uniform who protected them, got what they wanted: since the incident, the Palestinians do not use that pasture.

So far, we’ve had gunmen in uniform supplying taxi services for hooded terrorists, and then protecting law abiding people from protecting themselves against them. Nothing to write home about, unfortunately. It should also be noted that the very presence of the settlers on that ground is illegal even according to the Government of Israel, and that they are still there despite that. But, well, we already got used to that.

Now comes the kicker. The incident ended, and the police procedures began. S. lodged a complaint with the police. Two months later, the police decided to close the case. Now, again, this happens all the time, but this time it’s weirder than usual. Your humble servant is not a police investigator, but this looks like a rather simple case. The investigator should call our esteemed brothers in arms, and ask them who was driving a Hummer in Havat Gilad at a particular date. This can’t be all that difficult. Then get the relevant soldiers, tell them they’re in over their heads, and that if they do not want this to end badly for them, they should give the names of the settlers they were giving a lift to.

It’s not complicated, but it didn’t happen. The police did not close the case because it reached the conclusion the incident didn’t happen; The IDF confirmed an incident took place. It closed it by claiming “an unknown perpetrator.”
Now, there are some crimes which can be described this way: Someone with a helmet robs an ATM in a major city, then disappears on foot. Good luck finding him. But we’re talking about a small place – an outpost, and not sparsely populated at that – where there is a relatively large number of security people, who were specifically described reaching the scene as a squad of three men and one woman. S. described his attackers, despite their hoods: One was wearing glasses and had a short beard, another was tall, with a black beard. The police, our lawyers found out, didn’t try to locate the soldiers and didn’t even bother to take the statements of the other herdsmen who were present.

Then a new farce begins. The police closed the file on June 4th. Only two weeks later, it bothered informing Yesh Din about it. After a long exchange, the police allowed Yesh Din to photocopy the files so it could appeal the decision to close the case. Note the times: Only two months and eight days after the case was closed, our lawyers managed to get a hold of the files. This is important, because you can appeal the closing of a case only within 30 days of its closing – and since we received the notice of its closing belatedly, and the file itself only two months later, the prosecution decided to reject our appeal.

This is what state sanctioned lawlessness looks like. It begins with gunmen providing support to pogromchiks, it goes on with a police that doesn’t bother to do its job, and ends with a prosecution which is out of contact, or pretends to be, from reality on the ground and the usual sloppiness of police work.

And so, the terrorists won in this case, too.