When hate crime victims are not Palestinians, the criminals are taken to the court, the rights group says
Hate crimes carried out by illegal Jewish settlers in occupied West Bank against Palestinians have been on the rise, rights group revealed.
In a report issued last month, the Israeli rights group Yesh Din said that the Israeli Nationalist Crime Unit of the West Bank Police, established in 2013 with the declared mission of protecting Palestinians from hate crimes, “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 per cent of the files,” the organisation said.
The report added: “Some 225 cases closed upon completion of the investigation without any indictment. Of those, the police failed in the investigation of 183 files, 75.3 per cent of the cases that Yesh Din is aware of their outcomes.”
Yesh Din said: “This failure manifests in the incapacity of police investigators to locate offenders or collect evidence in order to put suspects on trial.”
It stated that “these figures are similar to its own 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 investigations files closed by the end of 2016 led to indictments.”
Likewise, according to official data provided by the Israel Police, in 2015 the West Bank Police Department opened 280 investigation files regarding suspicion of hate crimes committed by Israeli settlers.
These investigations, Yesh Din said, 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 (hate crimes) committed against Palestinians, a failure Yesh Din has been highlighting since the unit was established.
Yesh Din said: “The fact that the law enforcement authorities manage to put suspects on trial for hate 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.”