Report: Most settler violence not probed
Human rights organization Yesh Din says failures abound in all stages of law enforcement in cases of settler violence against Palestinians in West Bank; IDF soldiers present often do not prevent Israeli civilians from committing criminal acts, almost never arrest them
A report by human rights organization Yesh Din report said "failures abound in all stages of law enforcement in cases of settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank and that IDF soldiers do not act to prevent or stop the crimes."
According to the report, "victims face difficulties in filing complaints with the West Bank (SJ) Police, police investigation practices are faulty and IDF soldiers in the West Bank are inadequately informed of their authority in cases of settler violence against Palestinians."
Yesh Din said in a statement that the148-page report was compiled from more than a year of close monitoring of law enforcement of West Bank cases.
The report’s main findings:
- Ninety percent of the investigations in the SJ Police dealing with settler violence end in failure. Most of the files are closed on grounds of "lack of evidence" or "perpetrator unknown"; a significant percentage of complaints filed by Palestinians are lost and are not investigated at all.
- The IDF repeatedly shirks its law enforcement responsibilities in the territories. IDF soldiers present often do not prevent Israeli civilians from committing criminal acts and almost never arrest them.
- Palestinians attempting to file complaints face obstacles from the police, who are often not present to take complaints or refuse to take them, and in many instances require Palestinians to present documents before filing a complaint.
Yesh Din said it has thoroughly examined dozens of investigation files first-hand and has found serious deficiencies and negligence in police investigations regarding Israeli civilians' violation of Palestinians and their property. According to the human rights group, the following results explain the high rate of failure in investigations:
- Testimony often was not taken from key witnesses, including suspects and Palestinian and Israeli eyewitnesses.
- In none of the files examined in which the suspects claimed alibis, were the claims verified before the file was closed.
- Police investigators rarely went to the scenes of the offense, and if they did, there were failures in documenting the scene.
- Live identifications lineups with Israeli civilian suspects were rarely conducted.
- About one-third of the investigation files were very thin and indicated a hasty closure of the file.
- The decision to close files on grounds of "no criminal culpability" appeared questionable, considering they were subject to insufficient investigation.