Israel police unresponsive to violence against Palistinians: rights group

[JURIST] Israeli rights group Yesh Din [advocacy website] published an update [data sheet, PDF] Tuesday to its 2006 report [text, PDF; summary, PDF] detailing the lack of investigations and prosecutions of Israeli settlers who commit crimes against Palestinians [JURIST news archives]. According to the report, Israeli police have issued indictments in less than 10 percent of complaints filed by Palestinians monitored by the group, and most of the complaints filed were for assault or criminal trespass. The group said the way police investigate these claims has not changed since the 2006 report was released:

[V]ictims' complaints and testimonies were recorded in Hebrew rather than Arabic, the language in which they were given; the police investigators rarely visited the crime scenes, and in the cases when they did arrive on site, defects were noted in documenting the events; in many cases testimony was not collected from key witnesses, including suspects and both Palestinian and Israeli eyewitnesses of the incident; live identification lineups of Israeli civilian suspects were hardly ever carried out; confrontations between victims and suspects were also rarely staged; in none of the investigation files checked by Yesh Din, in which the suspects offered claims of an alibi, were their claims verified before the case was closed; the contents of about one third of the investigation files were very sparse, and indicated a hasty closure of the case shortly after the complaint was received; in a number of cases a decision was made to close the investigation, even though the material accumulated in the case file indicated sufficient prima facie evidence to prosecute the suspects; and an examination of cases closed on grounds of "no criminal culpability" raised questions about the decision to close cases on those grounds, given that the closure was executed on the basis of insufficient investigations.
A lawyer for the organization said the report shows that Israel is failing to control its citizens, but spokesmen for the police and a pro-settler group said that the report misrepresents data and draws erroneous conclusions. Haaretz has more. The Jerusalem Post has additional coverage.

In June, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] released a statement [text; JURIST report] criticizing recently announced Israeli plans to create new settlements in the West Bank [Haaretz report]. In December 2007 Yesh Din criticized [JURIST report] the Israeli government for failing to investigate Palestinian killings allegedly committed by members of the Israel Defense Force [official website]. Israeli military officials later said that there was a 36 percent increase [JURIST report] of such investigations in 2007.


 

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