‘This is a direct continuation of Israeli policy at Al Aqsa [Mosque],’ one resident of Al Mughayir says. New data shows that since establishment of a special police unit to tackle settler attacks, the number of failed investigations has actually increased.
Text by Oren Ziv and Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man
Photos by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org
A mosque in the West Bank village of Al Mughayir was set on fire and severely damaged in a suspected hate crime early Wednesday morning. The first floor of the mosque was completely engulfed but the flames also reached the second floor.
A large number of Qurans were burned in the incident.
Speaking to +972, one local resident noted that this was not the first time settlers have set a mosque on fire. The man added that investigations into such incidents by Israeli authorities have brought no justice.
“This is a direct continuation of Israeli policy at Al Aqsa [Mosque],” the resident of Al Mughayir said. “Every mosque is in danger from the settlers.”
Last month a mosque in the village of Aqraba was set alight in a similar attack.
Palestinian police and firefighters were on the scene.
Israeli media reported that Israeli police had not arrived at the scene to investigate due to clashes taking place nearby.
In northern Israel overnight Tuesday a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a centuries-old synagogue in the Palestinian town of Shfar’am (Shefa-‘Amr). The flames did not penetrate the building.
Human rights organization Yesh Din this week released a data sheet on Israeli police failures in investigating crimes committed by Israeli settlers against Palestinians.
According to this data, in 2005-2014, a mere 7.4 percent of investigation files led to indictments of Israeli civilians suspected of attacking Palestinians and their property, reflecting a decline of approximately one percent in the rate of such indictments.
Over the past nine years, according to their data, only 7.4 percent of investigations “led to indictments of Israeli civilians suspected of attacking Palestinians and their property.”
In the past two years, following a spate of higher-than-usual settler attacks against Palestinians, the government ordered the creation of a special police investigatory unit dealing exclusively with what Israel describes as “nationalistic crimes.”
Since the creation of the Nationalistic Crimes Unit in the West Bank, “the failure rate of the Israel Police in properly investigating ideological offenses against Palestinians has in fact worsened,” according to Yesh Din.
In 2013-2014, a statement by Yesh Din said, that nearly 90 percent of police investigations in the past two years were closed without indictment due to what the organization terms “investigative failures.”
“The figures prove the pretentious declarations of a campaign against nationalist crime are meaningless,” said Noa Cohen of Yesh Din’s research department. “Ideological crime in the West Bank continues to be used for intimidation and for seizing land.”