Israeli soldiers don’t arrest settlers. We know that. But what about Israeli police?
A couple of Jewish Israeli settlers were driving in the Israeli-controlled section of Hebron last week — where Palestinians live but only Israelis can drive — when some Palestinian youths threw stones at them, according to human rights organization B’Tselem.
The two settlers got out of their car, presumably to try and catch the stone throwers. But when they couldn’t catch them, they went after the easiest target they could find: the pair smashed a local market’s egg delivery and threw stones at parked Palestinian-owned cars, smashing their windshields, as can be seen in video provided by B’Tselem.
They were still throwing stones when Israeli police arrived. The police, army and settlement security officer, however, just let the two settlers walk to their car and drive off. The following is video shot by B’Tselem volunteers.
(The rest of the incident can be seen here.)
The Palestinians involved filed a report with Israeli police and B’Tselem said it would provide the video footage if requested. However, the police’s failure to even detain the suspected perpetrators is indicative of a wider problem.
According to human rights organizations that collect data on such incidents, Israeli police have an abysmal record in holding settlers accountable for violence against Palestinians. Yesh Din released information about such investigations last month.
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.”