Most hate crimes cases against Palestinians closed by Israel

Vast majority of investigations into hate crimes against Palestinian mosques and churches closed by Israeli police
3 min read
17 June, 2021
In the years 2018-2020, at least 10 Palestinian mosques and churches were vandalised, but Israeli police closed 9 of the cases stating they were "unable to identify perpetrators".
Israeli police have consistently failed to crack cases linked to anti-Palestinian hate crime perpetrated by Jewish extremists [Getty]

Israeli police closed 9 out of 10 investigations into hate crimes cases against Palestinian mosques and churches between 2018 and 2020 because they were "unable to identify perpetrators", Israeli media reported on Wednesday.

The remaining 10th case is pending a decision by the State Prosecutor's Office, Haaretz reported.

The information was obtained by the Israeli daily after a freedom of information request when police initially refused to provide the details, the paper said.

It added that the details of the last remaining open case were withheld.

Between 2018 and 2020, at least 10 mosques and churches in the occupied West Bank, where just under 500,000 Israeli settlers live, were vandalised.

Among the attacks was the destruction of the Beit Jamal Monastery’s cemetery, near Beit Shemesh in Jerusalem, and vandalism of a mosque in Jish.

The tires of dozens of cars in Palestinian neighbourhoods were also slashed.

Israeli rights group Yesh Din recorded at least three cases of vandalism against religious buildings in the West Bank, which were closed by police.

One of them is a 2019 attack on a mosque in the village of Deir Dibwan, which saw the phrase "The people of Israel live" graffitied on the mosque wall. The phrase is widely used by Jewish extremists at rallies.

The case was closed only two months after the attack on grounds that the police were unable to identify perpetrators.

Another closed case also involved spray paint on a mosque and attacks on cars in the Palestinian town of Kfar Malik in Ramallah in 2019, the report said.

A 2018 case involving an arson attack on the door of a mosque and graffiti on its walls was closed in June 2020, even though the event was recorded on security cameras.

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Rights groups say that Israeli police have consistently failed to crack cases linked to anti-Palestinian hate crimes perpetrated by Israeli extremists.

According to data from Yesh Din, which only covers cases in the West Bank, 82 percent of such cases which were opened from 2005 to 2019 were closed because police allegedly could not identify the perpetrators.

Israeli forces occupied the West Bank, a Palestinian territory under international law, since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

Over 420,000 Israeli settlers live in more than 200 illegal settlements and dozens of unauthorised outposts scattered across occupied Palestinian territories.

Israeli forces and settlers carry out regular attacks on Palestinian civilians and their properties, throwing stones, destroying olive and fruit trees, and even attacking children.

Often, Israel forces turn a blind eye, doing nothing to prevent Jewish attacks on local Palestinians and further enabling such assaults to continue.

In April, the United Nations warned that violence, including assaults and property destruction, by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank has recently increased substantially.

During the first three months of 2021, more than 210 incidents of violence by settlers were recorded, including the death of one Palestinian, it said.

The violence has been mainly motivated by ideology and intended to "intimidate and terrorise Palestinians", and prevent them from accessing their land while pushing others to move.