Only 10 percent of the instances in which Palestinians accused settlers of attacking them ended up in indictments being filed against the suspects, according to data presented today by the human rights group Yesh Din. The group examined 205 different cases of alleged assault by settlers that were reported over the years.

The data on the 205 cases also shows that 163 of the cases have been closed by police and prosecution officials. Only in 13 cases, 8 percent, were indictments filed, while 149 cases were closed without charges being brought against the suspects.

The group argues that police in the West Bank have failed in completing investigations on suspected attacks against Palestinians there.

'Weak arm of the law'

"The weak arm [of the law] avoids enforcing laws on Israelis living in the West Bank, causes the state of Israel to violate its ethical and international obligations vis a vis the population under our control," said Michael Sfard, the legal counsel for Yesh Din.

The group says that of the 149 police investigations that were closed, in 91 cases this was done because the "violator's identity was not known." Forty-three other cases were closed for lack of evidence, and the rest because there was no criminal violation, no public interest or for no obvious reason.

In response the police in the West Bank said Tuesday that during 2007 "a total of 550 cases were opened in cases of disturbing the peace, involving Israelis against Palestinians, left wing activists or the security forces. Of these only 195 cases were violations against Palestinians." The police also pointed out that "of the 69 indictments of disturbing the peace, 30 of the cases involved a Palestinian plaintiff."