Israel Police Ignored Several Complaints by Mother of Murdered Bedouin Girls

Police chief plans to dismiss senior officers from Arad station; cops still searching for girls' father.

Police ignored repeated reports by the mother of the two girls killed in the Bedouin town of Al-Fura’a on Monday that her children were being abused, a police report issued last night states.

Asinad, 2, and Ramais, 3.5, were found dead Monday following numerous attempts by the mother to warn Arad police that she feared her ex-husband would kill them, the investigative report on the mishandling of the case found. The mother, Abir Dandis, contacted police just one day before the death of her children, but was turned away, investigators say.

“There were serious failings on the part of the parties involved at the Arad police station with regard to the entire handling of the mother’s complaint, command issues, reporting and professionalism,” the investigative report states.

According to the report, Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino intends to dismiss the Arad station commander, as well the deputy commander and chief of investigations at the station.

Police are still searching for the father, M., who has been named the prime suspect in the case. One of the half-brothers was remanded on Thursday on suspicion of helping him; another was also arrested, but was released last night.

Dandis told Haaretz on Thursday that the reason she was turned away by police is because she is Palestinian.

“I saw their contempt in their eyes,” she said. “Everyone I talked with ignored me. They told me, ‘You’re a Palestinian, go to the Coordination Office [which coordinates between Israel and the Palestinian Authority].’”

Dandis says she met M. in 2009, and at first their marriage was good, even though his family objected “because I’m from the territories.” But things went downhill when they returned to Al-Fura’a, after a few years of living elsewhere.

“We were living next to his family. They always treated us violently, and he began to change toward me,” she said. “He became very violent toward me and toward the girls. He would hit me and the girls. About a year ago I decided to leave, and I returned to my family’s home, in the Jerusalem area, [taking] the girls with me. I wanted to cut myself off from him, but he kept pursuing me.”

In response to his repeated threats to harm her and the girls, she said, she decided to go to the police.

“I went several times in recent years to the police station in Ma’aleh Adumim [in the West Bank], but the minute they understood I was a Palestinian and didn’t have an Israeli identity card, they would say they weren’t the address; go to the Coordination Office.”

Asked why she nevertheless returned the girls to their father, she told a horrific story: “A few months ago, he and two other men, one of them apparently a member of the security services, kidnapped my younger brother and told me that if I didn’t hand over the girls, they would kill him. I was very afraid. In the end I handed over the girls, and he freed my brother. I remember I went to the police then, and they also told me it wasn’t their business, because my brother is a Palestinian and didn’t have Israeli citizenship. They once again sent me to the Coordination Office, and I didn’t know what to do. I was helpless.”

For the next several months, she didn’t see the girls, who were under the care of their father and his first wife. “I know she treated them well, because I would speak with her, and she even warned me that he was beating them.”

Once, Dandis said, he beat the elder girl so badly that she needed medical care, but the family took her to the PA for treatment so the alleged abuse wouldn’t be reported to the Israeli authorities.

Two weeks ago, Dandis saw her daughters for the last time, at a park near Arad, where their stepbrother brought them to see her. “Their father apparently knew and wanted to punish me for it by hurting them,” she said. “Their stepmother also told me this. I didn’t know what to do or who to turn to.”

Thinking it pointless to go back to the Ma’aleh Adumim police station, she went instead to the one in Arad. “For a minute, I thought they’d immediately send a patrol car and bring my daughters, but what interested them at the moment was how I, a Palestinian woman, had gotten to Arad. I tried to explain that my daughters were in danger, but I didn’t feel that anyone was paying attention to my complaint. ... I can’t digest the fact that my daughters were a few minutes’ drive away, yet no one saved them.”

“My daughters, like innocent birds, are now resting in Paradise,” she said, tears choking her voice. “Perhaps that’s better than remaining in their father’s hell. All I want now is that they be buried near me, in my neighborhood, so that I can visit them every day.”

On Thursday, by court order, that request was granted.