Anti-Palestinian Hate Crime Drops After Right-wing Activists' Expulsion From West Bank

About a third of the cases opened in past years were closed because police were unable to identify the perpetrators.

Leora Eren Frucht

There has been a sharp decline in the number of hate crimes against Palestinians by right-wing extremists over the last few months, police data indicate.

Police attributed the decline to intensified efforts by themselves and the Shin Bet security service to keep known extremists out of the West Bank. These efforts began after the murder of three members of the Dawabsheh family in Duma last July.

According to the police, investigations were opened into 371 such cases in 2015, down from 616 in 2014 and 575 in 2013. The number of indictments filed in such cases last year was accordingly smaller – 67, down from 104 in 2014 and 116 in 2013.

The data was handed over by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan in response to a request by MK Itzik Shmuli (Zionist Union), who heads the Knesset caucus against extreme right-wing violence.

“Only after the murder in Duma and the ‘red wedding’ has Israeli society started to wake up and internalize how serious and dangerous Jewish terror is for it,” said Shmuli, referring to a video of a wedding in which right-wing extremists danced with guns and stabbed a picture of the toddler murdered in the Duma attack. “For a long time now, this hasn’t just been a case of a few hoodlums who content themselves with spraying graffiti and uprooting trees, but also of terrorists who seek to harm innocents.”

The figures show that over the last three years, police have opened 1,562 investigations into price-tag attacks. But so far, only 287 indictments have been filed. The document doesn’t distinguish between misdemeanors and felonies, but only lists the total number of investigations and indictments.

About a third of the cases opened during these three years – 566 – were closed because police were unable to figure out who the perpetrator was. Another 275 were closed due to insufficient evidence and 105 because there was no “public interest” in an indictment.

“It’s not clear who has been allowing himself to close hate-crime cases due to lack of public interest, given the gravity of the danger,” Shmuli said.