A Palestinian lawyer said that when he went to an Israeli police station to report being attacked by a group of young Jewish settlers near a West Bank settlement, he ended up not having his statement taken, but instead being detained for taxes he owed the city of Jerualem.
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Tariq Bargut told Haaretz that the policewoman he tried to file his complaint at the Ma’aleh Adumim police station last week quickly shifted to questioning him about municipal taxes he allegedly owed and issued him a court summons.
Bargut recounted that he became angry that he was being asked about taxes and not what he alleged was a violent attack. He said he and a friend were approached in the dark along a walking path near a stream by six young Israelis who began hurling stones at them. He said he and his friend ran away, slipping and falling along the way.
But no statmement about the alleged attack was taken by the policewoman he met with, Bargut said, and instead he was detained briefly.
“I told her, ‘Listen, I’m talking about a very serious offense. Someone tried to kill me, and you’re telling me I’m detained’?” Bargut said.
He was soon after released but has not received any updates from the police since. He doesn’t know if the authorities went to the area where he alleged the attack took place near Ma’aleh Michmash to try and find the assailants.
The Judea and Samaria police department said in response: “Tariq (Bargut) went to the station to file a complaint. During his time there he was told he was a subject of investigation by the police in Jerusalem and was given a summons. He then started talking inappropriately to the policewoman and refused to file his complaint, after which he left the station.”
e fact that so many Palestinians refrain from filing a complaint with the police has been well known to the law enforcement authorities for years and is cited in every single one of the three formal Israeli reports that address law enforcement in the West Bank: The Karp Report, the Shamgar Commission’s Report on the massacre at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, and Talia Sasson’s Outpost Report.
Local human right groups have found that Palestinians are often unwilling to file complaints to the Israeli police in the West Bank beacause of distrust of Israeli authorities and out of fear they themselves might be endangered if they report incidents.