Neglect of Palestinians in Israel fuels killing spree

The deadly crime wave engulfing the Palestinian community in Israel must be urgently addressed after years of being ignored by Israeli authorities, analysts say.

Until now, the Israeli government has neglected the Palestinian sector and, for example, barely set up police stations in the predominantly Palestinian villages and towns. Financial bottlenecks in the police force were often cited as an excuse. Illegal weapons, gangs and an extremely high crime rate are the results.

The violence is an extremely severe problem, Ian Lustick, professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, told Al Jazeera.

“Murder is rampant with systematic failures to investigate properly and extremely rare instances of arrests and convictions of perpetrators,” he said.

While Israel’s police solve 71 percent of murders in Jewish communities, only 23 percent are solved in Palestinian areas.

The Palestinian community, which makes up one-fifth of the total population, has fallen victim to a murder rate two times higher than Jewish Israelis face.

According to statistics, a 17 to 24-year-old Palestinian is 21 times more likely to be shot than a Jewish person in the same age group. For Palestinians aged above 25, the risk is 36 times higher than for Jewish Israelis.

Yaniv Voller, senior lecturer in the politics of the Middle East at the University of Kent, said the problem of violence in Palestinian society has been a long-term one that predated former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12 years in power.

“Although Arab leaders have often called upon the government to tackle the issue, they have not been keen on cooperating with the authorities, especially the police.”

As a result, 2020 marked a record year with 96 Palestinian citizens of Israel killed.

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