Jewish settlers face widespread discrimination

Monday, December 29, 2008 |  Israel Today Staff

As part of what many view as an unofficial policy of delegitimizing Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria, those known as Jewish "settlers" regularly suffer unchecked discrimination at the hands of police, according to a new survey.

Carried out by the YESHA Human Rights Group, the survey of police and court records found that there are currently 1,050 police officers for the settler population of some 250,000, while the crime-riddled city of Netanya, with a population of 178,000, has only 170 police officers.

Similarly, the volatile mixed city of Akko, where Jews and Arabs recently clashed, has only 143 police for a population of 120,000.

In short, the ratio of police officers to civilians is five times higher in the Jewish areas of Judea and Samaria than in other parts of the country.

The study also revealed that police are encouraged to enforce a strict interpretation of the law when dealing with Jewish settlers, while they often turn a blind eye to legal offenses by local Arabs and left-wing Israeli demonstrators. The same laws are also rarely enforced against Israelis in other parts of the country.

Opening criminal files against Jewish settlers is also much easier than opening criminal files against Israelis anywhere else, and police are twice as likely to independently open criminal files against settlers even without official complaints.

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