Comptroller Slams Poor Law Enforcement in Judea and Samaria
Judea and Samaria were among the subjects discussed in the annual report released on Wednesday by State Comptroller Yosef Shapira. The Comptroller determined that the law was not being properly enforced in this region.
Shapira wrote in his report that the lack of adequate law enforcement in Judea and Samaria is in part because of a disagreement between the IDF, the Israel Police, and the Civil Administration for Judea and Samaria over who is responsible for law enforcement in the region.
"The meaning of the findings in this report is a very serious and ongoing reality [of poor law enforcement in Judea and Samaria]," he wrote. "This is a multi-systemic failure and the relevant ministers must acknowledge it as soon as possible."
Shapira said that there was illegal construction of homes taking place in Judea and Samaria, both by Jews and Arabs, but said that proper action was not being taken against the offenders.
"The police and the Civil Administration refuse to address the criminal offenses in relation to planning and construction in Judea and Samaria and to take action against Israeli and Palestinian offenders in this area, arguing that the issue is not their responsibility", wrote Shapira. "This means that there is no body in charge of the investigation of the criminal aspect of violations in planning and construction. This contributes to the perpetuation of the status quo in this field."
On another issue, the State Comptroller noted that the enforcement of traffic laws in Judea and Samaria is extremely lacking and this causes a risk to the lives of many local residents, particularly due to reckless driving by Palestinian Authority Arabs residing in the region.
“The existing situation, where the enforcement against Palestinian traffic criminals in Judea and Samaria is lacking, should be viewed as serious,” wrote Shapira. "This situation has to come to an end. It is important that the Defense Minister and Minister of Public Security determine, as soon as possible, the division of labor between the police and the state prosecutor regarding traffic crimes.”
The report also found that hundreds of PA Arabs who were illegally employed by Israelis have been caught in recent years.
"Given the security risk arising from employing Palestinians without an appropriate work permit, it is essential that the Civil Administration, the IDF and the police take all the necessary steps to eradicate this phenomenon," wrote Shapira.
Shapira said that most of the responsibility for the lack of proper law enforcement in Judea and Samaria lays on the Civil Administration.
"The head of the Civil Administration must explore ways on how to improve, as soon as possible, the actions of the monitoring unit of law enforcement in Judea and Samaria on the aforementioned matters, and address in coordination and cooperation with Central Command and the Israel Police all the shortcomings mentioned in this report, in order to form a united front among all concerned in all the areas of law enforcement in this region,” he wrote.
IDF and police: We’ll study the report
Responding to the State Comptroller’s report, the IDF and the police both said they would study its findings and reach the appropriate decisions on the correct course of action to take.
"The primary mission of the IDF in Judea and Samaria is the protection of residents and maintaining security and stability,” said the IDF. “In addition, the IDF has an obligation to act to maintain order in the area, including overall responsibility for enforcing the law. The duty to enforce the law in Judea and Samaria is embedded in the commanders and soldiers, and it is taught and practiced prior to the operational employment of the forces in the region, in cooperation with the Israel Police and the Border Police.
"Successful law enforcement in Judea and Samaria requires engagement and cooperation of all the law enforcement and government offices,” said the IDF. “The IDF attaches great importance to carrying out security checks throughout the industrial zones in Judea and Samaria and constantly acts to ensure the safety of residents and citizens in industrial areas and will generate the necessary conclusions from the report in order to realize them.”
The Israel Police said that the report's findings will be studied, adding, "In general, law enforcement in Judea and Samaria is at the hands of the IDF. The Israel Police assists and will continue to assist the IDF in all applicable areas.”
The police noted that just as it does not investigate nor prosecute offenders in matters related to illegal building or construction and planning in the rest of Israel, it does not do so in Judea and Samaria.
In addition, said the police, it is working to enforce the issue of illegal employment of PA Arabs in Judea and Samaria, which is a direct violation of a military order prohibiting employment of Arabs without the necessary permit.