Violence: Illustration
Violence: IllustrationISTOCK

Commander of the Judea and Samaria District Police Department, Uzi Levy, recently said in closed discussions that Public Security Minister Omer Barlev (Labor) is not prioritizing violence against Arabs in Judea and Samaria, and as a result, the police are not stepping up their efforts to combat these crimes, those present at the talks told Israel Hayom.

In the discussions, which were attended by senior IDF and defense officials, Levy said he could not allocate forces to combat these crimes.

According to sources present at the hearings, Levy further said that the targets for the district approved by the Public Security Minister do not include settler violence: "The commander and the Chief of Staff have no authority to prioritize issues to the police," said a security source, "and thus a big problem arises. The defense establishment is told that it is responsible for dealing with nationalist crime, but it has no authority to increase the number of police officers to deal with the problem."

The remarks made at the hearing made it sound even more serious in light of the data from the IDF Operations Division. According to the data, in the past year there has actually been a significant increase in the number of national crime incidents in Judea and Samaria. The data also shows that throughout 2019, 352 nationalist crime incidents were recorded in this sector. A year later the number was similar - 353 events. However, in 2021, there was a jump in settler violence cases, with 563 incidents recorded. This year, cases of destruction to agriculture, attacks by security forces and friction with Arabs were also added to the count.

The Israel Police stated that, "We take settler violence incidents seriously, and they receive high priority in the Judea and Samaria District, while cooperating with the IDF, the Shabak (Israel Security Agency) and the settlements."

Minister Barlev stated: "The Public Security Minister puts dealing with crime and violence on the Arab streets as a top priority. This is not to say, for example, that the police should stop investigating sexual offenses in Gush Dan, road accidents in the Arava or, in this case, dealing with organized terrorism by extremist settlers in Samaria and Judea."