Still no progress in Hawara mob attack investigation

Updated: May 25


The youths’ car, after security forces arrived; Photo credit: Honenu

Tuesday, May 24, 2022, 12:40 Ten months ago, in July 2021, three Jewish youths were injured in a shockingly brutal mob attack as they drove through the Arab town of Hawara in the Shomron. (Note that Jews drive through Hawara on their way to Jewish communities in Gav HaHar as a matter of course.) The police have not progressed with their investigation of the incident.

The attack was initially considered a response to a price tag incident, and the police and the GSS carried out an intense investigation in order to prove it. However, the brutal mob attack on the three Jewish youths as they drove through Hawara was quickly revealed. Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is representing the youths, wrote a letter to the Yehuda and Shomron District Commander asking him to thoroughly investigate the attack, to bring the assailants to trial, and to recognize the victims as victims of terror. The letter emphasizes that the police inappropriately handled the incident.

"On Thursday, 22/7/21, at approximately 03:00, my clients were seriously assaulted in a mob attack by dozens of terrorists in the town of Hawara in the Shomron. Two of my clients succeeded in escaping. However, the third was abducted by the mob who brutally attacked him," wrote Bleicher.

"Although from the first moment my clients reported that they had been attacked, and maintained their testimony that the brutal attack was not preceded by any interaction between them and the assailants, to their shock, it became clear to them that the police suspected that the attack was in response to an act on the part of my clients. Thus it was my client who was detained and interrogated by the GSS for five days, despite his noticeable injuries.

"After my clients were unconditionally released, I wrote an urgent letter demanding that the circumstances of the brutal attack be investigated, that suspects involved with the incident be detained, and that my clients receive confirmation that they are considered victims of terror. I received only a reply from Attorney Plaut of the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police that the investigation was ongoing and that efforts were being made to reveal the truth."

Bleicher's letter goes on to describe how the police ignored the many letters from him requesting updates about the status of the investigative case and recognition that the youths were victims of terror. In accordance with a request from the investigative authorities, Bleicher attempted to coordinate another time for the most seriously injured youth to give additional testimony in the investigation. Despite his attempts, he did not receive either a written or an oral reply to his letter from the investigating authorities whom he attempted to contact.

In conclusion, Bleicher pointed out the prolonged failure of the investigation and how the police were dragging it out: "Out of all the above-mentioned, a hard feeling arises of disrespect for the case at hand, and consequently, for the victims. Unfortunately, and I do not write this easily, it seems that the investigating authorities are trying to withdraw from the investigation and to conclude their handling of the case, regardless of what the evidence in the case is, leaving the case to be handled at the criminal level.

"The absurdity of the situation cries out to the heavens: An injured youth was detained and interrogated by the GSS for five days, while he was accused of damaging Arab property, whereas there was 'deafening silence', and no detentions or investigations of the Arabs who were suspected of brutally assaulting the youths in a racially-nationalistically motivated attack that endangered their lives.

"What can a citizen say when after he is cruelly attacked to the point of endangering his life, he 'merits' being completely ignored by the law enforcement and security authorities, and at the same time, when he is suspected of damaging property, he 'merits' hostile and cruel treatment, despite a complete lack of evidence against him? I ask his honor to decisively act to rectify the injustice," concluded Bleicher.


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