Every few years, an Israeli government or state agency makes a grand promise that it is going to fix the historic injustices perpetrated against the country’s Palestinian citizens. No one in the Palestinian minority believes it, of course, but such declarations make awfully good hasbara. Israel’s supporters trot out these promises as proof that things are changing for the better; that those who talk of discrimination are moaning minnies.
For example, Ariel Sharon’s pledge in 2003 to spend 4 billion shekels on the development of Arab municipalities got years of play in articles about Palestinians inside Israel. It was only much later it emerged that almost none of that enormous sum had ever been spent.
At about the same time the police, a state agency little loved by most Palestinian citizens (a state inquiry concluded that the police force institutionally regarded the minority as “the enemy”), made a similar pledge. It admitted that most Palestinian communities were virtually police-free zones, leaving their inhabitants insecure and crime rates high. (We’ll leave aside the issue of whether, given the police’s record of brutality etc, bringing more of them into Palestinian communities would actually offer their inhabitants greater security.)
The police promised to revolutionise their approach, investing money and manpower to make sure Palestinian communities in Israel had equal standing with Jewish communities. The focus was to be on crime prevention and reducing law-breaking.
The State Comptroller, a sort of Israeli auditor of state institutions, has just issued a report assessing whether the police came good on their promise, a decade after it was made. Yes, you guessed it, they didn’t – not by a long shot.
Haaretz: According to the plan, 10 new police stations were to be established with patrol officers, investigators, special patrol units and detectives. The plan also included the establishment of 14 other precincts and 72 neighborhood watch stations. But the police built only one new station of the 10 planned. It established only 35 new neighborhood watch stations and not one of the planned precincts.