By Batya Jerenberg, WorldIsraelNews.Com
Britain’s state prosecutors are dropping charges against two alleged participants in a pro-Palestinian ‘hate convoy‘ that took place during Israel’s anti-terror Operation Guardian of the Walls in May 2021 due to their perceived inability to make the charges stick in court, The Jewish Chronicle (JC) reported Friday.
“This was a shocking incident,” Nick Price, Head of Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, told the Jewish news site, “and we know how disappointing this decision will be for the Jewish community.
“Throughout this case, we have worked hard with the police to identify those filmed and the extent of their involvement.” he said. “However, upon reviewing the evidence it has become clear we would not be able to prove to a court that one of the two charged individuals was in the car at the time of the captured footage. We could also not demonstrate that the second person had participated in the conduct to the criminal standard.”
The two men, Mohammed Iftikhar Hanif and Jawaad Hussain, had been charged with “using threatening, abusive or insulting words, or behaviour, with intent, likely to stir up racial hatred” after they allegedly drove through heavily Jewish neighborhoods of London shouting epithets such as “F*** the Jews,” “Rape their daughters… Please do it for the poor children in Gaza,” through loudspeakers in cars driving around covered in Palestinian flags.
At the time, the IDF was retaliating against a combined Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad assault, as the terror organizations had launched over 4,300 rockets indiscriminately over the Gazan border at the Jewish state during the 11-day battle that was confined to airstrikes on both sides.
The JC noted that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had also decided to drop charges in July against a different pair of men over the same event, citing the same reason even though the accused were traced through the license plates seen on videos of the convoy that had been uploaded to social media.
Last week’s decision now leaves the CPS with no suspects at all, which the MP for some of the affected Jewish areas called “disappointing.”
Mike Freer, who represents Finchley and Golders Green and is Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Courts and Legal Services, told The JC, “The CPS have a job to do, and whilst they may think the case does not have a realistic chance of success, sometimes we should take a chance and let a jury decide, otherwise we continually let perpetrators think they will get away with it, and the people who are terrorized think that they are not going to be protected.”
Jewish groups expressed both anger and disappointment at the decision.
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) said that this “crime sent Jewish families running in fear,” and that the country’s Jews “are facing surging hatred and are crying out for justice.”
“If the CPS is incapable of bringing to justice the people who drove through London in broad daylight on camera calling for the rape of Jewish women and girls, then it has reached the absolute pinnacle of pointlessness,” the spokesperson added.
The Community Security Trust, an NGO that provides security advice and training for the UK Jewish community, had “put a huge amount of work” into helping the police track and identify the cars in real time, and the “failure” to shield the community “from this kind of hatred and intimidation…will leave a deep scar,” said its chief executive Mark Gardner
Acknowledging that the decision could fray the Jewish public’s faith in the justice system, Price said that the CPS “will continue to work with the Jewish community to rebuild trust. Anyone who sees hate crime should report it to police. We will prosecute all cases where there is sufficient evidence to do so.”