Palestinian Children – Shackled, Beaten, Not Allowed to See their Parents or a Lawyer – That’s Israeli Democracy

Palestinian Children – Shackled, Beaten, Not Allowed to See their Parents or a Lawyer – That’s Israeli Democracy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Post-Blog

In Hebron there is a very high rate of  murder of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli military

You judge a society,
any society by its treatment of its children. 
Israel is a society which treats its own, Jewish children very
well.  Israeli Jewish children have all
the safeguards and protections that one would expect in this country.  But when it comes to Palestinian children
then they are shackled when they go to court, when they are interrogated, they
are thrown into tiny, stinking cells, they have no automatic right to a lawyer
in the military courts of the West Bank, they cannot see their parents as of
right.  And the chance of a Palestinian child,
or indeed anyone, being acquitted in a Military Court is slender.  Some 99.7% of those who appear in them are convicted.  Even the courts of Stalin and Hitler had
higher acquittal rates.

Israel acts and is a
police state for Palestinians.  And now
the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset has passed a law which will allow all
children, including those inside Israel to be arrested and imprisoned from the age
of 12.  But there is just one catch.  It will never be used against a Jewish child.  It is purely there to be used against Israeli
Arab children who protest or throw stones etc. 
It is normal practice
after a child has been held in solitary confinement or beaten for them to be expected
to sign a confession in a language, Hebrew, which they don’t understand.  Military courts however have no problem with
this.
Yet there are those
in British politics, whether it is the detestable Joan Ryan MP, who Chairs
Labour Friends of Israel, or Owen Smith MP who defends Israel unconditionally
or our own Hove MP Peter Kyle.
The Labour Right and
most of the Conservative Party have a blind eye to Israeli human rights abuses
in just the same way as they turn a blind eye to Saudi Arabia’s genocidal
bombing of Yemen.
Tony Greenstein

This
brief video illustrates the fear instilled in young Palestinians, mostly boys,
arrested by Israeli occupation forces, often during night raids.
Produced
by Defense for Children International – Palestine
(DCIP)
, it features 14-year-old Osama, who was taken
from his home in the West Bank during a raid at 3am one night.
“It
was the worst feeling to be far away from family and friends,”
Osama says. He
spent four months in an Israeli prison for allegedly throwing stones.
In
a report
released at the end of July, Human Rights Watch lists Israel among six countries that have adopted
far-reaching “counterterrorism” policies that have led to sweeping arrests of children.
Israel
joins Afghanistan,
the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Nigeria
and Syria as
governments Human Rights Watch describes as “trampling on children’s rights in
a misguided and counterproductive response to conflict-related violence.”
“The
indefinite detention and torture of children needs to stop,”
said Jo
Becker, the organization’s director of children rights advocacy.
Not
a week
goes by when about a dozen to as many as 38 Palestinian children from the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are
arrested.
In
June, Israel extended administrative detention orders for seven children.

Solitary confinement as coercion
Israel
appear to be increasing the use of solitary confinement against Palestinian
child detainees to pressure them during interrogations. One 16-year-old boy
spent 22 days in isolation.
“The
practice of using solitary confinement on children, for any duration, is a
clear violation of international law, as it amounts to cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment, and in some cases, torture,”
said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP.
Israel
doesn’t use solitary confinement for disciplinary, protective or medical
reasons, according to DCIP’s documentation, but as an interrogation tool.
Children
are confined in cells that barely fit a mattress while they undergo lengthy
interrogations during which Israeli authorities attempt to extract confessions
or more information on other people, according to DCIP.
“The
cell was closed tightly and had no windows, except two ventilations gaps,”
17-year-old Rami K. told DCIP.
“The
walls were gray, which hurt my eyes, and the surface was coarse, so I could not
lean on them. The cell had a sink and a toilet, but the toilet had a nasty
smell. The lights were on the entire time.”
Rami
was held for 16 days in isolation while being interrogated. The interrogation
was drawn out over hours, during which his wrists and ankles were bound to a
metal chair.

Blaming Palestinian culture
Israel
defended
its treatment of children earlier this month, following criticism by several
countries at the United Nations Security Council.
Amit
Heumann, the legal adviser to Israel’s UN mission, blamed Palestinians for
Israel’s treatment of them.
“It
is the responsibility of leaders everywhere to protect children at all costs,
to protect them from the ravages of war and to shelter them in a protective
environment, where children can thrive,”
he said.
“Unfortunately,
the Palestinians are failing at this most critical responsibility.”
“Instead
of nourishing their youth with the dreams of a bright future, Palestinian
children are fed a steady diet of hatred for Israel and glorification of
violence in the lessons they learn in school, in the sermons they hear in the
mosque and in the streets that are named after terrorists.”
Such
debunked claims that “incitement” – rather than the reality of
Israel’s military occupation – are to blame for violence, have long been a
staple of Israeli government propaganda.
In
its report, Human Rights Watch criticizes Israel’s treatment of Palestinian
children under its occupation regime in the West Bank, where 500 to 700
children are brought before military tribunals annually, and an average of 220
children are held in prison each month.
But
the line between Israeli civil and military law regarding children has become
increasingly difficult to discern since violent confrontations between
Palestinians and Israeli forces escalated in October 2015.
Last
week, the Israeli parliament passed a new law allowing the imprisonment of children as young as 12.
Israel’s
military regime in the occupied West Bank has always allowed the detention of 12-year-old
Palestinians.
According
to DCIP’s statistics, of the 440 Palestinian children in Israeli prison in
February, 104 were between the ages of 12 and 15. This represents a four-fold
increase from the number of young teens in prison prior to October 2015.
And
though the law ostensibly applies to Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel
alike, it was explicitly created to target Palestinians.
Imprisoning
12 and 13-year-olds will be permitted in cases where the child is convicted of so-called terrorism, a charge that almost exclusively applies to
Palestinians.
“This
law was born of necessity,”
said Likud lawmaker Anat Berko, who proposed the
measure. “We have been experiencing a wave of terror for quite some time. A
society is allowed to protect itself. To those who are murdered with a knife in
the heart it does not matter if the child is 12 or 15.”

The
Association for Civil Rights in Israel warns that the Israeli parliament may
soon allow life sentences for children under 14.
This
is the latest amendment to Israel’s penal code that expands the criminal
culpability of Palestinian children in order to allow harsher penalties.
Last
year, the Israeli parliament imposed mandatory minimum sentencing and extended
the maximum sentence on people who throw stones at traffic.
Israel
also revived
administrative detention against Palestinian children ostensibly living under
Israeli civil law in the last year.

 

 

 

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