[Pnews] Number of Palestinian children in Israeli prisons doubles

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Dec 9 11:36:08 EST 2015

  Number of Palestinian children in Israeli prisons doubles

Charlotte Silver <https://electronicintifada.net/people/charlotte-silver>
8 December 2015

Marah Bakir, 16, was leaving school in occupied East Jerusalem’s Sheikh 
Jarrah <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/sheikh-jarrah> neighborhood 
on 12 October when she was shot and injured by Israeli police. They 
allege she intended to stab an officer.

However, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights reported 
that Marah had been walking with a friend when they were harassed by an 
Israeli who accused her of being a “terrorist.” Witnesses said police 
quickly surrounded her and opened fire four or five times.

Marah is now one of three Palestinian teenage girls held in Ramle prison 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/ramle-prison> with Israeli women 
convicted of criminal offenses.

    Filthy cell

The Palestinian rights group Addameer 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/addameer> says 
keeping the girls in this prison amounts to psychological torture 
because they are isolated from other Palestinian female political 
prisoners <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/political-prisoners>, who 
are held at Hasharon prison <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/hasharon>.

The girls live in constant fear and avoid sleeping, the group says. The 
three are being held in a filthy cell with two bunk beds, a blanket and 
a mattress.

Israel Prison Service 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/israel-prison-service> guards 
confiscated the girls’ warm clothes and headscarves, and keep them 
shackled during their recreation period, according to Addameer, whose 
lawyers have visited them.

Addameer reports that neither Marah nor her 14-year-old cellmate 
Istabraq Nour 
are receiving necessary follow-up treatment for bullet wounds.

Istabraq was shot and detained last month. Israel claimed 
<http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=768384> she intended to sneak 
into the extremist Israeli stronghold 
of Yitzhar <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/yitzhar>, a settlement 
in the occupied West Bank, with a knife.

    Surging arrests

Minors represent approximately a fifth of the 2,000 Palestinians 
Israel has detained since violence escalated at the beginning of 
October. Palestinian children from occupied East Jerusalem form a large 
part of this group.

With the surge in arrests, the number of Palestinian children in Israeli 
detention doubled 
<http://www.dci-palestine.org/children_in_israeli_detention> to 307 at 
the end of October compared with 155 at the end of August.

While children living under Israeli military rule in most of the 
occupied West Bank have long been denied basic rights 
those in East Jerusalem are ostensibly subject to the same civil laws 
and judicial system as Israeli citizens and have access 
<http://www.btselem.org/jerusalem/legal_status> to Israel’s national 
insurance system.

But human rights groups have documented a deterioration in their 
treatment and conditions in Israeli detention as well.

In order to accommodate the large number of children it is arresting, 
Israel opened a new wing for Palestinian minors at Givon prison in October.

According to Addameer’s Rafat Sub Laban, there are now approximately 75 
children at Givon, most of them from Jerusalem.

The facility has a maximum of 12 cells, each with six beds, indicating 
that even Givon is at capacity.

As The Electronic Intifada reported 
last month, the conditions at the prison are abysmal.

Lawyers from human rights groups, including the Public Committee Against 
Torture in Israel 
Addameer and Defense for Children International–Palestine, have all 
collected testimonies from children, who report being beaten, denied 
adequate food and held in moldy and frigid jail cells.

Children told Addameer’s lawyer during a 3 December visit that they 
suffer from nightmares, sleep disorders and are subjected to beatings, 
threats and sleep deprivation.

As in the cases of Marah Bakir and Istabraq Nour, some children at Givon 
are not receiving adequate medical attention.

Addameer’s Sub Laban told The Electronic Intifada that normally there is 
a Palestinian adult stationed in prisons with Palestinian children to 
act as a liaison with prison authorities. But no such person exists in 

    Parents barred

The youngest Palestinian alleged by Israel to be involved in a stabbing 
is 12-year-old Ali Alqam.

Ali and his 14-year-old cousin, Muawiya, are accused of stabbing and 
lightly wounding a security guard on a light rail train near Beit Hanina 
in occupied East Jerusalem on 10 November.

Ali was hit by three bullets in his abdomen, pelvis and right hand.

A lawyer with Defense for Children International–Palestine visited Ali 
on 15 November while he was still at Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem.

A spokesperson for the group told The Electronic Intifada that police 
prohibited their lawyer from asking questions about Ali’s interrogation. 
Ali’s family also said that the police prevented them from visiting 
their son in the hospital.

According to Addameer’s Rafat Sub Laban, Muawiya is being held at Givon 
and Ali is detained at a closed rehabilitation facility while they both 
await trial.

    Targeting children

Even before the recent escalation, Israeli violence against Palestinian 
minors in custody was on the rise.

Between January and June 2015, 86 percent of Palestinian children 
reported some kind of physical violence after their arrest, according to 
collected by Defense for Children International–Palestine – an increase 
of 10 percent from the prior year.

Since Israel’s intensified crackdown on Palestinians began more than two 
months ago, violations of the rights of Palestinian children in Israel’s 
civil court system have sharply increased.

In November, Israel’s parliament approved a series of harsh measures.

The Knesset gave preliminary approval 
<https://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=769026> to a bill to imprison 
children as young as 12 who are accused of terrorism. The law will 
affect Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians in occupied East 

Israel’s current laws bar imprisonment of children under the age of 14.

Earlier in the month, the Knesset passed a law 
mandating sentences of 4 to 10 years for throwing stones at moving vehicles.

Israeli lawmakers also amended the national insurance law so that 
benefits can be revoked from children convicted of 
“nationalistic-motivated” offenses or “terrorist activities.”

They also raised the fines courts can impose on their families to more 
than $2,500 dollars.

While the laws do not specify that Palestinians are the targets, human 
rights groups anticipate this will be how they are applied.

“Previous policy changes affecting related offenses have applied almost 
exclusively to the Palestinian population” in occupied East Jerusalem, 
Addameer and Defense for Children International–Palestine say in a joint 

    Extrajudicial executions

Palestinian children have also not escaped Israel’s policy of 
extrajudicial executions 

Of more than 100 Palestinians killed in October and November, 23 were 
children, according 
<http://www.ochaopt.org/poc24november-30november-2015.aspx> to the 
United Nations monitoring group OCHA.

The majority were killed during alleged stabbing attempts, but in a 
number of cases eyewitnesses and video footage indicate that the youths 
were killed when they posed no immediate threat.

Human rights organizations and international monitors have condemned 
Israel’s routine practice of extrajudicial executions.

In some instances, like in the killings in separate incidents of 
16-year-olds Mutaz Uweisat 
and Ahmad Abu al-Rab 
Israel has denied requests <http://www.adalah.org/en/content/view/8690> 
by families and human rights groups for autopsies or independent 

Israel is also still withholding the bodies of dozens of Palestinians 
killed in such incidents, making it even harder to independently 
determine what happened.

As long as Israel faces little of the international accountability human 
rights defenders are urging, children will continue to bear the brunt of 
the escalating violence it uses to maintain its occupation.

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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