[Pnews] Israeli "counterterrorism" means abuse and torture of children
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Aug 11 10:53:02 EDT 2016
Israeli "counterterrorism" means abuse and torture of children
August 11, 2016
This brief video illustrates the fear instilled in young Palestinians,
mostly boys, arrested by Israeli occupation forces, often during night
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
In a report
released at the end of July, Human Rights Watch
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/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
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/afghanistan>, the Democratic
Republic of Congo <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/congo>, Iraq
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/nigeria> and Syria
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/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
Becker, the organization’s director of children rights advocacy.
Not a week <http://pchrgaza.org/en/?cat=47> goes by when about a dozen
to as many as 38 Palestinian children <http://pchrgaza.org/en/?p=8262>
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
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
“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 <http://www.jpost.com/printarticle.aspx?id=463082> 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
“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
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
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
<http://nwttac.dci-palestine.org/data_military_detention>, 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
<http://maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=772507>, 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
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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