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        <h1 id="reader-title">Israeli "counterterrorism" means abuse and
          torture of children</h1>
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            <article class="node-17641 node node-blog view-mode-full
              node-is-page image-landscape">
              <p>August 11, 2016<br>
              </p>
              <p>This brief video illustrates the fear instilled in
                young Palestinians, mostly boys, arrested by Israeli
                occupation forces, often during <a
                  href="https://electronicintifada.net/tags/night-raids">night
                  raids</a>.</p>
              <p>Produced by <a
href="https://electronicintifada.net/tags/defence-children-international-palestine-section">Defense
                  for Children International – Palestine (DCIP)</a>, it
                features 14-year-old Osama, who was taken from his home
                in the West Bank during a raid at 3am one night.</p>
              <p>“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.</p>
              <p>In a <a
href="https://www.hrw.org/report/2016/07/28/extreme-measures/abuses-against-children-detained-national-security-threats">report</a>
                released at the end of July, <a
                  href="https://electronicintifada.net/tags/human-rights-watch">Human
                  Rights Watch</a> lists Israel among six countries that
                have adopted far-reaching “counterterrorism” policies
                that have led to sweeping arrests of children.</p>
              <p>Israel joins <a
                  href="https://electronicintifada.net/tags/afghanistan">Afghanistan</a>,
                the <a href="https://electronicintifada.net/tags/congo">Democratic
                  Republic of Congo</a>, <a
                  href="https://electronicintifada.net/tags/iraq">Iraq</a>,
                <a href="https://electronicintifada.net/tags/nigeria">Nigeria</a>
                and <a href="https://electronicintifada.net/tags/syria">Syria</a>
                as governments Human Rights Watch describes as
                “trampling on children’s rights in a misguided and
                counterproductive response to conflict-related
                violence.”</p>
              <p>“The indefinite detention and torture of children needs
                to stop,” <a
                  href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/07/28/children-detained-war-zones">said</a>
                Jo Becker, the organization’s director of children
                rights advocacy.</p>
              <p><a href="http://pchrgaza.org/en/?cat=47">Not a week</a>
                goes by when about a dozen to as many as <a
                  href="http://pchrgaza.org/en/?p=8262">38 Palestinian
                  children</a> from the West Bank, including East
                Jerusalem, are arrested.</p>
              <p>In June, Israel <a
href="http://www.dci-palestine.org/jail_terms_extended_for_seven_palestinian_teens_held_without_charge_or_trial">extended</a>
                <a
href="https://electronicintifada.net/tags/administrative-detention-children">administrative
                  detention orders</a> for seven children.</p>
              <h2>Solitary confinement as coercion</h2>
              <p>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.</p>
              <p>“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 <a
                  href="https://electronicintifada.net/tags/ayed-abu-eqtaish">Ayed
                  Abu Eqtaish</a>, accountability program director at
                DCIP.</p>
              <p>Israel doesn’t use solitary confinement for
                disciplinary, protective or medical reasons, <a
href="http://www.dci-palestine.org/increasing_numbers_of_palestinian_children_held_in_solitary_confinement">according
                  to DCIP’s documentation</a>, but as an interrogation
                tool.</p>
              <p>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.</p>
              <p>“The cell was closed tightly and had no windows, except
                two ventilations gaps,” 17-year-old Rami K. told DCIP.</p>
              <p>“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.”</p>
              <p>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.</p>
              <h2>Blaming Palestinian culture</h2>
              <p>Israel <a
                  href="http://www.jpost.com/printarticle.aspx?id=463082">defended</a>
                its treatment of children earlier this month, following
                criticism by several countries at the <a
                  href="https://electronicintifada.net/tags/un-security-council">United
                  Nations Security Council</a>.</p>
              <p>Amit Heumann, the legal adviser to Israel’s UN mission,
                blamed Palestinians for Israel’s treatment of them.</p>
              <p>“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.</p>
              <p>“Unfortunately, the Palestinians are failing at this
                most critical responsibility.”</p>
              <p>“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.”</p>
              <p>Such <a
href="http://forward.com/news/israel/170451/palestinian-textbooks-dont-vilify-jews-new-study-r/">debunked</a>
                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.</p>
              <p>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.</p>
              <p>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.</p>
              <p>Last week, the Israeli parliament <a
href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israel-approves-new-law-to-jail-palestinian-child-terrorists-as-young-as-12-human-rights-stabbings-a7170641.html">passed
                  a new law</a> allowing the imprisonment of children as
                young as 12.</p>
              <p>Israel’s military regime in the occupied West Bank has
                always allowed the detention of 12-year-old
                Palestinians.</p>
              <p>According to DCIP’s <a
                  href="http://nwttac.dci-palestine.org/data_military_detention">statistics</a>,
                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.</p>
              <p>And though the law ostensibly applies to Jewish and
                Palestinian citizens of Israel alike, it was explicitly
                created to target Palestinians.</p>
              <p>Imprisoning 12 and 13-year-olds will be permitted in
                cases where the child is <a
                  href="http://maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=772507">convicted
                  of so-called terrorism</a>, a charge that almost
                exclusively applies to Palestinians.</p>
              <p>“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.”</p>
              <p>The Association for Civil Rights in Israel warns that
                the Israeli parliament may soon allow life sentences for
                children under 14.</p>
              <p>This is the latest amendment to Israel’s penal code
                that expands the criminal culpability of Palestinian
                children in order to allow harsher penalties.</p>
              <p>Last year, the Israeli parliament imposed mandatory
                minimum sentencing and extended the maximum sentence on
                people who throw stones at traffic.</p>
              <p>Israel also <a
href="http://www.dci-palestine.org/three_east_jerusalem_teens_held_in_administrative_detention">revived</a>
                administrative detention against Palestinian children
                ostensibly living under Israeli civil law in the last
                year.</p>
              <br>
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