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Monday, 3 May 2010

The Treatment of Palestinian Children

It is one of the hallmarks of a civilised society how children are treated. Israel demonstrates that when it comes to the children of Palestinians then their treatment is little different from those of adult Palestinians. Children of 12 are tried and sentenced as adults, they are subject to torture and mistreatment, their parents can’t seen them until their trial, they are shackled.

Many Israelis try to fool themselves that Israel’s occupation of the Territories is the most benign and civilised occupation in history (not that they have much competition in this regard). Of course to do this they daren’t let awkward and uncomfortable facts get in their way.

One such fact is that contrary to the practice with the children of settlers, who would never be arrested and inarcerated overnight without the stringest of precautions, Palestinian children are held in administrative custody and physically abused as a matter of course.

But Palestinian and Jewish children live under different laws, one of the hallmarks of an Apartheid society. This is a charge that Israel’s supporters in this country says is ‘anti-semitic’, as if anti-semitism historically had been based on the truth. A Palestinian child of 12 is therefore shackled in court, whereas such an outrage wouldn't even be contemplated for a Jewish child.

Tony Greenstein

Dear All

After a break of three months, the Israeli authorities have resumed issuing administrative detention orders to children. in relation to one of these children, and we are in the process of gathering further information regarding the second child who was issued with an order.

Moatasem Nazzal (16) was arrested at 3:00am on 20 March 2010 from the Qalandiya refugee camp near Ramallah. On 25 March 2010, Moatasem was given a six month administrative detention order, under which he is not charged, or given a trial.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like any further information.

Best regards


Gerard Horton
International Advocacy Officer - Lawyer
Defence for Children International – Palestine Section
Tel: +972 2 242 75 30 ext. 103
Fax: +972 2 242 70 18
Mobile: + 972 0599 087 290

How the Shabak Use the Children of Palestine

Ed. Note: The following is a report from Bi'lin resident Yasser Awad Yasin on his interrogation by Israeli security forces.

My name is Yasser Awad Yasin. I am 27 years old and I'm from the village of Bil'in. I'm married and I have two sons and one daughter.

The Shabak (Israeli security ) had called me on the phone and told me to go to their office. I didn't go, so the army raided my house. I was sleeping with my wife and children when they woke us all up. I asked them what they were doing because I hadn't done anything. They asked me for my ID and they told me to go to the Shabak offices the next day. I asked them why they didn't arrest me now and then the soldiers gave me papers ordering me to go for questioning.

When I went there, first they strip-searched me and asked if I have any weapons. I told them I have a packet of food and they took it off me. Then they took me to the head of the Shabak who told me many things about myself and my family to make me scared and to make me believe that they know everything. He told me they knew I have a son who has kidney problems and ” we wanted you to come here to help you. You can send him to hospital in Israel and we can make sure he gets all the help he needs. I understand your situation because I also have children and I love them.”

When I heard this I told him I have two sons who are sick, not one. He asked me what the problem is with the second child and I told him he has heart problems. He asked me which hospital he goes to and I told him the hospital in Ramallah. “Why don't you send him to an Israeli hospital where he can get better treatment? We can help you to arrange that.”

Then I understood that he would want something in return for this offer and he said we can do anything for you if you help us and work with us in Shabak. I told him that the treatment was OK there and he doesn't need to go to an Israeli hospital. He replied that my son may die if he doesn't get the best treatment, in order to make me scared. But I told him, “If he dies it will be because of your weapons and your gas every Friday. I live near the Wall and we have to leave our home every Friday to protect the children from these things, otherwise they may die.” Then he started in a different way. He asked me if I have a house and maybe I need money. I told him I have a house and a job and I don't need help from anybody.

After that he returned to the problem of my son who needs treatment in Israel because he knew that I have a real problem there and this was the best way to get my cooperation to be an informer against my own people. He asked what I would do if they refused to give him permission to go through the checkpoint to take my son to the hospital and I said that his mother could accompany him. “And what if we refuse to give her a permit?” I replied that his grandmother would go. “And what if we refuse his grandmother?” I said I will take him to Jordan. “And what if we stop him at the border?” I replied “I will take him to Ramallah – and may God help us”

Israel using strong arm tactics against young Palestinian stone-throwers

y Nir Hasson , Haaretz Correspondent

Last Update: 09/03/2010 09:42

Several children in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan were arrested and taken from their homes in handcuffs in the middle of the night over the past few months, as part of a police crackdown on suspected stone-throwers, several teenage residents told B'Tselem and Haaretz.

Haaretz and B'Tselem, the Israel Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, collected testimonies from several teens that suggest the police are treating them violently and violating their rights.

"They told me to get down on my knees and slapped and kicked me, one from behind and one from the front," a 15-year-old told B'Tselem. A large Border Police force has been raiding Palestinian homes at night, targeting mostly children aged 12 to 15.

Most of the children and teenagers living near near the two controversial residential buildings inhabited by Jewish settlers in Silwan - Beit Yonatan and Beit Hadvash - have been arrested at least once.

The police and Border Police activity follows complaints by the Jewish residents of the two buildings and by the guards hired by the Housing Ministry to protect them.

They say there has been an increase in children throwing stones at their houses and cars.

"The interrogator kept asking me the same question for an hour and every time I denied it, he swore. He swore at my mother and sister. He slapped me and wouldn't let me go to the toilet or have a drink of water," a 14-year-old told B'Tselem.

Another child said he was seated facing the wall and was beaten every time he turned his head.

Parents allegedly mistreated

Parents who try to argue or block their children's arrest are treated harshly or attacked, said Jaballah Rajabi, many of whose family members have been arrested.

"I tried to talk to them and they hit me, sprayed me with gas. Fifty of them come for every child. This isn't police, it's a mafia," he said.
"These incidents constitute a most severe breach of minors' human rights," attorney Yael Stein of B'Tselem wrote to Jerusalem District Commander Aharon Franco.

"A military-like crackdown in the middle of the night to interrogate 12- to 14-year-old children on suspicions of throwing stones runs contrary to all reason, and cannot be justified. It's hard to imagine the security forces taking such measures against Jewish minors," she wrote, accusing police of breaking the law governing treatment of youth.

The Jerusalem Police denied using violent measures and said the arrests and interrogations were carried out lawfully.
"Following increasing incidents of stone-throwing at cars, Border Police and Jewish houses in the Silwan area, causing damage to people and property, Arab minors suspected of throwing stones were arrested," a police spokesman said.

"Some of the minors had their remands extended by the court, and others were released on certain conditions. All the suspects against whom we have evidence will be brought to trial," he said.

Palestinian Child, 12 years old, To Be Tried as Adult By Israeli Military Court

In the West Bank, Jewish settlers accused of crimes are covered by Israeli domestic law, with all its due process protections; Palestinians are subject to Israeli military law. Under military law, the defendant can, for example, be seized and imprisoned without charge for six months, and that six months can be repeated indefinitely. Among the many other searing inequities arising from this two-tiered system is this: Settler children cannot be tried as adults until age 18; Palestinian childrencan be tried as adults as young as age 12.

The International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC) reports that Israeli Authorities have decided to file charges against al-Hasan al-Mohtasib, a 12-year-old Palestinian child from the southern West Bank city of Hebron, who was arrested and charged with throwing stones at the Israeli military. The boy’s seven-year-old brother was also detained and released after 10 hours.

As the boys’ father, Faydel, frantically searched for his sons after witnesses told him they were kidnapped by soldiers, the children were moved from one military camp to another, and from one detention center to another.

Al-Mohtasib voiced an appeal to human rights groups, and Defense for Children International, to intervene and ensure the release of his child.

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