Terrorizing Palestinian Children
by Stephen Lendman
It's longstanding Israeli practice. They're treated like adults. Each year, about 700 are lawlessly arrested.
They're detained. They're brutally interrogated. They're prosecuted in military courts.
They have no legitimacy whatever. They give kangaroos a bad name.
Since 2,000, over 9,000 Palestinian children under age 18 were treated this way. Many became traumatized. No-holds-barred brutality defines official Israeli policy.
On May 12, Defence for Children International Palestine (DCI-P) headlined "Rising numbers of Palestinian children subjected to solitary confinement."
They're isolated for "interrogation purposes," said DCI-P. Over 21% of them are treated this way. It's 2% more than in 2012.
In 2013, DCI-P obtained 98 sworn affidavits. It did so from Palestinian children aged 12 - 17.
Ayed Abu Eqtaish is DCI-P's Accountability Program director. "The use of isolation against Palestinian children as an interrogation tool is a growing trend," he said.
"This is a violation of children's rights and the international community must demand justice and accountability."
DCI-P said interrogating Palestinian children this way aims for forced confessions. They threatened to do so or else.
Isolation ranges from around 10 to 28 days. It continues as long as it takes to terrorize kids to confess to crimes they didn't commit.
Former UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights Richard Falk condemned the practice earlier.
"This pattern of abuse by Israel is grave," he said.
"It is inhumane, cruel, degrading, and unlawful, and, most worryingly, it is likely to adversely affect the mental and physical health of underage detainees."
Isolated children are held in Petah, Tikva and Kishon detention centers. They're in Ashkelon-based Shikma prison.
They have no contact with family, friends or legal counsel. Transferring them out of Palestine violates Fourth Geneva's Article 76. It states:
"Protected persons accused of offences shall be detained in the occupied country, and if convicted they shall serve their sentences therein."
"They shall, if possible, be separated from other detainees and shall enjoy conditions of food and hygiene which will be sufficient to keep them in good health, and which will be at least equal to those obtaining in prisons in the occupied country."
"They shall receive the medical attention required by their state of health."
"They shall also have the right to receive any spiritual assistance which they may require."
"Women shall be confined in separate quarters and shall be under the direct supervision of women."
"Proper regard shall be paid to the special treatment due to minors."
"Protected persons who are detained shall have the right to be visited by delegates of the Protecting Power and of the International Committee of the Red Cross, in accordance with the provisions of Article 143."
"Such persons shall have the right to receive at least one relief parcel monthly."
DCI-Palestine wants Israeli military court judges to exclude forced confessions from their decisions. It demands isolating children for interrogation be "recognized as a form of torture and stopped immediately."
It "demands that the prohibition of solitary confinement against juveniles be enshrined in law and recommends that Israeli authorities implement effective measures to ensure that perpetrators of children's rights violations are held to account."
It said most arrested Palestinian children are rousted from bed while sleeping.
"Children report that heavily armed Israeli soldiers arrest them in violent circumstances during night raids on their family homes," it said.
They're "often (awakened) by the sound of Israeli soldiers banging on the front door before a family member opens the door or the soldiers force their way in, storming the home."
They "gather all the occupants of the house, regardless of their age, in one room or outside and then demand identification."
"Generally, the entire home will be searched during the raid."
"Once a child's identity has been verified from his identification card, his family will be informed that he must accompany the soldiers."
Parent aren't told charges. Children don't know why they're targeted. Arrests reflect "the last time the family will see their child until he appears in a military court following an unknown period of solitary confinement and interrogation."
"Once the soldiers have identified the child, his hands will be tied with plastic cords, most likely behind his back, and he will be blindfolded and led to a military vehicle."
Most children later recount brutalizing treatment. It begins during arrest. It continues during transfers to detention.
It's worst during isolated interrogations. Children are treated like sub-humans. They're denied all rights.
They're terrorized daily. Brutalizing treatment continues until forced confessions are extracted. Core international laws are violated. Israel spurns them. It does so with impunity.
Thousands of Palestinian children suffered horrifically. Hundreds do annually.
They're held in small windowless cells. It's lit 24 hours a day. They sleep on concrete beds.
Some on floors. Others on thin "dirty" "foul-smelling" mattresses. Cell walls have "sharp or rough protrusions…" Leaning against them inflicts pain.
They're constructed this way to punish. It's one of many Israeli brutalizing practices.
Media scoundrels ignore it. They turn a blind eye to Israeli torture, abuse and other ill-treatment.
One-sided Tel Aviv support is longstanding practice. Palestinians are blamed for their own self-defense. Israel literally gets away with murder.
Horrific Palestinian suffering persists. Young children are affected most. Israel takes full advantage.
Rogue states operate this way. Israel is one of the world's worst. It's a democracy in name only. It's pure fantasy.
Police state lawlessness reflects official policy. Most children face stone-throwing charges.
Israeli authorities turn a blind eye to settler violence and vandalism.
Palestinian children face baseless charges. They arrested. They're detained. They're isolated. They're brutally interrogated.
They're forced to confess. They're tried in military kangaroo tribunals. Guilt by accusation is official Israeli policy.
They can be imprisoned from months to years. They have virtually no right of appeal.
Imagine young children alone against well-trained interrogators. Techniques used include "mentally and physically coercive, frequently incorporating a mix of intimidation, threats and physical violence with a clear purpose of obtaining a confession," said DCI-P.
"Shouting and intimidation are regularly used to elicit confessions, incriminating statements, and information on neighbors or family members."
Children "report being forced to sit in a low metal chair secured to the floor with their hands and feet cuffed to the chair, often for several hours."
Most often they're shackled painfully for hours. Again the next day. Until forced confessions are extracted.
Children are extremely vulnerable. Especially isolated from family members and other outside contacts.
Young minds take only so much. Israel takes full advantage. Informants are used. Children are entrapped to admit what never happened.
"(N)ot a single indictment has been issued against a perpetrator, and in many cases it is unclear if an investigation has been initiated," said DCI-P.
Horrific Israeli crimes against humanity go unpunished. Justice is systematically denied.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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