Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
Tayma, 13, an aspiring Palestinian hip-hop artist, shares her experiences of growing up with settler harassment and intimidation in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan through her lyrics.
“We had a childhood just like everyone else, but it wasn’t a normal childhood,” says 13-year-old Tayma. “Everywhere we turn, the settlers are around us … They came to our land, stole our land, and are saying that it’s theirs.”
Tayma lives in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan on the outskirts of Jerusalem’s Old City. Israeli authorities issued many of the Palestinian families living in Silwan with demolition orders for their homes to clear the area for a national park.
Israeli authorities also approved a large tourism center in the heart of the neighborhood, which will include parking, an event hall, a cafeteria, and stores. They’ve handed development of the area to Elad, an Israeli settlement organization.
“All the houses here are under threat of demolition [by Israel] so that the settlers can build a park for their children,” says Tayma. “They want to throw Palestinian families on the streets so that they can build parks for their own children.”
Israeli settlers have moved into Silwan. With the aid of Israeli security forces, they subject the longtime Palestinian residents to daily violent harassment and intimidation.
Tayma and her sibling must share the same steps with settlers to access their home. “Sometimes we rub each other the wrong way, which creates some bad situations between us,” she says. “There are cameras everywhere that watch the kids as they go up and down the steps.”
“My dream is like the dream of any Palestinian kid,” says Tayma. “It is to live in safety and not in the shadow of colonization, and not to feel crushed every time I leave the house. And my other dream is to become a famous Palestinian rapper.”
Palestinian children are systematically subjected to torture and violence, including threats of rape, by Israeli interrogators, in order to force them to confess to stone-throwing.
In November 2009, B’Tselem began receiving reports of violence against Palestinian minors during interrogation at the Etzion police station. Until July 2013, B’Tselem field researchers collected 64 testimonies from residents of eight communities in the southern West Bank who reported such incidents. Fifty-six of them were minors at the time of their interrogation. The testimonies describedsevere physical violence during the interrogation or preliminary questioning, which, in some cases, amounted to torture. The violence included slaps, punches and kicks to all parts of the body, and blows with objects, such as a gun or a stick. Some of the former interrogatees also reported threats: in twelve cases, they claimed that the interrogator had threatened them or female relatives with sexual assault, such as rape and genital injury. In six cases, the interrogatees claimed that the interrogators had threatened to execute them; in eight cases, the interrogators allegedly threatened to harm family members; and in five other cases, they allegedly threatened to electrocute the interrogatees, including in a way that would damage their fertility.
B’Tselem included the testimony of M.A., a 15-year-old boy, from Husan village near Bethlehem:
The interrogator “Daud” took me outside with a soldier. They blindfolded me. The plastic cable ties were still on my hands. They put me in a car and started driving. I don’t know where they took me. We reached some place outside Etzion and they forced me out of the car. My hands really hurt because of the cable ties. They took off my blindfold. I didn’t know where I was. They tied me to a tree, and then they raised my cuffed hands and tied them to the tree, too. It hurt a lot. “Daud” started punching me. After a few minutes, he took out a gun and said: “I’ll murder you if you don’t confess! Out here, no one will find you. We’ll kill you and leave you here.
While the revelations from B’Tselem are shocking, they are, sadly, hardly new. The accounts of the Palestinian children are consistent with those collected in dozens of cases in 2012 alone by Defence for Children International – Palestine Section (DCI).
These cases include routine use of solitary confinement with no access to family or lawyers, as well as physical violence, to force children to confess.
Last year, DCI released the brief video above, Alone, highlighting the experience and testimonies of Palestinian children abused and tortured by the occupation forces.
The film makes the point that Palestinian children subjected to military occupation have no one to protect them from such abuses by Israeli forces.
As of June this year, there are 193 Palestinian children in Israeli prisons of whom 41 were between the ages of 12 and 15.
Some 7,500 Palestinian children have been detained by Israeli occupation forces since the year 2000, according to DCI.
B’Tselem reports that its efforts to obtain accountability for Palestinian victims in dozens of cases have been met with stone-walling.
The group said its appeals to the occupation to deal “systemically” with the phenomenon of torture and violence at Etzion have gone nowhere:
Although B’Tselem contacted the Israel Police on this matter repeatedly, no official answer was given to the question whether any steps had been taken to address the phenomenon and, if so, what they were. All our communications with the police on the matter were met with denial.
B’Tselem said that the high number of consistent reports of torture suggest a systematic process:
The high number of reports B’Tselem has received regarding violent interrogations at the Etzion station, and the fact that they span several years, gives rise to heavy suspicion that this is not a case of a single interrogator who chose to use illegal interrogation methods, but rather an entire apparatus that backs him up and allows such conduct to take place.
B’Tselem itself issued a report about the torture of children at Etzion police station as far back as 2001.
Again, B’Tselem’s experience matches that of other Israeli groups, such as Yesh Din, that have found that efforts to obstain justice for Palestinians from their oppressors result in almost total and systematic impunity for the abusers.
On the evening of Sunday, July 14, in the old city of Hebron two Palestinian children named Mohammed and Ahmed, both aged 13 years old, were arrested. Though joining a wave of child arrests in Hebron during the last weeks, the arrests of the two boys stand out because of the massive number of soldiers and police actively participating.
5-year-old Wadia arrested with his father, also blindfolded, by Israeli focers in Hebron (Photo by ISM)
The first boy, 13 year old Mohammed, was taken from his family home in the Israeli controlled H2 area of Hebron, home to 31,000 Palestinian people and approximately 500 illegal Israeli settlers. Allegedly the arrest was made because Mohammed threw a stone at Israeli soldiers patrolling the streets, though no evidence of this has been made public to international observers who witnessed soldiers invading Mohammed’s home and leading him away to Beit Romano Military base. The second boy, named Ahmed and also 13 years old, was taken from one of Hebron’s market streets, situated in H1, an area that is supposed to be controlled fully by Palestinian police forces. Sidestepping this agreement, the soldiers invaded H1, grabbed Ahmed and brought him with them back into H2, claiming he had thrown a tomato at a nearby settlement.
Both individual arrests were carried out by more than five Israeli soldiers, but as events rolled the number progressed to more than 30 heavily armed members of the occupying forces. The arrest of Ahmed led to outcries in the market, with Ahmed’s mother demanding the soldiers on the wall separating the two areas to give back her son. The soldiers responded by sending more than 30 soldiers to the wall, bringing with them both live ammunition and several teargas grenades, threatening to shoot these into the mass of assembled people gathered on the other side of the wall. The situation escalated as armed settlers joined the soldiers, harassing international observers.
Finally, an hour later, a visibly shaken Ahmed was taken through the mass of settlers and military personnel and released back into H1 to his waiting family. Mohammed had to endure further dehumanizing punishment as he was taken to the Police station outside Ibrihimi Mosque. This was where an Israeli police officer lied to internationals present, stating the boy would be released and that those present could “trust him”; in fact Mohammed was transferred to Qiryat Arba police station and held until his family could make their way there to pay a fine of 500 NIS for his release.
The city of Hebron has experienced a wave of child arrests during the last weeks, often violating Israeli military law stating that children under the age of 12 cannot be arrested, as in the case of 5-year-old Wadia[i]. Though both Ahmed and Mohammed are 13, Palestinians complain that this law, giving Israeli occupation forces the right to arrest children from the age of 12, is only ever enforced for their children and not for settler children. On Sunday night in Hebron this proved true, as settler children attacked internationals by throwing a stone on the scene before the eyes of Israeli soldiers without consequences.
Ariel Doron, the voice of Elmo on the Israeli version of the popular children’s television show, and Yousef Sweid, who plays an Arab Muppet on the show, created a Facebook group namedPuppets4All calling on Israel to permit the festival.
Two other Israeli “Sesame Street” puppeteers, along with a number of fellow Israeli actors, uploaded photos to the Facebook group holding puppets and signs protesting the closure.
“I think every boy and girl deserves to see puppet theater,” said Doron. “There is no sense to this.”
In actuality, there is no sense to zionism, period.
Two reports can be read here …
One from AP,
The other from AFP.
Today, the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child accused Israeli forces of torturing Palestinian children.
The report (pdf)comes within a year of three other reports: a UNICEF report on children in military detention last winter; a British report of a year ago, Children in Military Custody, which gained wide attention for its assertion that Israel was torturing children by holding them “routinely and for substantial periods in solitary confinement;” and this Breaking the Silence report last summer on Israeli soldiers’ abuses of Palestinian children, which included many reports of children getting beaten “to a pulp.”
A United Nations human rights body accused Israeli forces on Thursday of mistreating Palestinian children, including by torturing those in custody and using others as human shields.
“Palestinian children arrested by (Israeli) military and police are systematically subject to degrading treatment, and often to acts of torture, are interrogated in Hebrew, a language they did not understand, and sign confessions in Hebrew in order to be released,” it said in a report.
“If someone simply wants to magnify their political bias and political bashing of Israel not based on a new report, on work on the ground, but simply recycling old stuff, there is no importance in that,” [Israeli Foreign Ministry] spokesman Yigal Palmor said.
The “old stuff” FM spokesperson Yigal Palmor is referencing is the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) February report Children in Israeli Military Detention, Observations and Recommendations (pdf) on the “widespread, systematic and institutionalized” abuse of Palestinian children held in Israeli custody.
After UNICEF released its report, Israel’s Foreign Ministry claimed in March that it would “study the conclusions and… work to implement them through ongoing cooperation with UNICEF.”
No doubt Palmor would much rather deal with UNICEF than with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which issued today’s report, since Israel joined UNICEF’s board this year, and UNICEF’s new Jerusalem bureau chief has been very respectful of Israel.
Back to Reuters:
The U.N. committee [OHCHR] regretted Israel’s “persistent refusal” to respond to requests for information on children in the Palestinian territories and occupied Syrian Golan Heights since the last review in 2002.
Today is a good time to be reminding Israel to stop torturing Palestinian children. It’s World Refugee Day, established by the U.N. in December 2000, nearly 50 years after the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. It is observed every year on June 20th to raise awareness of the plight of refugees.
Palestinian refugees represent the longest suffering and largest refugee population in the world.
An Israeli public swimming pool has refused entry to a group of children with cancer because the children are Arab.
The subtitled video report above from Israel’s Channel 2 says that Dr. Gali Zohar, wanted to surprise a group of 20 Bedouin children with cancer with a fun day at the pool at Mabu’im village in the south of the country.
Zohar called the pool ahead of time and managers agreed to admit the children free of charge. Everything was fine until the managers realized the children were Arab and then specifically said that allowing Bedouin children in would be a “problem.”
Bedouins in the south of historic Palestine are ostensibly citizens of Israel but face the imminent threat of further mass expulsions from their traditional lands as part of Israel’s racist “Judaization” policies.
The Channel 2 report includes an audio recording of a telephone call in which a pool manager specifies that the facility will not let in children from the Arab “sector.” The report added that Ben-Gurion University agreed to allow the children to use its facilities.
This shocking incident came to light just days after it emerged that another Israeli facility, the theme park Superland, segregates Jewish and Arab students on separate days.
While Arab and Jewish children in Israel attend separate and unequal schools, racial segregation in public facilities like parks or pools is not mandated by law as it was in apartheid South Africa or the United States. But Palestinian citizens of Israel have habitually faced discrimination.
As for millions more Palestinians living under occupation and siege in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel’s strict closures, sieges and permit system effectively bar them from most recreational facilities, parks and beaches in historic Palestine.
In recent years, Palestinian and Israeli women have challenged these draconian movement restrictions by going on “illegal” trips to the beach together.
The latest cases of swimming pool racism are reminiscent of an incident caught on video last year when Palestinian families were turned away from a resort near the Dead Sea as Europeans, Israelis and dogs were allowed to enter freely.
It has already been met here with a typical shrug of the shoulders, the report by the United Nations Children Fund declaring that Palestinian children detained by the Israel Defense Forces are subject to widespread, systematic ill-treatment that violates international law.
Now it’s no longer “the automatic majority” at the UN’s General Assembly, nor is it “Israel-haters” on the UN Human Rights Council. Now it’s UNICEF − and UNICEF is really another story entirely.
The UN International Emergency Children’s Fund, as it was originally known, was founded in 1946 at the initiative of a Polish-Jewish pediatrician and Holocaust survivor. And it has become, over many years, an organization of global celebrities.
Its name is displayed on the jerseys of Barcelona soccer players − jerseys that are also worn by many Israeli children. Barcelona forward Lionel Messi is a goodwill ambassador for the organization, as are fellow soccer player David Beckham, Princess Caroline of Monaco, British actor Sir Roger Moore, Columbian pop musician Shakira, and even our own musician David Broza and actress Yona Elian. This is the charity club of choice for the international jet set.
The Israeli Zena Harman received a Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the organization in 1965. Over a year ago, a festive ceremony was held by Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, during which Israel signed onto the new Convention on the Rights of the Child proposed by the organization.
An Israeli representative was chosen this year to serve on UNICEF’s executive board for the first time in 40 years, in what was portrayed as a rare diplomatic accomplishment. Even Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes served as the honorary chair of the Israeli branch of UNICEF.
UNICEF is concerned with protecting the rights of the world’s children, ensuring that they have access to clean water, proper nutrition, a fitting education and the like. From time to time, it publishes frightening reports about the abuse faced by children in the darkest of regimes and the world’s worst failed states.
Now, UNICEF has published a report no less harsh, this time with respect to Israel’s treatment of Palestinian children. Now, you can no longer say it was because of anti-Semitism.
The photo of the walls of the Israeli Ofer Prison in the West Bank on the cover of the report, and the picture depicted in its pages, should evoke dread among every Israeli parent. Some 7,000 Palestinian children were arrested in the past decade, an average of 700 per year.
The report described the process by which this generally occurs: A large military force invades a home in the dead of night and rudely wakes up its occupants. After a violent search that sometimes includes the destruction of furniture, the young suspect is bound with hand restraints, their eyes are blindfolded and they are ripped from their shocked and frightened family.
The child is taken to a jeep and usually forced to sit on the floor of the vehicle. On the way to the detention facility, the child is sometimes struck by the soldiers’ fists and legs while they are tied up.
At the investigation facility, the child waits hours, sometimes even an entire day, without food or water and without access to a toilet. Their interrogation includes threats of death, sexual threats directed toward them and their family members, and sometimes also physical blows.
No lawyers or family members are present when any child is investigated, as is required by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the one signed with so much pomp and circumstance at the education minister’s office.
By the end of their interrogations, most of the children admit everything they are accused of − usually stone-throwing. They sign confessions written in Hebrew, even when they have no idea what these “confessions” say.
Afterward, the child is sent to solitary confinement for a period that can sometimes last as long as a month. They are treated in a manner that is “cruel” and “inhuman,” according to the UNICEF report.
The child first meets their lawyer at the juvenile military court, and their remand is likely to be extended up to a period of 188 days, in violation of international standards. In contravention of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that detention must be a last resort, there is practically no chance of release on bail for children facing charges.
Then the punishment comes, usually a draconian one. Two of the prisons in which these children are incarcerated are located within Israel, in contravention of the Geneva Convention, which makes it very difficult for the children’s family members to visit them, also in violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized. It is understood that in no other country are children systematically tried by juvenile military courts that, by definition, fall short of providing the necessary guarantees to ensure respect for their rights, the UNICEF report states.
All of this occurs in a country where children are considered a source of joy, where concern for their well-being is of the highest priority. All of this occurs in your country, a short hour from your children’s bedrooms.
A Palestinian was arrested last week for allegedly throwing stones and is being held in an Israeli jail, a mundane and daily occurrence in the occupied West Bank. But this case has made headlines–and it’s because the Palestinian is a 14-year-old who also has American citizenship.
New Orleans-born Mohammed Khalek was taken from his home last week by eight rifle-toting Israeli soldiers. He’s accused of throwing stones at Israeli cars near Silwad, northeast of Ramallah. Khalek has yet to be charged, and his detention has been extended until April 14. Addameer advocacy officer Randa Wahbe toldHaaretz that Khlaek “was told by interrogators that if he confessed to rock throwing quickly, he would be released.”
Khalek’s case has garnered coverage in the Associated Press and Reuters.The media outlets are highlighting how Khalek’s case is an example of Palestinian children routinely being locked up in Israeli military jails.
Reuters’ Noah Browning reports that Khalek appeared in jail with “his ankles shackled together just above his running shoes.” Browning also reports that the boy’s father, Abdulwahab Khalek, said that Mohammed “was maltreated and had his braces broken from his teeth during the course of his arrest in the early hours of April 5.”
“The Israeli military’s treatment of Mohammed Khalak is appalling and all too common,” Human Rights Watch’s Bill Van Esveld told Reuters. “There’s no justification for … shackling him for 12 hours and interrogating him while refusing to let him see his father or a lawyer.”
The Associated Press story notes that a United Nations report recently castigated the Israeli military for its abuses of the rights of Palestinian children. 700 Palestinian children a year are arrested by the Israeli military, according to UNICEF. Here’s more from the report:
Ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized…
The pattern of ill-treatment includes the arrests of children at their homes between midnight and 5:00 am by heavily armed soldiers; the practice of blindfolding children and tying their hands with plastic ties; physical and verbal abuse during transfer to an interrogation site, including the use of painful restraints; lack of access to water, food, toilet facilities and medical care; interrogation using physical violence and threats; coerced confessions; and lack of access to lawyers or family members during interrogation.
Treatment inconsistent with child rights continues during court appearances, including shackling of children; denial of bail and imposition of custodial sentences; and transfer of children outside occupied Palestinian territory to serve their sentences inside Israel. The incarceration isolates them from their families and interrupts their studies.
These practices are in violation of international law that protects all children against ill-treatment when in contact with law enforcement, military and judicial institutions.
The boy’s father lashed out at the American government’s response to his son’s arrest in an interview with Reuters. “The U.S. government is obligated to do something for us, but it doesn’t even care. They’ve lost the issue somewhere in their back pocket,” he told the news outlet.
The indifference is to be expected. American citizens mistreated by the Israeli military are denied adequate help by the U.S. government. For instance, the U.S. government waited three days to contact the family of Furkan Dogan, who was executed at point-blank range on board the Mavi Marmara, the aid ship part of the 2010 flotilla trying to break the blockade of Gaza. Dogan was a U.S. citizen of Turkish descent. The U.S. declined to investigate the death of Dogan, preferring to allow Israel to do so itself.
We couldn’t help ourselves: The sight of the young, newly released detainee drove us into a paroxysm of laughter. But the laughter quickly morphed into sad embarrassment. The detainee was a boy of 8, in second grade. When we met him this week, on the streets of Hebron, he was on his way to his grandfather’s home. He wore a red sweatshirt emblazoned with an image of Mickey Mouse, and he had a shy smile. His mom had sent him to take something to Grandpa. Eight-year-old Ahmed Abu Rimaileh was not the youngest of the children, schoolbags on their backs, that Israel Defense Forces soldiers took into custody early on Wednesday, last week: His friend, Abdel Rahim, who was arrested with him, is only 7, and in first grade.
Twenty-seven Palestinian children never made it to school on that particular day. IDF troops lay in ambush for them from the early morning hours on the streets of the Hebron neighborhoods that are under the army’s control, and arrested them indiscriminately. Only after they were in custody did the Israeli security forces examine the video footage they had in their possession, to see which of the youngsters had thrown stones at Checkpoint No. 160 earlier that morning, which separates their neighborhood from the settlers’ quarter of the city. It was here, a few weeks ago, that IDF soldiers shot and killed a teenager, Mohammed Suleima, who was holding a pistol-shaped lighter.
Most of the young children were released within a few hours. The older ones were kept in detention for a few days, before being released on bail. One adult, who tried forcefully to prevent the arrest of a colleague’s son, was brought to trial this week.
The fact that 18 of the children were under the age of 12, the age of criminal responsibility according to the 1971 Israeli Youth Law (Adjudication, Punishment and Methods of Treatment ), was apparently of no interest to the IDF, the Israel Police or the Border Police. Nor was the severe report issued just two weeks earlier by the United Nations Children’s Fund, which condemned Israel for arresting some 7,000 Palestinian children in the past decade.
“Ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized,” the UNICEF report stated, and added, “In no other country are children systematically tried by juvenile military courts.”
The Youth Law forbids the arrest of children under the age of 12. It also appears that the provision stipulating that older children must not be interrogated without the presence of their parents and their lawyer does not apply to Palestinian children.
A volunteer from the International Solidarity Movement, a pro-Palestinian activist group, who documented with a video camera the operation in which the children were arrested, forwarded the footage to B’Tselem: The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, and B’Tselem gave it to us. (The video can be viewed on the B’Tselem website and on YouTube.) One soldier is seen spitting crudely on the ground, another actually carries the schoolbag of his little detainee – as though he were a babysitter who had come to escort the child home from school. The amateur photographer from the ISM was deported from Israel that same day, after she also had the temerity to take part in a demonstration in Hebron against the visit of President Barack Obama.
Indeed, the mass arrest of the youngsters took place on March 20, the day Obama arrived in Israel, and the day before he made his remarks about Palestinian children in Jerusalem. “Put yourselves in the Palestinians’ shoes,” the president told the Israelis.
From early that same morning, Palestinian residents of Hebron noticed dozens of Israeli soldiers taking up positions in the streets and on rooftops in the neighborhood. One frightened resident called B’Tselem fieldworker Manal al-Jaabari, to ask what was going on.
Divided by age
For his part, Ahmed Abu Rimaileh woke up at 7 that morning and, with the NIS 2 he received from his mother as pocket money, set out for school; sometimes he gets NIS 1.5, sometimes 2. He attends the Hadija Elementary School down the street. Adjacent to it are three other schools that are part of an educational complex, which is located a few hundred meters from the checkpoint.
His father, Yakub, is a construction worker. His mother, Hala, is now sitting with us in their home. On the way to school, Ahmed says he stopped at the corner grocery store and bought a packet of cookies for NIS 1, and kept the other shekel for recess. As he was about to leave the store, he relates, seven or eight other children suddenly came running in, some his age, some older. Hard on their heels were soldiers, who arrested all the children in the store.
One soldier ordered Ahmed to put the cookies in his schoolbag before grabbing him by the shoulder and hauling him toward the checkpoint. Ahmed says he was very scared. He also admits that he cried, though only a little. At the checkpoint, he and all the other detained youngsters were thrust into an army vehicle – 27 children in one vehicle, some sitting, some standing, according to Ahmed’s description.
There were three soldiers with them in the vehicle. Some of the children were crying, and the soldiers told them to be quiet. One child was hit, Ahmed says. They were all taken to the nearby Israeli police station, next to the Tomb of the Patriarchs, where they were told to sit on the ground, in a closed courtyard. The children above age 12 were separated from the younger ones and taken to the police station in Kiryat Arba and afterward to Ofer Prison, north of Jerusalem.
Ahmed Burkan, 13, was not released until the evening. Malik Srahana, also 13, was held in custody for three days at Ofer Prison before being released on NIS 2,000 bail. B’Tselem fieldworker Musa Abu Hashhash, who met with him immediately after his release, says the teenager showed signs of trauma.
According to a report transmitted by the International Red Cross to B’Tselem, 18 of the detained children were under the age of 12. They were kept in the courtyard, with a policeman guarding them for almost two hours. No one offered them food or water.
Children asked to go to the bathroom but were forbidden to do so, Ahmed recalls. The policeman asked who among them had thrown stones, but no one confessed. He then asked if they knew which children had thrown the stones and they named two of the older ones, who had been arrested and separated from them.
After a time, three jeeps arrived and took the younger group to Checkpoint 56, next to the settler neighborhood of Tel Rumeida. There the children were met by three Palestinian police “security coordination” jeeps, which took them to their police station. The Palestinian police gave them food and asked all those who had thrown stones to raise their hand. All the hands went up.
The parents were called to come to the station to collect the children. Ahmed’s parents and those of four other youngsters did not show up. Those five children were driven home in a car of the Palestinian Ministry of Education. Their worried parents were waiting for them.
Hala says she is not angry at her son. She only asked him not to cry the next time he is arrested by soldiers. “We are used to it,” she says, adding that her son had a dream about the arrest that night.
The IDF Spokesman’s Office provided the following statement in response to a query from Haaretz: “Last Wednesday, March 20, 2013, Palestinian minors threw stones at a force that was manning the checkpoint in Hebron. An IDF force that waited in ambush close to the site caught the stone-throwers in action. The Palestinian minors were detained on the spot, and seven of them, who are above the age of 12, were taken for interrogation by the Israel Police. As the Israel Police interrogated the minors, the question about the non-presence of a parent/lawyer during the interrogation should be addressed to them.”
The day after the incident, Ahmed did not want to go to school, but was persuaded by his parents to do so. For one day he was a hero among the children: Ahmed, the released detainee. He did not enter the classroom that day, staying instead in the principal’s office. He wants to be a doctor when he grows up, like a few others in his extended family, he tells us. His mother says he is a good student and a good boy.
Ahmed has seven brothers and sisters. The five boys sleep in one room, on two beds and on mattresses on the floor. There is an old computer in the room, which is turned off; they do not have an Internet connection. Out in the street a young peddler, of the same age as Ahmed, can be heard hawking his wares. After school the boy sells halabi, a sweet homemade pastry oozing with oil, for half a shekel.
The Electronic Intifada has captured even more horrifyingly racist and violent statements by Israeli soldiers on Facebook targeting Palestinian children as part of our effort to document this widespread phenomenon.
On the day US President Barack Obama arrived for his Israel visit last week, Israeli occupation forces in Hebron violently seized and detained dozens of Palestinian children, some aged as young as eight, on their way to school.
The harrowing video, above, of the Israeli army attack on the children went viral on YouTube.
B’Tselem, the Israeli organization that documents and criticizes some of Israel’s human rights abuses and which posted the video, condemned the mass arrest of the children as “unlawful” and said that some of the children had been taken to interrogation centers wheresevere and systematic abuses, including holding children in solitary confinement and harsh interrogation without parents or lawyers present is the norm.
In previous cases, Palestinian children have testified that under such conditions they have been forced to confess by Israeli interrogators to false charges of throwing rocks or molotov cocktails and pressed to inform on friends and family.
Givati Brigade’s Yoni Gordon thinks Palestinian child should be put on his knees and shot in the mouth (Source).
When the video of the children’s arrest was posted on the popular Israeli Facebook page “We are all in favor of death to terrorists,” a hotbed of racist incitement, it provided an opportunity for dozens of Israelis, once again, to express horrifyingly violent views (Screenshot of all the comments in context).
Some of those posting comments were Israeli soldiers. Here are a few that indicate the mindset of these soldiers:
Kfir Brigade’s Oren Degani, seen with a child, thinks Palestinian children are “little shits” (Source).
Oren Degani whose Facebook profile contains information suggesting he is a member of the “Black Scorpions” unit of the Israeli army’s Kfir Brigade, clearly believes the Palestinian children deserve such treatment and that they are all presumed guilty. He wrote under the video:
They pretend to be innocent saints who did nothing. I know this from my reserve duty. They throw a firebomb and when you catch them they cry and swear on Muhammad that they didn’t do anything … little shits.
Corporal Ari Ben Reuven’s profile image includes the motto “The road to peace is paved with telescopic gunsights” and “Let the army mow [them] down! (Source).
I’d break every one of his bones
More violence is needed. Where are the clubs to break their legs?
Yoni Gordon, a member of the Givati Brigade had simple advice for how to deal with a Palestinian child:
Put him on his knees and shoot a bullet into his mouth.
Avisaf Hillel, whose Facebook profile says he attends “Ariel University,” a settler institution in the occupied West Bank, and is a die-hard supporter of Israel’s Beitar Jerusalemfootball club whose fans are notorious for their racist mob rampages, looked back fondly and with a touch of sarcasm on his time in the army when he was mistreating Palestinian children:
How I miss those days!!! But during my time in regular military service, they couldn’t get a peep out of their mouth!! We took care of them real well!!
Another of those defending and justifying the soldiers’ brutality seen in the video was the Jewish Agency’s social media propandist Avi Mayer – himself an American volunteer in the Israeli army.
In a series of tweets, Mayer, a former Israeli army spokesman, suggested that accusations leveled against the children by the Israeli occupation army should be taken as incontrovertible truth that the children were criminals who deserved such shocking treatment and that Palestinian children should be viewed as guilty until proven innocent of whatever the Israeli army accuses them.
With thanks to Dena Shunra for additional research.
The Wadi Hilweh Information Center, in Silwan, in occupied East Jerusalem, reported that Israeli soldiers violently attacked and arrested several Palestinians playing with snow, in Sheikh Jarrah, in occupied Jerusalem, amidst the current snowfall that is covering nearly every part of Palestine. Extremist settlers, who gathered in the area shouted slogans against the Arabs and the Palestinians.
The clashes took place when a number of extremist Israeli settlers started throwing rocks at the local Palestinian youths who were playing with the snow, and started shouting and cursing at them, while chanting racist slogans against the Arabs and the Muslims.
The Center said that the current situation in the area is tensed as dozens of settlers and soldiers are still in the streets, and that the Palestinians were forcibly removed.
Several members of the Israeli Internal Security were also deployed in the area ordering the local Palestinians to leave; the extremist Israeli settlers were not ordered to leave, the center added.
Silwan is directly impacted by Israel’s illegal settlement activities, while Israeli soldiers repeatedly attacked and kidnapped dozens of residents, including children. Extremist settlers are also responsible for dozens of attacks against the residents, their homes and property.
The Wadi Hilweh Center recently reported that Israeli soldiers and policemen kidnapped in the last 6 months more than 350 Palestinians in Jerusalem, including dozens of youth and children, and 13 women.
The arrests were mainly made in Silwan, Al-Esawiyya, Shufat refugee camp, the Old city, Al-Sawane, and Beit Hanina.
Most of the kidnapped Palestinians were released after being order to pay fines that ranged between 500 New Israeli Shekels (NIS) to 2000 NIS. In the same timeframe, Israel demolished on average 4 Palestinian homes per month.
The voices of Gaza’s children
Children in Gaza describe living under Israeli siege and attacks as worse than being in prison.
UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said that recent fighting will result in “deep trauma” for Gaza’s youth [Reuters]
BEIT LAHIYA, GAZA - The only protection the Awajaa family has against the Israeli rockets is a thin tarpaulin, stretched out over a small plot of land.
The tent, where they have been living on and off since their house was turned to rubble in the 2008-09 Israeli war on Gaza, is one of the first houses on the border, located a mere few hundred metres away from Israel.
“We are the first people to be attacked, and we are the people who can’t escape, as it is just empty lands around us,” said 15-year-old Omsiyat, the eldest of seven children.
Omsiyat considers her family and neighbours also to be victims of Israeli aggression, as their proximity to the border forces them to be one of the most vulnerable targets of attacks.
“This is not a victory, because [the Israelis] are destroying Gaza,” she said. “Yes, we scared them, but they still inflicted damage on us. This is not how we have a victory.
“We did not get two centimetres from Israel. How is this a victory?”
‘I don’t want to die’
The Israeli attacks on Gaza, which lasted eight days and came to an end with an Israeli-instigated ceasefire on Wednesday evening, killed a total of 162 Palestinians, including more than 40 children.
In Omsiyat’s opinion, the armed resistance, while having made some achievements, also put civilians in a very dangerous situation, making them the largest casualties of the war.
“I don’t want to die, and I don’t want anyone else to die, and there is a strong possibility we can be killed.”
While Gaza is often described as an open-air prison due to the crippling siege imposed by Israel, she says the word “prison” is not enough.
“If there was a stronger word than prison, then this is where we are. In a prison you can move around, here you cannot,” she said.
“If you are in a prison, you do not get bombed. Here we are in a prison and we get bombed.”
Awajaa, Omsiyat’s mother, described how her children would clamber on top of her as the missiles fell around them, too afraid to sleep. Four-year-old Zakriyat would cry all the time, insisting her parents lie next to her.
Ten-year-old Hala spent most of the time under a blanket. Three-year-old Layali would be too afraid to move from the bed to the kitchen for food. Six-year-old Diaa, who suffers from hearing and speech problems as a result of the 2008-09 war, has started wetting the bed.
“Diaa keeps asking if the new home we get will be bombed,” she said. “He keeps asking us to tell the Israelis not to hit our new home.”
‘They were more scared’
For 11-year-old Khadra Al Daaour and her five siblings, the fear and sleepless nights were bearable, knowing the Israelis were more afraid than they were.
“We tried to make ourselves calm, we would draw, we would write, we would make our mother tell us funny stories,” she said. “Of course we were scared, but the Israelis were more scared.
“This makes us feel stronger, and pushes us forward.”
Her 13-year-old sister Sana was keen to point out the situation for the children of Gaza is unique in comparison with children elsewhere in the world. For her, they are forced to mature beyond their years.
“We are older than our age because we have to take care of each other in these situations,” she said, explaining that despite this fact, there are still psychological issues as a result.
“There are definitely psychological consequences to what has been happening to us.”
“Some of my friends get so stressed because of the situation, they don’t stop talking until they’ve completely emptied their thoughts. They just want to get rid of everything inside,” she described. “Others stop talking altogether.”
For Khadra, the best distraction is to write and to draw. “I write poems, and I draw,” she said. “Tanks, planes in the sky, children escaping, our resistance carrying guns, these are all things we draw.”
“Right now, we’re making fun of the fact the Israelis were more scared than us,” she said, giggling.
An abnormal situation
Mustafa El Masri, a psychiatrist who works with the World Health Organisation, said in such hostile and abnormal situations, it is important for parents and teachers to keep talking to the children, explain to them what is going on, and listen to what they have to say.
“Depending on the age of the child, parents need to explain what is going on in very honest terms, and to correct misconceptions rather than impose certain views,” he said.
“The culture here is very advanced in the concepts of liberation, self-determination, and right to exist … therefore, the more parents are aware of this, and transmitting this to their children, the more the children understand and can remain calm.”
There are two stages of reaction after such hostilities; the biological, which focuses on self-preservation, and the “meaning-making” stage, where children attempt to digest and understand what has happened, what their role is, and why they are in such a place.
“At the moment, what we see is a ‘normal’ reaction towards the war, such as the inability to sleep, being afraid, and apprehensive,” El Masri said. “If this persists beyond the shock stage, then it needs to be looked into professionally.”
For him, the most important is that parents do not lie to their children, as this is the moment when children are attempting to build their own concepts and values.
“Children in Gaza are not naïve like children in other countries,” he said. “They are very politically aware. Parents should listen to them and answer their questions, no matter how difficult.”
He was keen to point out that having open discussions with children does not equate to normalising conflict and war.
“It is not normal that a person, with his children, be targeted by bombs and simply vanish,” he said. “But it is normal to learn how to prevent it. What we are doing here is coping with an abnormal situation.”
Omsiyat, who wants to be a journalist when she grows up, knows the experiences they have shared among themselves as children will remain with them forever.
“We think and we talk about everything else in the world, but the one thing that connects us all together is war,” she said.
Thirteen-year-old Muhammad Abu Daqqa vividly recalls the moment his friend and cousin Ahmad Abu Daqqa was killed outside his southeast Gaza home while they were playing football last Thursday afternoon.
“Suddenly, Ahmad fell on the ground and I was surprised to see him sort of bleeding right beneath his heart. An Israeli helicopter was buzzing overhead and other Israeli military jeeps and tanks were seen near the border line,” Muhammad explained.
According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), the life of the football-obsessed 13-year-old was cut short when a bullet fired by Israeli soldiers stationed nearby hit him in the stomach (“New Israeli escalation against the Gaza Strip,” 11 November).
Ahmad Abu Daqqa was born and raised in Abbasan al-Kabira town, a rural area east of Khan Younis. The boy is one of several Gaza children who have been killed by Israeli fire in recent days; two teen cousins, 16-year-old Muhammad Harara and 17-year-old Ahmad Harara, were also killed by Israeli fire while playing football near Gaza City on Saturday, according to PCHR.
Ahmad Abu Daqqa’s mother, who goes by Um Bilal, was at the home a relative to greet pilgrims who had recently returned from Mecca when her son was killed. She learned that a member of her family was shot through the news broadcast on a TV in the home she was visiting.
In a lowered voice, Um Bilal said through her tears, “The broadcaster announced the news, and at that moment my nephew screamed. … At this moment I felt my heart was taken out of me and I rushed to verify the news, as I had a feeling it was my son Ahmad.
“I went to the hospital directly to find my husband Abu Bilal holding Ahmad in his arms. It was such a horrible, heartbreaking moment, and I burst into sobs,” she said.
The grieving mother sighed, and recalled how her active son was known for helping not only his immediate family but his extended family as well.
“His aunts and others in the family used to always ask Ahmad for help — such as getting something from a grocer, or bringing water. Ahmad was my eye with which I see, Ahmad was my hand with which I create things, Ahmad was my leg with which I walk,” Um Bilal said, as her eight-year-old daughter Noor sat beside her.
“He was so helpful — to the extent that once he asked me to teach him how to cook for his eldest sister, Taghreed, who is a university student and spends much of her time studying,” Um Bilal added.
Noor proudly displayed a poster of her slain older brother and recalled watching Tom and Jerry with Ahmad, who was devoted to the Real Madrid football club.
Older sister Taghreed, who studies chemistry, said that Ahmad excelled at school and dreamed of becoming a computer engineer. Ahmad was a friend as well as a brother and would escort her on family visits or to the nearby market and help her with anything related to the computer, she explained.
Ahmad’s father, Younis Abu Daqqa or Abu Bilal, had just returned from the European Gaza Hospital where he works on the administrative staff. Abu Bilal, who is in his late fifties, couldn’t hold back as he recalled his son with a shaking voice.
“Ahmad was a part of me,” Abu Bilal said, surrounded by neighbors who had come to support the grieving family. “But I want to only say, I thank God for this and may he rest in peace with the angels. May God take revenge upon them [the Israeli soldiers]. What did my son do to deserve to be killed by them? Was his ball that he was playing with a rocket or a machine gun?”
Since the death of Ahmad Abu Daqqa, approximately twenty other Palestinians have been killed in increasing Israeli military aggression against the Gaza Strip, where the civilian population has nowhere to flee.
Israel ended an effective truce with armed groups in Gaza yesterday when it extrajudicially executed Hamas military commander Ahmed al-Jabari. Israel says its military activity in Gaza is aimed at stopping crude rocket fire in Gaza. Between the beginning of the year through 6 November, 71 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in Gaza while 19 Israelis were injured by Palestinian fire from Gaza and none killed, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (“Protection of civilians weekly report”).
Back at the Abu Daqqa family home, Taghreed had the following message for Israel: “Do whatever you want, kill whoever you want; you should know that you are strangers on this land and one day you will go away.”
Rami Almeghari is a journalist and university lecturer based in the Gaza Strip.
Brothers Tareq Jamal Naser, 16, and Oday Jamal Nasser, 14, as well as Fares al-Bassiouni were killed when Israel bombed their home in Beit Hanoun, the ministry said.
The brothers’ father and three children were among six injured in the explosion. Witnesses said a fire broke out affecting a nearby mosque after the bombing.
Israel’s army said it had hit around 70 rocket-launching sites in the course of an hour on Thursday evening, as deadly violence continued since Israel assassinated a Hamas commander on Wednesday.
The aerial bombardment set off earth-shaking thuds and fireballs in the dark sky and were met with screeches of Palestinian rocket fire launched from the outskirts of Gaza City towards southern Israel.
One of the sites targeted by Israel was an electricity generator that supplied the house of Hamas’s prime minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh. It was unclear whether he was at home at the time.
Witnesses told Ma’an violent explosions across Gaza City’s Sheikh Radwan neighborhood set a high-rise building ablaze, with flames lighting Gaza’s sky. Several injured, including women, were brought to Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital, a Ma’an correspondent said.
Airstrikes also hit an open area east of Gaza City, and four areas near Rafah in south Gaza.
Witnesses said Israeli planes hit the marine police headquarters in Deir al-Balah, which has been destroyed repeatedly in Israeli airstrikes. Sites in Khan Younis were also hit.
This post originally appeared on Malaka Mohammed’s blog yesterday.
Gaza is now witnessing difficult moments! I live at Shijaeya, to the east of Gaza City. My region would be the first to be hit in any Israeli invasion. 3 days ago, 6 civilians were murdered and around 40 were injured in my region. Today, the same numbers were murdered but it seems the injuries will be more.
I had 2 sleepless nights lacking the ability to focus, study, or even sleep. At 2:00 am last night, I was still up relaxing after my little sisters had managed to go to sleep. Half an hour after sleeping, a house was targeted in the street where I live.
At that moment, my little 8-year-old sister woke up and started running and screaming “mama, mama, mama!”
Hugging and trying to calm her down, “Be strong!” I said
Just minutes ago, What I have just witnessed in my own eyes is indescribable! 2 martyrs, a river of blood, people crowding and running everywhere, ambulances, press, & the red is the color! One of the girls who was with me seeing the Israeli rocket when it hit next to us became speechless! She could neither speak nor walk! Trying to calm her down, I was helping her to walk and I was hoping to calm her by saying the only thing that came to my mind: “this is our fate; we should be as steadfast as we can. Palestine needs sacrifice to be free”
It was a long way and she was still unable to speak. We had to stop many times because she couldn’t walk and her body was shaking uncontrollably. It was so difficult to find a car so that we could reach her home quickly. Every five minutes, we heard a new bomb which made her shout in the street.
The way she is standing speechlessly, how her body is shaking led me to cry from inside. I pray on my every step that we can reach home and she can speak again. After walking for half an hour, we found a car.
The girl was still crying and hugging me. Her face is still on my mind. Remembering her, I can’t but cry! We finally reached her home. She saw her mother, hugging her, starting crying and shouting, “this is unfair.”
The moment I was in the car to my home to the east of Gaza City border, 5 new bombs were hitting places just by the border! I reached my house and I see my little sister crying! My God, what I should do in this situation except being steadfast! We will never give up.
October 7, 2012 at 09:38 (Collective Punishment, Ethnic Cleansing, Hasbara, Israel, Just Plain Disgusting, Occupation, Oppression, Palestine, Rights of The Child, Soldier Brutality, zionist harassment)
The brief clip shows a boy being dragged by black-clad occupation soldiers. As the boy screams “khalas” – “enough” or “stop” – the soldiers throw him to the ground. One soldier punches the boy in the side of the head, smashing his head into the stone floor.
The video was posted on the YouTube account of QNN, a Palestinian news group that operates on Facebook. QNN identified the child as Hasan al-Afifi of the Bab al-Hadid area of the Old City of Jerusalem. The videographer is identified as Amjad Arafa.
On its Arabic website, Wafa, the official Palestinian news agency reported:
Israeli occupation forces arrested, today Friday, the Jerusalemite teenager Hasan Afif Hasan al-Afifi (age 17), of Bab al-Hadid in the Old City, after they attacked him. Al-Afifi’s mother told Wafa that her son was arrested during the violent confrontations that occurred at the Al-Aqsa mosque today, and that her son was nowhere near the mosque and did not participate in any activities.
She stated that 15 members of Israel’s special forces attacked her son as he stood outside his house and beat him violently until his blood ran on the ground, and they sprayed her with gas as she tried to defend her son which led to her passing out. She indicated that her son was transferred to the Russian Compound interrogation and detention center in West Jerusalem.
Palestinian children in Jerusalem are frequently targeted by Israeli occupation forces. Some 700 are arrested and detained annually in the city alone and are routinely subjected to cruel, violent and illegal abuses.
Israeli occupation forces claimed they stormed the area to break up protests. Earlier,Ma’an News Agency reported:
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) – Israeli police hurled stun grenades to disperse dozens of protesters who threw stones outside the al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, after Friday prayers.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told Ma’an that police entered the compound and fired stun grenades after rocks were thrown at officers at Mughrabi gate.
The report noted that:
Tensions flared this week after police arrested Israeli ultranationalists who tried to hold prayers at the compound, known by Jews as the Temple Mount, as the site of two biblical temples.
Twitter user @BDS4Justice, who visits Al-Aqsa mosque regularly, witnessed, livetweeted and photographed what happened:
Said Ali Qabalawi, 14, was subjected to a violent assault by Israeli troops in the town of Abu Dis, as he found himself in the wrong place while out buying milk for his baby sister.
At about 9 p.m., Said says, he left a pharmacy that had run out of milk and began walking to another one further down the road. Soon, he was surrounded by Israeli troops clashing with residents.
“The soldiers surrounded me, so I ran away jumping off a high wall. I couldn’t continue to run after the jump, and at that point I was caught. The soldiers attacked me brutally hitting me with rifle butts, kicking me and tearing my clothes off. I had no idea why they were beating me,” he told Ma’an.
One of the soldiers dragged the 14-year-old on the ground and he was taken to a nearby military base. At the base, they continued to beat the young man and accused him of throwing stones, which Said denies.
“Some of the soldiers spat on me and insulted me verbally. They also hit me on the stomach, and I have recently underwent a surgery in the intestine so the punches hurt me,” he added.
Four hours later, Said was taken to a police station in Maale Addumim settlement near Abu Dis where he was interrogated for six hours. He was then released on a bail of 500 shekels ($124) and he was told he would attend a court hearing on Jan. 30, 2013.
An Israeli police spokesman referred inquiries to the military, and an army spokeswoman did not immediately return calls.
More than 30 former Israeli soldiers have disclosed their experiences of the treatment of Palestinian children during military operations and arrests, pointing to a pattern of abuse.
A booklet of testimonies, published by Breaking the Silence, an organisation of former Israeli soldiers dedicated to publicising the day-to-day actions of the army in the occupied territories, contains descriptions of beatings, intimidation, humiliation, verbal abuse, night-time arrests and injury. Most of the children had been suspected of stone-throwing.
The witness statements were gathered to show the “common reality” of acts of violence by soldiers towards Palestinians, including children, in the West Bank, said Yehuda Shaul of Breaking the Silence. “Sadly enough this is the moral consequence of prolonged occupation of the Palestinian people,” he said.
One former soldier describes serving in Hebron in 2010: “You never know their names, you never talk with them, they always cry, shit in their pants … There are those annoying moments when you’re on an arrest mission, and there’s no room in the police station, so you just take the kid back with you, blindfold him, put him in a room and wait for the police to come and pick him up in the morning. He sits there like a dog …”
Children frequently soiled themselves, according to the testimonies. “I remember hearing him shitting his pants … I also remember some other time when someone pissed in his pants. I just became so indifferent to it, I couldn’t care less. I heard him do it, I witnessed his embarrassment. I also smelled it. But I didn’t care,” said another.
Another soldier describes an incident in Qalqiliya in 2007 in which a boy was arrested for throwing stones. “At the end of the day, something has to make these kids stop throwing stones on the road because they can kill,” he said.
“That specific kid who actually lay there on the ground, begging for his life, was actually nine years oldI mean, a kid has to beg for his life? A loaded gun is pointed at him and he has to plead for mercy? This is something that scars him for life. But I think if we hadn’t entered the village at that point, then stones would be thrown the next day and perhaps the next time someone would be wounded or killed as a result.”
Some of the statements illustrate the disjunction between the Israeli military and Palestinians. One soldier said: “You put up a checkpoint out of boredom, sit there for a few hours and then continue on. Once I saw kids passing, and one of the guys, a reservist who spoke Arabic, wanted to ask them what they study. He didn’t mean it in any bad way. Then I saw how the kid nearly peed his pants as the guy tried to kid with him, how the two worlds are simply disconnected. The guy was kidding and the kid was scared to death.”
Most of the soldiers have given testimonies anonymously. One, who spoke to the Guardian, said he had been given no guidance during his training for military service on how to deal with minors. He said children were sometimes arrested and interrogated, not because they were suspected of an offence, but to try to elicit information about older family members or neighbours.
He had given a witness statement to Breaking the Silence because “I thought that people who don’t see this on an everyday basis should know what’s going on.” He said many Israelis were unwilling to acknowledge the reality of the military occupation in the West Bank. “It’s very easy [for the Israeli public] to be completely detached. It’s a hard thing to handle – stuff like that being done in your name.”
According to Gerard Horton of Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCI) the testimonies confirm a pattern of behaviour uncovered by his organisation’s research into the treatment of Palestinian children by the Israeli security forces.
DCI and other human rights organisations say Palestinian children are routinely arrested at night, handcuffed, blindfolded, mistreated and denied access to their parents or a lawyer.
“For years credible reports of human rights abuses against children living under Israeli military occupation have emerged,” he said. “These latest testimonies from young soldiers given the task of enforcing the occupation provide further evidence of its deeply corrosive effects on all. The testimonies lay bare the day-to-day reality of the occupation. These are not isolated incidents or a question of ‘a few bad apples’. This is the natural and foreseeable consequence of government policy.”
A spokesman for the Israeli Defence Forces said that Breaking the Silence had declined to provide the IDF with testimonies ahead of publication so they could be verified and investigated.
He said its true intention was “to generate negative publicity regarding the IDF and its soldiers. The IDF has in the past, and continues to, call upon the organisation to immediately convey complaints or suspicions of improper conduct to the relevant authorities. In line with the IDF’s ethical commitments, any such incidents will be thoroughly investigated.”
BREAKING THE SILENCE
Children and Youth -
Soldiers’ Testimonies 2005-2011
To view PDF Document click HERE
B’Tselem just released disturbing footage of a Border Police officer kicking a Palestinian child while another officer holds him on the streets of occupied Hebron. The video was shot last Friday June 29 by a B’Tselem activist, from the window of his house, adjacent to the Tomb of the Patriarchs. According to B’Tselem, the person started shooting the video upon noticing a border police officer hiding behind the wall.
The name of the child is Abed a-Rahman and he is only 9 years old. You can see the policeman at the start of the video appear, then disappear, and then reappear at about 1:22 when he runs to grab the child and says: “Why are you causing trouble?” As the policeman holds the crying boy, another policeman comes and kicks him. The child is then released and runs away and the policemen disperse. B’Tselem is filing a complaint against the two men with the Police Investigation Department.
UPDATE: Now that the video has been widely circulated and made it into mainstream Israel media, Border Police has responded with an official statement:
The Border Police denounces the policemen’s behavior, which contrasts the values of the force. It is important to note that this is a rare incident which does not represent the actions of the Border Police in Israel. The Border Police commander instructed on setting up a team to investigate the incident immediately and its conclusions are due in the coming days.
I will follow the story and see if in fact the Border Police provides “conclusions.”
Shhhhh ….. did you hear the PA issue a protest? I DIDN’T!