(Illustration by Nidal El-Khairy)
Testimonies collected by the rights groups reveal a pattern of children some as young as seven years old being arrested in late-night raids, handcuffed and interrogated for hours without either a parent or lawyer being present. In many cases, the children have reported physical violence or threats. Particularly troubling, are testimonies of children under the age of 12, the minimal age set by the law for criminal liability, who were taken in for questioning, and who were not spared rough and abusive interrogation.
It was taken on a Tuesday morning after Israeli authorities had completed another house raid. As the army and police were leaving, one police van stops and two border police officers jump out. 11-year-old Kareem Tamimi comes running into the frame, running towards his mother. The camerawoman begins shouting “Child! Child!” in Hebrew to the border police officers to no avail.
The border police officers capture the child, handling him as if he was a fully grown adult. Within seconds he is in the police van and on the way out of the village toward an undisclosed location. His mother’s cries as she slams her hands against the windows of police van are disregarded by the border police officers.
Kareem’s arrest was part of a strategy to apply as much pressure as possible on his 14-year-old brother Islam, who was arrested the previous day in a night raid, in order that Islam will deliver any script that his investigators wanted. The strategy worked, and Kareem was released later the same evening.
After this arrest happened, the army spokespersons unit alerted the media and twitter followers that another ‘wanted suspect’ was taken in for security questioning. They failed to mention that he was an 11-year-old child.
Tomorrow I will post another video from the current wave of military repression of Nabi Saleh. These videos, seldom seen in the mainstream media, give the Palestinian perspective on life under Israeli Occupation. This is the price that Palestinians pay if they refuse to be silent under Occupation.
“We have heard many testimonies from children who describe terrifying experiences of violence during both their arrest and their later interrogation.”
“One of the men grabbed me from behind and started choking me. The second grabbed my shirt and tore it from the back, and the third twisted my hands behind my back and tied them with plastic cords. ‘Who threw stones?’ one of them asked me. ‘I don’t know,’ I said. He started hitting me on the head and I shouted in pain.”
Jawad Siyam, a local community activist in Silwan, said the goal of the arrests and the increased settler activity was to “make life unbearable and push us out of the area”.
The 60 experts who wrote to Mr Netanyahu warned that the children’s abuse led to “post-traumatic stress disorders, such as nightmares, insomnia, bed-wetting, and constant fear of policemen and soldiers”. They also noted that children under extended house arrest were being denied the right to schooling.
Last year the United Nations Committee Against Torture expressed “deep concern” at Israel’s treatment of Palestinian minors, saying Israel was breaking the UN Convention on the Rights of Children, which it has signed.
Over the past 12 months, Defence for Children International has provided the UN with details of more than 100 children who claim they were physically or psychologically abused while in military custody.
Israel’s war on Jerusalem children: 1,200 arrested in one year-
Silwan’s Captive Children When home is jail-
Nabi Saleh. January 2011. Footage of the arrest of 11 year old Kareem Tamimi. He was detained for five hours and released by Israeli army officials. His brother, 14 year old Islam, was arrested the previous day and remains in jail. For more on the military repression of the popular struggle in the West Bank please visit The Popular Struggle Coordination Committee-