- Israel is an equal opportunity abuser, treating women,
old men, invalids, and children like young adults because they're Palestinians,
not Jews, so they're fair game, vilified as national security threats or
terrorists for wanting freedom, equality, justice and peace.
- Numerous previous articles discussed it, several specifically
on children, accessed through the following links:
- Defence for Children International (DCI) Palestine "is
a national section of the international non-government child rights organisation
and movement (dedicated to) promoting and protecting the rights of Palestinian
children," according to international law principles.
- Each year, hundreds, under 18, are arrested, detained,
interrogated, tortured, and prosecuted, around 6,500 since 2000 alone.
- In June 2009, DCI/Palestine's report titled, "Palestinian
Child Prisoners," documented their systematic, institutionalized torture
and abuse, including testimonies providing chilling evidence, including
from Mahmoud speaking for others saying:
- "I went from having a normal life at home to handcuffs,
deprivation of sleep, shouting, threats, rounds of interrogation, serious
accusations," beatings and other abuse. As a result, "life (is
now) dark, filled with fear and pessimism - tough days that words cannot
- On January 6, DCI/Palestine issued an "urgent appeal
(for the) children of Silwan," an Arab village adjacent to Jerusalem's
Old City, one of 28 such communities incorporated into the city.
- Evidence of serious forms of abuse were documented. In
2010, sharp increases in child arrests occurred. According to Israeli police
data, 1,267 criminal files were opened between November 2009 and October
2010, accusing children of throwing stones, based solely on unconfirmed
- On November 24, 2010, 60 prominent Israeli professionals,
including educators, authors, psychiatrists and psychologists, social workers,
and children's rights specialists wrote Prime Minister Netanyahu and other
top officials saying:
- "....children and teenagers related that they had
been dragged out of their beds in the middle of the night or arrested in
their neighborhoods by undercover detectives and special security forces;
taken in for questioning while handcuffed and unescorted by their parents;
in certain cases, the families were not notified of the arrest in real
time; minors were asked to give names and incriminate friends and relatives
as a condition of their release; were threatened and humiliated by their
interrogators; and some were even subjected to physical violence while
taken in for questioning and under interrogation."
- DCI/Palestine investigated 24 cases, collecting 18 sworn
affidavits, 15 from children, aged seven to 17. Specific violations included:
- -- detaining, interrogating, and abusing children as
young as seven; yet under Israeli law, they're not criminally liable and
must be released;
- -- 76% reported violence during arrest, transfer and/or
interrogation, including punching, slapping, kicking, beating with rifle
butts, and in one case, throwing a pen at a child's head during questioning;
- -- 61% reported painful hand ties, yet under section
10B of Israel's Youth Law relating to trial, punishment and modes of treatment,
other methods should always be employed; restraints may only be used to
prevent escape of harm to others;
- -- 53% reported interrogations with no parent present;
under Israeli law, they're entitled to be there, except in special limited
- -- 53% reported threats during interrogation, suggesting
long imprisonments, various forms of abuse, and other forms of intimidation.
- Imagine, their alleged "crime" was stone-throwing,
not theft, vandalism, assault or murder, yet they were treated like dangerous
criminals, beaten, humiliated, isolated, and otherwise abused. One case
involved a seven-year old boy beaten by soldiers on his way to school.
He's now terrified to leave home.
- DCI/Palestine's December Bulletin commemorated the killing
of 352 children during Cast Lead, but regular violence never stops. Last
December, four more Gazan children were shot for being too close to Israel's
- On December 23, a 17-year old boy was shot in the head
while buying strawberries about 800 meters inside Gaza. On the same day,
another 17-year old boy was shot in the right elbow while collecting gravel
about 350 meters from Israel's border fence. On December 21, a 17-year
old was shot in his right leg collecting building materials about 400 meters
inside Gaza. Incidents like these occur regularly, nonviolent Palestinian
civilians, including children, attacked, abused and at times killed by
Israeli soldiers or police.
- Gaza remains a war zone, subjected to regular Israeli
incursions, drone and F-16 attacks, fishermen fired on at sea, farmers
attacked in their fields, and children shot while buying fruits and vegetable,
collecting gravel, wood, or other materials, grazing goats, or simply living
too close to Israel's border fence. Snipers in watchtowers use them for
- From March 26 through December 23, twenty-three shootings
were documented, willful crimes gone unpunished even though Israeli and
some Western media report them, none in America.
- Israeli repression devastated all Gazans, suffocating
under siege and reeling from Cast Lead's aftermath, especially those living
too close to Israel's border fence, in easy range of rogue snipers able
to pick them off with ease.
- In addition, reports from Gisha, the Palestinian Centre
for Human Rights (PCHR), Amnesty International, and other human rights
groups showed little improvement since Israel's announced siege easing
last June, besides regular documented instances of assaults, shootings
- Yet international law absolutely prohibits targeting
civilians and non-military facilities or infrastructure, regardless of
circumstances. Israel remains systemically in breach, criminally complicit
as a serial violator, flouting all legal principles with impunity.
- Life in Besieged Gaza
- "Gaza on the edge of no return," Amira Hass
headlined on January 6 in the New Statesman, saying:
- One mother, like others, fears Israeli drones may strike
anytime without warning, like Cast Lead's devastating onslaught. "In
Gaza slang," drones are called "zanana," three kinds a Hamas
official told her. "One watches over us and photographs every move,
every person; the second fires missiles at us....And the third kind? Its
whole purpose is to annoy us, to drive us crazy."
- Their use is central to Israeli intimidation and "process
of turning Gaza into a vast panopticon, a detention camp under constant
supervision and increasing invisible control."
- For days leading up to Cast Lead, Gazans noticed regular
humming. "They grew more anxious - and rightly so." Now every
sound scares them, "reawaken(ing) fears of another attack," and
small ones happen regularly. Gazans never know when Israel will next strike
full force, perhaps with intent to entirely destroy Gaza and kill thousands
of its residents. Some feel it's just a matter of time. Israeli leaders
commit unspeakable crimes, then lie calling them self-defense, including
when young children are shot.
- In a recent weekly Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
(PCHR) report, incidents, included:
- -- Israeli air strikes wounding three Gazan civilians;
- -- soldiers firing at Palestinian workers, farmers, and
fisherman in Gaza border areas;
- -- four Palestinian fishermen arrested, their boat confiscated;
- -- residences bombed and damaged;
- -- 30 West Bank incursions and one in Gaza, causing one
death, five injuries, and 28 arrests, including nine children, a PLC member
and one Israeli journalist;
- -- two East Jerusalem houses demolished; and
- -- continued settlement expansion, and settlers allowed
to attack Palestinian civilians and property freely.
- On January 9, Israeli bulldozers began demolishing the
old Shepherd Hotel compound in Sheikh Jarrah, to be replaced by 20 new
East Jerusalem homes for Jews - on stolen Palestinian land. Hatem Abdel,
overseeing Palestinian Jerusalem affairs, called the matter "extremely
dangerous." Abdel Qader said Israel is trying to "create (an
irreversible) belt of settlements," around East Jerusalem, one Palestinian
property demolition at a time until the entire city is Judaized.
- In 1967, after Israel annexed East Jerusalem, the hotel
was declared "absentee property," subject to confiscation. PA-appointed
mayor Adnan Husseini called destroying it an "act of barbarism."
His family claims ownership and went to court, challenging what led to
- After annexation, East Jerusalem residents struggled
to stay where their families lived for generations and they were born.
Many, however, were forced out, their status to remain revoked. Those there
aren't wanted in their own city, facing possible expulsion at the whim
of Israeli authorities, targeting all Palestinians for removal.
- In Occupied Palestine, the rule of law is null and void.
Israel rampages freely as it's done for over 43 years, terrifying millions
of residents wanting only to live free on their own land, regularly stolen
for settlements and other development, excluding unwanted Arabs.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
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