Asia-Pacific, Israel, Palestine, Human Rights, Politics

Israel’s Inhumane Arrests of Palestinian Minors

Never has a reality been this manipulated in the eyes of the world’s vast majority to influence the corruption of historic facts, merely to ensure one community benefited at the expense of another. Various accounts and multiple authentic resources share a story that most disregard as a myth in this day and age of manipulative media coverage.

Palestine Once Existed

Palestine; A land that has faced multiple existential crises during and post the Second World War. It has had much to bear witness to since the dates of 1946 leading up to today.

Illan Pappé, a well-known, highly respected Israeli historian and senior lecturer at Haifa University, has referenced, in multiple writings, a quagmire of material now available from British Mandate period and Israeli archives that shares the most accurately documented history of Israel. This information now serves to debunk unjust fabrications about the years leading up to the Jewish State’s foundation and similar variations that eventually followed suit, to this day.

Piloting a mass conquest of land acquisition ever since their UN sanctioned partition plan, Israel, its leaders and settlers now account for over 80% of the originally Palestinian land.

It bears testament to the reality of what Israel unjustly states many a times as atrocious violence at the hands of displaced, persecuted and dejected indigenous folk of the land that Israel claims for its own using illegal settlements, military advances and multiple Arab-Israeli wars. The campestral itself has witnessed undeniable war crimes that are consistently hidden from media outlets and people around the world.

Israel’s Inception

Pappé proves via official records exactly how the Israeli state came into existence with bloody tactics against Palestinian inhabitants whose lands were forcibly seized. These people had spent centuries and consequently, created generations worth of heritage, all of which is now effectively lost at the hands of subjugation based hegemonic Israeli policies. Since the 1940s, they ethnically cleansed without mercy to ensure that a vision set by David Ben Gursion, the founding father of Israel, could lead to a homeland which saw the habitation of Jews alone.

The result of this unnatural lust for unwarranted monolithically inhumane attempts at establishing a Jewish monoculture has seen Palestinians of the past and present live with almost no rights including the denial of the most basic right of all i.e. the right to live in peace and security within the confines of their homeland; which no longer exists.

Survivors Loosing Hope

Survivors and their dependents either live in Israel as unwanted Arab citizens with few rights or in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) where their lives are suspended in gross uncertainty that mutates on a daily basis, worsening the conditions essential to their existence in an occupied country. They are subjected to daily institutionalization and categorical racism with consistently fueled persecution.

The current state of Israel-Palestine is volatile although there has been a ceasefire implemented with international pressure consistent on both sides to ensure no further violations occur.

The West Bank and Gaza strip are all that remain of Palestinian territories. There have been movements to facilitate illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank that ultimately saw Palestinians evicted, their homes destroyed and Israeli families ushered in to reclaim areas that were rightfully owned by Palestine. Any and all protests made against Israel are shunned away, silenced and ordered to be disbanded with intimidation, the use of force and the arrests of Palestinian men and children, often brutally assaulting women in the process.

Men— Under the Age of 18

To bear down on mere children who, at times, have yet to face adolescence, is something quite pedestrian in the daily life at the West Bank and Jerusalem. Whether it is protesting infants who realize the horrors of Israeli occupation around them and swell in hatred enough to pick up a stone or by-standers that may have “allegedly” been involved in a protest in one form or the other. Discriminate prosecutions are handed out with little to no explanations given to the children or their families as to the cause of arrest.

“Ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system is widespread and systematic, as nearly three out of four kids experience some form of physical violence during arrest, transfer or interrogation” said Brad Parker, attorney and international advocacy officer for Defence for Children International-Palestine.

It is endearing to hear the child victims of military brutality brush it off as something they do not fear as stated by Yazan Al-Jundi, a slender 16 year old Palestinian from the Old city of Jerusalem.

“At any moment they might take me again,” Al-Jundi says. He insists, however, that he’s not afraid.

He faced his first arrest last June while leaving Al Aqsa mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem after afternoon prayers. He has since then faced multiple arrests.

Palestinian children in Jerusalem fall under Israeli civil law, and are technically protected by Israel’s Youth Law, which is intended to safeguard the welfare of minors. The Youth Law states that parents should be present during their child’s interrogations, yet according to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Palestinian parents are routinely denied access.

Al-Jundi’s mother, Fadia states how terribly frightening child arrests can be for a Palestinian parent who is, almost consistently, denied any form of contact or communication to their children (in violation of Youth Law) while the children are under arrest or interrogation.

“The third arrest was really scary,” she recalls. After her son was taken to the station, seven undercover police officers searched the home. “When they left, I started crying. Each day when he didn’t come home, I began to cry again. I was afraid Yazan would go to jail. Because he’s young and they will make him confess to something he didn’t do, because he’s afraid.”

Palestinian children in the West Bank are subject to Israeli military law as opposed to the Youth law, the protection of which, they legally fall under. These minors, consequently, only have two rights under military law: against self-incrimination and to consult a lawyer, says Ivan Karakashian, advocacy unit coordinator of Defense for Children International-Palestine, “and they’re seldom advised of their rights.” DCIP’s statistics for 2014 show that in 94.4 percent of West Bank cases involving minors, no lawyer was present.

“After being released, a lot of children feel they’ve become men. It’s a rite of passage,” says Karakashian. “But after some time, they realize they’re traumatized.  They realize the homes provided no security, their parents were completely powerless and they were entirely on their own.”

Solitary Confinement— At 16 years Old?

16-year-old Thabet ‘Edaily was taken from his village near Nablus at 1:30 a.m last July. He recalls being led out of the house by soldiers, his hands tied with a plastic cord and being blind folded. Once at the interrogation center Edaily states “Soldiers ordered me to strip down to my underwear to search me,” ‘Edaily swore in an affidavit to DCIP. “They ordered me to sit and stand many times. They wanted to make fun of me.”

The child was held in isolation. Confined to a small, window-less cell for 25 days. His only contact was with his interrogator and a guard who “would open the cell, enter with another jailor, handcuff me behind my back, shackle my feet and keep me lying on the floor while brutally beating me.” 

‘Edaily naturally felt victim to frustration, depression whilst being isolated. “I didn’t know day from night. I had to sit there and talk to myself. Sometimes I’d sing or laugh for no reason. I acted strangely and worried I might go insane.”

In 2014, 21.4 percent of West Bank child detainees were held in solitary confinement for an average duration of 15 days. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture found that even a few days of social isolation can cause lasting mental damage in adults and be considered a form of torture.

“So imagine, 15 days for a child,” says Karakashian, who believes Israel uses solitary confinement for strategic purposes. “In the US, isolation is used to separate minors from the adult population, or to punish misbehavior. In Israel, it’s used to coerce a confession.”

The Israeli military court system has a 99.7 percent overall conviction rate, and according to Karakashian, “almost all the confessions [routinely used to convict minors] are coerced in one form or another.”  

‘Edaily denied accusations that he threw stones at an Israeli car until his fourth interrogation session, when he said his interrogator threatened to have his parents arrested and killed in front of him. The 16 year old child, who had been denied any rights whatsoever, fearfully submitted a false confession, giving the interrogator what he was looking for. “I confessed to throwing stones several times at a settler car.”

700 Palestinian minors were arrested in Jerusalem during 2014, according to the UNICEF office in Jerusalem. In addition to the 860 Palestinian minors arrested in the West Bank last year (according to data given to the Al Jazeera news channel by the Israeli military) 1,560 Palestinian children in total were taken into Israeli custody. These are the documented cases. These do not account re-arrests or cases that were never brought to the lime light which, incidentally, means that the total number of convictions is quite possibly a much larger figure than that presented to the world by Israeli authorities.

Israel’s failure to protect the occupied Palestinian population entails its international [legal] responsibility for wrongful acts,” Mona Sabella, legal research and advocacy coordinator for Al-Haq, told Al Jazeera, adding that settlers are rarely held accountable for attacks on Palestinians, including children.

About Ahmed Moin

Ahmed has always found solace in good literature and has relished any accumulation of words, versed in a manner that surprises him. He has always found passion in writing and works on honing his skills while freelancing professional content for a little over a year now. He’s currently volunteering at a local animal shelter in Lahore, Pakistan. Their activities can be followed via the following Facebook page. Donations are always needed and highly appreciated!

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