FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

UNICEF Criticizes Israel’s Treatment of Palestinian Kids

by Dr. CESAR CHELALA

A new UNICEF report, “Children in Israeli Military Detention,” is sharply critical of Israel’s treatment of detained Palestinian children. According to UNICEF, 700 Palestinian children aged 12-17, most of them boys, are arrested and harshly interrogated by the Israeli military, police and security agents every year in the occupied West Bank.

In some cases, stated UNICEF, it had identified practices that “amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention against Torture (CAT). The UNICEF report confirms what many human rights activists (including Israeli individual and organizations) have been denouncing for years.

The UNICEF report is the result of several years of information gathering by the UN agency related to grave violations committed against Palestinian children in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, including the arrest and detention of children. The information gathered is regularly reported to the United Nations Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict. Mounting allegations of ill-treatment of Palestinian children held in the Israeli military detention system prompted this review.

According to Article 37 of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, State Parties shall ensure that “No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,”…and “Every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance, as well as the right to challenge the legality of the deprivation of his or her liberty before a court or other competent, independent and impartial authority, and to a prompt decision on any such action.” These provisions have been repeatedly violated by the Israeli authorities.

As UNICEF states, “In addition to Israel’s obligations under international law, the guiding principles relating to the prohibition against torture in Israel are to be found in a 1999 decision of the Supreme Court, which is also legally binding on the Israeli military courts. The Court concluded that a reasonable interrogation is necessarily one free of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and that this prohibition is absolute.”

What makes the conclusions of this report particularly relevant is that Yigal Palmor, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, stated that officials from the ministry and the Israeli military had cooperated with UNICEF in the work carried out for this report, and that the aim of the Israeli government was to improve the treatment of Palestinian minors in custody.

Ill-treatment of Palestinian minors begins with the arrest itself, which is carried out usually in the middle of the night by heavily armed soldiers, and continues through prosecution and sentencing. Most minors are arrested for throwing stones; however, they suffer physical violence and threats, many are coerced into confessing for acts they didn’t commit and, in addition, many times they don’t have access to a lawyer or family during questioning.

UNICEF’s findings are based on more than 400 documented cases gathered since 2009, as well as on legal papers, governmental and non-governmental reports, and interviews with Palestinian children and their families and with Israeli and Palestinian officials and lawyers.

Israeli government abuses against Palestinian children are not limited to the West Bank. In the past, UNICEF has also reported that one baby in three risks death because of medical shortages in Gaza. Israel’s government also prohibited the distribution of special food to about 20,000 Gazan children under age five resulting in anemia, stunted growth and general weakness as a result of malnutrition.

On October 20, 2011, Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories had urged the Israeli Government to adopt guidelines for the protection of Palestinian children in line with international humanitarian principles and human rights standards. In his report, Falk notes the case of a three-year old girl who was taken from her home at 3 a.m. and threatened at gun point: “She was told that she would be shot and her family home destroyed unless she revealed the whereabouts of her brother,” said Mr. Falk, “and now, her mother explained, she can’t sleep through the night and bedwets.”

Treatment of children and adolescents under detention contravenes Israel’s democratic principles and contributes to the perpetuation of the Middle East conflict and the search for peace in the region.

Dr. César Chelala is an international public health consultant and a co-winner of an Overseas Press Club of America award.

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of the 1979 Overseas Press Club of America award for the article “Missing or Disappeared in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims.”

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
December 09, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nasty As They Wanna Be
Henry Giroux
Trump’s Second Gilded Age: Overcoming the Rule of Billionaires and Militarists
Andrew Levine
Trump’s Chumps: Victims of the Old Bait and Switch
Chris Welzenbach
The Forgotten Sneak Attack
Lewis Lapham
Hostile Takeover
Joshua Frank
This Week at CounterPunch: More Hollow Smears and Baseless Accusations
Paul Street
The Democrats Do Their Job, Again
Vijay Prashad
The Cuban Revolution: Defying Imperialism From Its Backyard
Michael Hudson - Sharmini Peries
Orwellian Economics
Mark Ames
The Anonymous Blacklist Promoted by the Washington Post Has Apparent Ties to Ukrainian Fascism and CIA Spying
Erin McCarley
American Nazis and the Fight for US History
Yoav Litvin
Resist or Conform: Lessons in Fortitude and Weakness From the Israeli Left
Conn Hallinan
India & Pakistan: the Unthinkable
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Nativism on the Left – A Realer Smith
Joshua Sperber
Trump in the Age of Identity Politics
Brandy Baker
Jill Stein Sees Russia From Her House
Katheryne Schulz
Report from Santiago de Cuba: Celebrating Fidel’s Rebellious Life
Nelson Valdes
Fidel and the Good People
Norman Solomon
McCarthy’s Smiling Ghost: Democrats Point the Finger at Russia
Renee Parsons
The Snowflake Nation and Trump on Immigration
Margaret Kimberley
Black Fear of Trump
Michael J. Sainato
A Pruitt Running Through It: Trump Kills Nearly Useless EPA With Nomination of Oil Industry Hack
Ron Jacobs
Surviving Hate and Death—The AIDS Crisis in 1980s USA
David Swanson
Virginia’s Constitution Needs Improving
Louis Proyect
Narcos and the Story of Colombia’s Unhappiness
Paul Atwood
War Has Been, is, and Will be the American Way of Life…Unless?
John Wight
Syria and the Bodyguard of Lies
Richard Hardigan
Anti-Semitism Awareness Act: Senate Bill Criminalizes Criticism of Israel
Kathy Kelly
See How We Live
David Macaray
Trump Picks his Secretary of Labor. Ho-Hum.
Howard Lisnoff
Interview with a Political Organizer
Yves Engler
BDS and Anti-Semitism
Adam Parsons
Home Truths About the Climate Emergency
Brian Cloughley
The Decline and Fall of Britain
Eamonn Fingleton
U.S. China Policy: Is Obama Schizoid?
Graham Peebles
Worldwide Air Pollution is Making us Ill
Joseph Natoli
Fake News is Subjective?
Andre Vltchek
Tough-Talking Philippine President Duterte
Binoy Kampmark
Total Surveillance: Snooping in the United Kingdom
Guillermo R. Gil
Vivirse la película: Willful Opposition to the Fiscal Control Board in Puerto Rico
Patrick Bond
South Africa’s Junk Credit Rating was Avoided, But at the Cost of Junk Analysis
Clancy Sigal
Investigate the Protesters! A Trial Balloon Filled With Poison Gas
Pierre Labossiere – Margaret Prescod
Human Rights and Alternative Media Delegation Report on Haiti’s Elections
Charles R. Larson
Review:  Helon Habila’s The Chibok Girls: the Boko Haram Kidnappings and Islamist Militancy in Nigeria
David Yearsley
Brahms and the Tears of Britain’s Oppressed
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail