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:
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
Stratos Ramoglou
Why the Greek Economic Crisis Won’t be Ending Anytime Soon
David Price
The 2016 Tour of California: Notes on a Big Pharma Bike Race
Dmitry Mickiewicz
Barbarous Deforestation in Western Ukraine
Rev. William Alberts
The United Methodist Church Up to Its Old Trick: Kicking the Can of Real Inclusion Down the Road
Patrick Bond
Imperialism’s Junior Partners
Mark Hand
The Trouble with Fracking Fiction
Priti Gulati Cox
Broken Green: Two Years of Modi
Marc Levy
Sitrep: Hometown Unwelcomes Vietnam Vets
Lorenzo Raymond
Why Nonviolent Civil Resistance Doesn’t Work (Unless You Have Lots of Bombs)
Ed Kemmick
New Book Full of Amazing Montana Women
Michael Dickinson
Bye Bye Legal High in Backwards Britain
Missy Comley Beattie
Wanted: Daddy or Mommy in Chief
Ed Meek
The Republic of Fear
Charles R. Larson
Russian Women, Then and Now
David Yearsley
Elgar’s Hegemony: the Pomp of Empire
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail