A Palestinian lawyer has condemned Israel for its violations of international law concerning children’s rights, saying that child detainees of Israeli jails are subject to ‘heinous’ abuse, beatings and torture.
A lawyer for the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners Affairs, Hiba Masalha, stated on Sunday that children and teenagers detained in Israeli jails are routinely and ‘violently’ beaten by Israeli occupation soldiers during interrogation.
Masalha reportedly visited 68 children and teenagers in the Israeli Megiddo prison and said that the minors, the majority of whom were abducted from an orphanage in Tulkarem, were ‘terrified, threatened and blackmailed’. Most of the abuses took place during interrogation in the al-Jalama center.
A 17 year old schoolboy from Qalqiliya told Masalha that Israeli soldiers had threatened him by firing gunshots into the air as they detained him, reports Al-Bawaba. He continued on to say that the soldiers threatened to kill him before savagely beating him. He was then taken to a military hospital in Petah Tiqva where he allegedly received 24 stitches for the wound on his head.
He stated that he was taken the next day to the al-Jalama interrogation center and held there for 20 days, during which period he was beaten and confined to a wooden chair with his hands and feet cuffed.
There are currently at least 182 Palestinian minors locked up in Israeli jails, including 26 minors below the age of 16.
In 2014, the international rights group Defense for Children said that Israeli authorities have denied legal counsel to 93% of child detainees, according to Tasnim News.
Sadly, reports on Israeli violations of international law and conventions advocating children’s rights are nothing new. Reports of child torture in Israeli prisons join an ever-lengthening list of Israeli violations of children’s rights. In an interview with Press TV, political analyst Alberto Garcia Watson remembered the first Intifada, where the IOF were ordered to ‘break the bones of children that were protesting or throwing stones’.
He said: ‘we see that [Israel] always treat children just like [it] treats adults… even the legislation accepts… that a child that throws stones against [an] Israeli military vehicle can get up to 10 years in prison and if that vehicle is in motion they can get up to 25 years and we are talking about minors. So this brutality and this impunity that Israel gets away with should probably be something to be considered by the international community.’
The international community has, however, turned a blind eye on Israeli contraventions of international law advocating children’s rights. Despite calls made by the special representative of the secretary-general, Leila Zerrougui, for Israel to be included on a list of states and organizations accused of violating children’s rights during armed conflicts, the UN decided on 29 May not to blacklist the apartheid state. The decision came amidst rumors of Israeli and American threats to withdraw funding from the UN should Israel be blacklisted, said International Business Times.
Zerrougui had reportedly cited attacks by the Israeli army on schools and hospitals in the Gaza Strip during the assault on Gaza in the summer of last year as a reason for Israel’s inclusion on the list. 556 children were killed during the Israeli onslaught, with up to 3000 wounded.