Palestinian Child Prisoners: the campaign continues in 2016
Hares Teens sentenced to 15 years in prison
News that the Hares Boys have been sentenced to 15 years in prison once again exposes the unjust and inhumane Israeli military court system. The evidence against the boys in this case is utterly flawed and is a clear travesty of justice.
Read more here
Hundreds of Palestinian children are routinely arrested and detained by the Israeli authorities. In recent months, the numbers of young people targeted, detained and imprisoned has increased.
Military Court Watch reported that in December 407 children were held in military detention – an increase of 33% with 56% held inside Israel in violation of Geneva IV and Rome Statute;
Sarah Champion MP sponsored a parliamentary debate on this issue on 6th January. In particular, she raised concerns about the illegal transfer of detainees in to Israel which is in breach of international human rights law, and called for legal action against ‘war criminals’ who are party to it.
“The transfer of detainees en masse from occupied territory is a stand-alone issue, because it is a war crime. It is not contingent on the presence or absence of peace talks. It should not be contingent on one political view or another. After nearly half a century, it requires decisive action in accordance with our international legal obligations. The fourth Geneva convention makes it clear that the UK has a positive legal obligation to search for persons accused of committing grave breaches of the convention, regardless of their nationality, and to ensure that if such persons enter the UK, they are arrested and prosecuted with all speed. That is why I recommend that in order to begin to fulfil our legal obligations, we must establish and maintain a watch list of all known war crime suspects, whoever they may be. We should know, at all times, who is coming into this country, whether we need to be concerned and what action we are legally obliged to take. As a nation, we must send a strong message that we will no longer tolerate the commission of war crimes on such an industrial scale, and that we are a people who honour our commitments.”
Foreign Office Minister, Tobias Ellwood MP, asserted” the British government remains concerned by the treatment of Palestinian children detained in Israeli prisons”. He also confirmed the Foreign Office is funding a return visit by the UK legal delegation which wrote the 2012 Children in Military Custody report. That report made 40 recommendations which were very similar to the subsequent recommendations made by the 2013 UNICEF report
Read a report of the debate by Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights here
Read about children kept under house arrest for months https://electronicintifada.net/content/when-israel-turns-houses-jails/15486
Just Like Us! Young Palestinians speak out
As part of a project between Edukid and teaching unions in Palestine and the UK, young Palestinians are being given a chance to talk about their lives. Just Like Us, filmed at a high school in Nazareth, Israel, is a fabulous chance to meet Palestinian teens and hear their views on life, their aspirations and their thoughts on the obstacles that face them. The film is 15 minutes long and features music from DAM-RAP and others. It is insightful and uplifting and would go down well at any meeting on Palestine. Click here to watch it.
Palestinian Children targeted at home, school and at play
Distressing footage has been leaked of the interrogation of Ahmed Manasrah, the 13 year old boy whose callous treatment by Israeli forces and civilians as he lay bleeding in the street was witnessed around the world. After an alleged stabbing near the illegal Israeli settlement of Pisgat Zeev in Jerusalem, Ahmed was seriously wounded but for received no medical assistance and was subject to sustained racist abuse as he lay bleeding. Initally reported dead, Manasrah was later photographed in an Israeli hospital receiving treatment.
The latest footage shows 5 minutes of an interrogation. It is very hard to watch. It is the kind of treatment any Palestinian child detained can expect as a matter of routine.
The deadly assault on Palestinians by Israeli forces and settlers continues to escalate and children are being targeted in what eyewitness accounts are evidence of a shoot to kill policy.
A report from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights quoted on the Palestinian Information Centre website claims two young 17 year old Palestinians were shot in cold-blood with no provocation by soldiers in the West Bank. Dania Jehad Ersheid (17) and Ahmed Mohammed Sa’id Kmail (17) were both shot dead this week; Dania in Hebron and Ahmed in Jenin. Eyewitness accounts say there was no evidence they posed any threat at the time of their deaths. PCHR say Dania was on her way to an extended English class and was shot with her arms in the air; Ahmed was well-known at the checkpoint as a regular peddler and was selling chocolate biscuits.
Since the start of October 51 Palestinian civilians have been killed in the West Bank and Gaza including 14 children.
At the end of September, DCI Palestine reported that since 2000, more than 1,996 children had died as a result of soldier or illegal settler violence. These killings in October bring that number to more than 2000.
The obligation on the international community to bring an end to this violence is clear:
“PCHR reiterates its call upon the international community to take immediate and effective actions to put an end to such crimes and reiterates its call for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to fulfill their obligations under Article 1; i.e., to respect and to ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances, and their obligation under Article 146 to prosecute persons alleged to commit grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention. These grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the same Convention and Protocol I Additional to the Geneva Conventions.”
On Monday October 12th, Hasan Khaled Mansara, was left to bleed to death after an alleged stabbing attack. The video and accounts of this incident have been widely shared on social media. This report from the International Middle East Media Centre reports Israeli forces and medics did nothing to help him as he lay dying, subjected to vile insults from nearby Israeli civilians shouting “Die, you son of a whore”.
Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program director at DCIP, said “It’s now a matter of when the next Palestinian child fatality will occur and not if it will take place. The complete disregard for human life that Israeli soldiers exhibit suggests that the use of lethal force is their standard operating procedure whatever the circumstance.”
Read more from DCI-Palestine on the violence & death suffered by Palestinian children at the hands of illegal Israeli settlers & Israeli soldiers here.
Reports from observers with Christian Peacemakers Team & the International Solidarity Movement show that the teargassing of children on their way to and from school is commonplace in places like Al-Khalil/Hebron.
In February 2015, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator, James W Rawley, testified to the ‘extraordinary challenges’ Palestinian children face in their attempt to get to school without fear of assault and called for action by Israel to ensure that Palestinian children’s right to access education is assured: “To safeguard the rights of children to education, schools need to be inviolable safe spaces for children, restrictions to access removed, and measures taken to avoid conflict or confrontation”, Mr. Rawley said. “Every child has the right to protected access to education. Israeli authorities must ensure that this right is fulfilled, and that those responsible for attacks against defenceless children are brought to account”.
13 year old boy shot and killed by Israeli forces in Bethlehem
Ma’an reports the killing of a 13-year-old Palestinian boy in Aida refugee camp in Bethelehem. Abed al-Rahman Shadi Obeidallah, was shot near the heart by Israeli forces during clashes in the refugee camp.
Where is the Outrage?
Three year old targeted in Kafr Qaddum in Qalqiliya
Maan News reports on the shooting with rubber-coated steel bullets of the daughter of local police chief, Colonel Abd al-Latif al-Qaddumi, as she stood on her balcony. Maram Abed al-Latif al-Qaddumi was shot in the head and her father came under fire as he attempted to help her. They are both recovering in hospital. The family was recently evicted from their home which has been turned into an Israeli military outpost.
Military Court Watch Update
Military Court Watch has issued its August update. 153 Palestinian children are currently held in military detention with 48% of these being held in Israel in violation of Geneva IV and Rome Statute. The update also reports on the devastating impact of night raids and the increased awareness of the situation in the US as more Congress members raise concerns. A more detailed briefing note is available here.
Israel considers using live fire on stone throwers
Israeli Prime Minister has said the government is considering giving armed forces the right to shoot live fire at stone-throwers. Al-Jazeera America reports a statement from Netanyahu’s office which says: “Since the justice system finds it difficult to deal with minors who throw rocks, changes to orders on opening fire toward stone and petrol-bomb throwers will be examined”. This follows Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev’s comments that soldiers should have fired on unarmed civilians including children at the Nabi Saleh protest where an Israel soldier had a 12 year old boy with a broken arm in a head lock (see below).
Israeli military violence towards civilian communities is exposed at Nabi Saleh
Video footage of an Israeli solder brutally restraining a 12 year old boy in a headlock has gone viral after last Friday’s weekly protest in Nabi-Saleh. Another child and two women successfully fight to free the boy from the soldier’s grip. After a violent struggle, the soldier releases the boy and withdraws. The footage and photos have created shock waves around the world with even the UK’s Mail On-line reporting the story with some sympathy. Predictably, the backlash from some Israeli sources have sought to blame the villagers and the children. There are reports that the unarmed civilians involved in releasing the boy will be arrested and Mondoweiss reports that the Israeli Culture Minister, Miri Regev, has said that the soldier should have fired on the unarmed civilians:
Stop Arming Israel – Defence of the Child International launch petition
DCI-Palestine has launched a petition to demand justice for the children of Gaza. DCI-Palestine says: “The U.S. and U.K. governments share complicity in Israel’s human rights violations in Rafah and elsewhere in Gaza. Both must investigate and impose an immediate arms embargo on Israeli military units that violate human rights and international humanitarian law as required by American and British arms export control laws and policies. The U.S. and U.K. governments must also support the International Criminal Court in examining alleged war crimes committed in Rafah between August 1 and 4. “In the first half of 2014, the U.K. government approved £7 million ($11 million) in weapons transfers to Israel including ordinance that was likely used in the 2014 bombing of Gaza. While the U.S. government allowed Israel to resupply itself from a U.S. weapons stockpile located in Israel with grenade and mortar rounds at the end of July last year. “Reports from international human rights organizations, from the United Nations, and from the U.S. State Department are presenting a set of mutually confirming data that shines a bright light on the physical and psychological harm the Israeli state has perpetrated upon Palestinian children, in the vast majority of cases in violation of international human rights law, covenants and conventions.” Click below to sign the petition:
New report from Save the Children ‘The Lasting Scars on Children’ B’Tselem video shows Palestinian teenager, Muhammad Ali Qusbah, being shot by IDF as he ran away Several reports (links below) outline how Israel continues to target children in its efforts to repress protests against the occupation. Harassment and assault of civilians by soldiers and settlers is routine and systematic in many Palestinian towns and village. Being a child brings no protection. In February, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator James W Rawley called for safe access for children to schools in the West Bank and East Jerusalem after figures showed that incidents of violence and harassment of children had almost tripled in the last year. Incidents involving school children and schools almost tripled in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, from 2013 to 2014, affecting nearly 25,000 Palestinian children in 2014. Affected children grow up exposed to violence from an early age and many suffer from emotional and psychological distress, including experiencing recurrent nightmares and bed- wetting. Over 77 per cent of students in Hebron showed symptoms of moderate to severe post- traumatic stress disorder, according to a recent study. You can read the full statement here: UNOCHA statment on children’s access to schools in West Bank & East Jerusalem More Palestinian civilians were killed last year than at any time since 1967 says UN Independent 27th March 2015 Israel kills more Palestinians than any other year since 1967 Guardian 27th March 2015 Israeli forces target children with live ammunitionDCI Palestine 23rd March 2015 Israel military’s pattern of lethal force against Palestinian children DCI Palestine 28th January 2015 NBC News reports on the Israeli Army’s routine night raids, terrorising children and traumatising families. The latest report from UNICEF documents the continuing systematic ill-treatment of Palestinian children detained by the Israeli army. “Despite an ongoing dialogue with UNICEF over nearly two years, Israeli authorities have persistently failed to implement practical changes to stop violence and ill-treatment against Palestinian child detainees,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program director at Defence of the Child International-Palestine. Evidence collected by DCI during 2014 shows:
- 75% of Palestinian child detainees endured some form of physical violence between the period of their arrest and interrogation,
- 50% of them were also strip searched
- In 93% of cases children were denied access to legal counsel, and rarely informed of their rights, particularly their right against self-incrimination.
- The use in many cases of prolonged periods of solitary confinement for interrogation purposes, a practice that amounts to torture under international law.
Palestinian schools attacked
Schools near the occupied West Bank city of Nablus have been repeatedly attacked since our earlier reports in September. A report by Electronic Intifada documents the ongoing targeting of schools in Nablus by Israeli forces.
The Right to Play?
Children in Hebron are routinely targeted by illegal Israeli settlers on the way to school and when they play outside. They must also navigate the checkpoints in and out of the Old City and are regularly harassed by soldiers who stop and search them with little or no reason. Read regular updates from the Christian Peacemakers team based in Hebron. On Saturday, 10 year old Saleh Abu Shamsieh was attacked by a group of illegal settlers whilst playing in the snow. He was beaten on the arm with a metal object and taken to hospital. Tweets from ISM suggest Saleh was also later arrested but has now been released. Read more
Defence of the Child International petition on Gaza handed in to Downing Street and The White House
On Friday 12th December, A4PC delivered the Defence of the Child International Gaza petition calling for an inquiry into possible war crimes in Gaza. We were supported in this action by Jeremy Corbyn MP.
The petition, signed by 17, 286 people calls on David Cameron & Barack Obama “to support the United Nations Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry into possible war crimes in Gaza, to achieve accountability for the 501 children killed in the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip.” On the same day, DCI-Palestine delivered a copy of the petition to the White House.
Click here for more details: Justice for Gaza’s Children
Children of Palestine newspaper
A4PC marked UN Human Rights Day by working with Jews for Justice for Palestinians to produce and distribute a tabloid newspaper ‘Children of Palestine’. Over 20,000 copies have been handed out around England & Wales including in Salisbury, Bristol, Nottingham, Liverpool, Worcester, Leicester, Cardiff, West Midlands, Powys, Hove, Buxton, Brighton, Southampton, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Cambridge, Lewes, Norfolk, Gwynedd, Aberystwyth, Hastings, Peterborough, Somerset, Luton, Worthing, North Devon, Sandwell, London and Newcastle. There have also been over 20,000 views of the newspaper on Facebook.
This newspaper aims to tell some of the many, varied, stories of Palestinian children taken from a wide range of sources including Adalah, B’Tselem, DCI-Palestine, Jahalin, Military Court Watch, Oxfam, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Rabbis for Human Rights, Save the Children, Unicef, UNWRA, War on Want, and the YMCA. The stories in Children of Palestine are testimony to the many ways in which Palestinian children are prevented from enjoying a childhood free from fear or the expectation of a life where their human rights are protected and upheld. These stories tell the real story of life in Palestine for children. We would like to thank everyone who has helped us get their stories heard. A print-ready PDF is available here: Children of Palestine PDF If you have any other queries just email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Children under attack
It is clear that children are seen as legitimate targets by the Occupation. Every day, children (some as young as 7) are arrested, often violently by Israeli soldiers; attacks by armed illegal Israeli settlers are growing in number and boldness.
No More Forgotten Lives #beituniaboys
On May 15, 2014, Mohammad Abu Daher, 16, was fatally shot in the back by an Israeli soldier in the occupied West Bank city of Beitunia. One hour earlier, Israeli forces shot and killed Nadeem Nawara, 17, in the same spot. Read the facts about what happened that day and the light these facts shed on the frequent assault and killing of people in Palestine by the Israeli authorities. Then take action.
24 October 2014 Israeli army kills 14 year old Palestinian boy
14 year old, Orwah Hammad has become the 10th Palestinian child to be killed by live ammunition in the West Bank in 2014 according to Brad Parker from DCI Palestine as reported in this article from Mondoweiss : “A Palestinian teen with U.S. citizenship was killed today by the Israeli army at a demonstration in the West Bank town of Silwad, near Ramallah. Fourteen-year old Orwah Hammad was shot with a live bullet that entered his neck and exited through his head, according to Ramallah hospital staff. He died while being treated at Ramallah hospital around 6 p.m. this evening, Jerusalem time.”
20 October 2014 Israeli soldiers detain developmentally-disabled boy
B’Tselem reports that soldiers arrested the boy, who is under the age of criminal responsibility, on suspicion of throwing stones. His brutal arrest was caught in this video filmed by a B’Tselem volunteer and exposes the central role of settlers and settlements in the oppression of the Palestinians. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkIPsGnMqQw “The boy, A. a-Rajbi, (full name withheld in interest of privacy) who will be 12 in a month, was detained after Palestinian children threw stones at soldiers on the main road of the Jabel Johar neighborhood in Hebron, close to the settlement of Kiryat Arba. A-Rajbi was handcuffed, blindfolded, and held on the floor of an army jeep for some 15 minutes until his father arrived and convinced the soldiers to release his son, who is mentally disabled and cannot speak. “In the video footage, filmed by B’Tselem volunteer Samih Da’na from his window, soldiers are seen holding the boy, handcuffing him, blindfolding him and closing him in the jeep, despite cries by Palestinian residents that the boy is mentally disabled. The footage also shows settlers from Kiryat Arba, watching the incident from behind the settlement’s fence. Some are seen calling out encouragement to the soldiers, including several racist remarks.”
19 October Inas Khalil, 5, killed after being run over by Israeli settler
Inas Shawkat Khalil has died after being hit by a car driven by an Israeli settler who did not stop. Another girl, Toleen Omar Asfour, is currently stable in hospital recovering from her wounds. Both girls were on their way home from kindergarten in Sinjil, Ramallah. Read more in the Middle East Monitor
16 October 2014 Baha Eldeen Samir Bader, 12 killed by IDF bullet
Defence of the Child International reports: “Baha Eldeen Samir Bader, 12, was killed by a bullet to his chest after Israeli soldiers raided Beit Liqya, southwest of Ramallah, on the evening of Thursday, October 16. Israeli soldiers bombarded the village with tear gas and ammunition. “Israeli forces continue to fire live ammunition at Palestinian children, killing them with impunity,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program Director at DCI-Palestine. “Israeli soldiers consistently violate their own live-fire regulations and know that they will not be held accountable for their actions no matter what the result.” According to eyewitness testimonies collected by DCI-Palestine, three Israeli military jeeps entered Beit Liqya at around 5:00 pm on Thursday afternoon. The raid resulted in a confrontation between Israeli soldiers and local youths. Eyewitnesses said that about eighteen soldiers were present in the village when Baha was shot. One bystander told DCI-Palestine that Baha was returning home from playing on the football field, and had not been involved in the clashes at the time he was fatally shot. The witness was standing only 2 meters (6.5 feet) away from the child when he was shot. Baha died as a result of severe bleeding from a gunshot wound to his chest, according to medical sources. Baha arrived at the hospital without vital signs and was pronounced dead at around 8:30 pm.”
10 September 2014: Schools attacked, teachers threatened
Illegal Israeli settlers attacked two schools in Nablus, Alaban & As-Sawiya. These photographs show the incident and some of the damage caused:
8 September 2014: Children violently detained near Hebron
Two adults and two children, aged seven and twelve, were arrested by Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint near the West Bank city of Hebron, with the help of stun grenades and tear gas canisters. Fortunately the International Solidarity Movement were there to record the incident.
This is just one of many recent incidents in the West Bank, where children have suffered aggression on the way to and from school. An ISM spokesman said: “It is clear to see how the Israeli army’s tactic of collective punishment is carried out in the daily lives of Palestinians, and children suffering from tear gas inhalation before and after school is not an unusual occurrence in Hebron.” Children as young as six have been arrested. Read more about our campaign for child prisoners.