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Do the Lives of Israeli and Palestinian Children Have Equal Value?

World  (tags: israel, Palestine, Children, Ethnic Cleansing, crime, death, Human Rights Violations )

- 1422 days ago -
Defence for Children International has documented the killing of more than 1,400 Palestinian children by Israeli soldiers or settlers since 2000. That's the equivalent of one Palestinian child killed by an Israeli every three days for the past 13 years!

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David B (29)
Tuesday July 1, 2014, 5:02 pm
With the news that the bodies of three missing Israeli teens had been found in a field not far from the stretch of road where they disappeared June 12, people everywhere reacted rightly with sorrow and anger.

Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16 and Naftali Fraenkel, also 16, were students who lived with their families in a Jewish-only settlement near the Palestinian city of Hebron in the West Bank. The settlement and others like it have been declared illegal by the International Court of Justice because they are located in occupied territory and impede Palestinians' liberty of movement and right to employment, health and education. However, they were youth just starting out on life, sons and brothers whose families will forever grieve their horrific deaths. We must all condemn such violence.

We must also condemn the collective punishment and violence unleashed by the government of Israel in response. To date, the Israeli police and military have broken into and ransacked 1,500 homes, businesses and schools in its rampage, arresting more than 550 residents.

More than half of the abducted individuals are being held without charge or trial, more than 100 have been injured and at least six have died -- including a 14-year-old boy who was shot in the chest at point-blank range and a 78-year-old woman who suffered a heart attack during a house raid. As this article was written, the 680,000 residents of greater Hebron had been surrounded by angry troops and settlers, with ominous reports trickling out of death and mayhem.

Imagine if similar homicides occurred in your town. Despite the tragedy of the crimes and the desperate desire to find the perpetrators, would civilized society countenance the widespread ransacking of property, imprisonment of hundreds and the death of innocents? No, of course not. So why should it be considered an acceptable response among a population pushed to desperation by decades of military occupation?

To fully understand just what happened and why, an analysis must begin before the June 12 disappearance of the three teenagers, residents of a Jewish-only settlement near the Palestinian city of Hebron in the West Bank.

Rather, it should start with April 23, when the two main Palestinian political factions, Fatah (which had governed the West Bank) and Hamas (which filled the same role for the Gaza Strip) announced formation of a unity government. While the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority has long cooperated with Israeli security forces, Hamas continues to actively resist Israel's control over the Palestinian territory. The announcement of the reconciliation was condemned by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was enraged when the U.S. and other governments instead took a wait-and-see approach.

When the three Israeli teens disappeared, Netanyahu immediately blamed Hamas, although it has reportedly denied responsibility, and launched a campaign to punish any person associated with the party, as well as those it wanted to target for other reasons (such as previously released prisoners). An informed observer cannot help but conclude that he seized on the personal tragedy of the families involved to pursue a broader political goal. Israel's intention to "perform a root canal to uproot everything green [Hamas-related] in the West Bank" was announced on the national Army Radio, while Economy Minister Naftali Bennett promised to "turn membership of Hamas into an entry ticket to hell."

A high-ranking Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officer told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that the mass arrests are "a kind of thorough cleaning." Israel, he said, had decided "to use the upcoming days to arrest anyone 'infected' with Hamas." In one Israeli news source, an IDF officer even admitted that the operation had been planned ahead of time, and that its goal was not to find the boys, but provoke unrest.

With the discovery of the Israeli teens' bodies, Israeli military and the settlers intensified the attack on Hebron and other towns, with a 17-year-old boy shot in the Jenin refugee camp. Renewing his vow that "Hamas will pay," Netanyahu ordered an escalation of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip -- more than 40 in just the first night, terrorizing the entire population of 1.8 million. Although the strikes in part are in retaliation for rockets shot into Israel by a faction that is not affiliated with Hamas, Netanyahu's own words make the connection clear.

According to the prisoner advocacy group Addameer, about a quarter of the hundreds of arrested Palestinians are being placed in "administrative detention", a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold individuals indefinitely based on secret information without charging them or allowing them to stand trial.

Israel routinely uses administrative detention in violation of the strict parameters established by international law, claiming to be in a continuous state of emergency since its inception in 1948. In addition, says Addameer, administrative detention is frequently used -- in direct contravention to international law -- for collective and criminal punishment rather than for the prevention of future threat.

Children and youth are frequently targets. Defence for Children International has documented the killing of more than 1,400 Palestinian children by Israeli soldiers or settlers since 2000, of which only 40 were found to be active participants in hostilities. That's the equivalent of one Palestinian child killed by an Israeli every three days for the past 13 years.

In addition, a report issued this week by the Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights documents that 2,000-3,000 Palestinian minors have been seized and detained by Israeli forces every year for the last five years, an average of 200 a month, with some as young as 12.

"The Israeli police or military typically break into homes in the middle of the night or take youth right off the streets without telling them what they are charged with or informing their parents, as required by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights," said Ihsan Adel, legal advisor for Euro-Mid. "How is that different from the kidnapping of the Israeli students? And yet it is occurring every day, every year. Where is the international outrage?"

The Euro-Mid report states that rarely are youth informed why they are being arrested -- at least, not until they are interrogated, without counsel from parents or attorneys -- often while shackled to chairs and deprived of sleep. Yet article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (of which Israel is a signatory) states that youth and their parents must be informed of the reasons behind their detention, as well as allowed legal assistance.

UNICEF, the World Health Organization and the U.N. Commission on Human Rights each have found that Israel bases its punishments on confessions that its interrogators coerce from children who are not represented by lawyers. Is it surprising that an estimated 95 per cent of these children "confess"?

Children are not pawns, pieces to be used in a game for purposes of publicity or leverage. That's true for Palestinians and doubly so for Israelis, who operate from a position of unequal power -- that of occupier. It is important to note here that the United States is culpable as well for Israel's actions as de facto military dictator:

Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. military aid, to the tune of an unrestricted $3 billion a year. That must stop.

Perhaps no one has expressed these basic principles of humanity better than columnist Gideon Levy, a rare voice of self-criticism in Israel. In a recent column that has gotten very little exposure, he compared the cases of Naftali Fraenkel, one of the murdered Israeli boys and Mohammed Jihad Dodeen, the 14-year-old Palestinian killed during the Israeli mass arrests.

Levy wrote about the journey of Rachel Fraenkel, Naftali's mother, to a meeting in Switzerland of the United Nations Human Rights Council. She told the group that "her Naftali is a good boy who loves to play guitar and soccer." But, Levy observed, "Mohammed was also a good boy, who helped his father build their house during his school vacations and sold sweets to help support his family. Rachel wants to hug Naftali? Jihad, Mohammed's bereaved father, also wants to hug his son. Incidentally, nobody brought him to Geneva. He remained alone with his mourning, at the wretched house whose construction hasn't yet been finished, and perhaps never will be."

Rose Becke (141)
Tuesday July 1, 2014, 6:41 pm
Leave the children alone!!

fly bird (26)
Tuesday July 1, 2014, 8:02 pm
End US miltary aid to Israel now.
End the illegal occupation.
Apartheid South Africa had a policy that allowed arrest for 90 days without charge.
Israel's indefinite administrative detention, without charge, is used as a weapon against Palestinians and is in violation of International Laws.
Israel has no moral high ground.

Evelyn B (62)
Wednesday July 2, 2014, 1:18 am
The deaths of these three youths are a tragedy for their families and their communities, and we can but feel for them in their sorrow. Deaths of young people are always terrible, and when caused by violence, they are even more terrible.

The deaths provoked among the Palestinian communities - not deaths of guilty persons, unless being Palestinian is by defilition, "guilty" - guilty of existing, guilty of living on land that others want, guilty by their very existence of providing grounds for criticising the behaviour of an occupying power .... Deaths of people who have not been tried in a fair and transparent court, not been proven responsible for the three deaths, - these deaths are also tragic and unacceptable.

There is no proof - indeed there is clear denial - of Hamas' playing any role in the deaths of Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Fraenkel. Vanished on an Israeli-only road, in Area C (entirely controlled by Israeli security) - bodies found in a field near the road, near the place they were last heard of ..... presumably, brought back there, otherwise why has it taken so long to find them? Yet -how could Palestinians have got in to this area - TWICE - once to kidnap, once to bring back the bodies ... and the second time when all the security forces are fully mobilised controlling Palestinian communities? Something is very odd with this story.

More horrifying is the vocabulary being used, referring to Hamas as a disease. Does nobody recognise the echoes here?
In Hitler’s Germany, Jews were described as microbes. Jews, according to Julius Streicher, were “the carriers of disease and vermin among men”. In August 1941, Goebbels called Jews “the carriers of infectious diseases” and two weeks later referred to Jews as “parasites”. By November, he was calling them “lice”.

Israel's intention to "perform a root canal to uproot everything green [Hamas-related] in the West Bank" was announced on the national Army Radio
A high-ranking Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officer told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that the mass arrests are "a kind of thorough cleaning." Israel, he said, had decided "to use the upcoming days to arrest anyone 'infected' with Hamas."

It does make me wonder if the authorities REALLY want to find out what happened to these youths, find the guilty parties and prove their guilt beyond all doubt. Because the guilty should pay for murdering three civilians. But what has happened since their disappearance resembles much more a massive campaign of unfocussed punishment (Hamas as primary target - but even broader than Hamas) irrespective of any form of guilt - let alone guilt for the murder of the three young Israelis.

Criticisms were being raised against the Israeli response to their disappearance ... from within Israel as well as abroad. The appearance of their bodies - in a place that MUST already have been searched - might well be expected to muzzle much of the criticism, at least within Israel. Or were the authorities so busy focussing on the opportunity to crush the Palestinians that they failed to search the area around where the youths were before they vanished? (Which still leaves the question - how would it have been possible, under the extremely heightened security situation, for some Palestinians to get into a field near an Israeli-only road, in Area C, to place the bodies there?)

Have investigators seriously considered alternative explanations to "Hamas/ terrorists"?

Thanks for posting, David

Past Member (0)
Wednesday July 2, 2014, 3:19 am
Well obviously NO--not in Nazi Israel anyway. Thanks David

Angelika R (143)
Wednesday July 2, 2014, 3:44 am
Thx David. My answer to both questions, the headline and last sentence of Evelyn's comment is a clear no.
Didn't this smell quite fishy from start..

Past Member (0)
Wednesday July 2, 2014, 6:20 am
*The fact that Palestinian girls aren't being killed indicates that the Israelis aren't randomly killing civilians, but engaging in combat, and only those stupid enough to be in the middle of the combat are in danger. In fact, more Israeli girls are killed than Palestinian girls*
*The Palestinians use children in war*
*Participation of Children and Teenagers in Terrorist Activity during the Al-Aqsa Intifada*
* The Palestinians routinely and deliberately target and attack schools, shops, restaurants, nightclubs, buses, aircraft, civilians in their cars and houses, and so on, with no military target in sight.*

fly bird (26)
Wednesday July 2, 2014, 11:06 am
"How much is an Israeli's life worth?

Jewish Israelis have a responsibility to fight as hard for the rights of African asylum seekers and Palestinians as they do for the release of the three kidnapped teens."

Rabbi Gideon D. Sylvester 29.06.14

fly bird (26)
Wednesday July 2, 2014, 11:10 am
"Palestinian Teen Abducted, Killed in Suspected Revenge Attack."

Wednesday July 2, 2014, 2:27 pm
From what I have read & heard I would say definitely not. Thanks David

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Wednesday July 2, 2014, 2:33 pm
Thank you, David, for linking us to this excellent article. It reveals so much of what was said and what was a nagging suspicion since the start - but nobody wants to listen anyway. Because nobody is allowed to think it through to the bitter end. They will come up with something "reasonably logical" to the many open answers like the one Evelyn keeps asking ... how did the Palestinian perpetrators (assuming that they were Palestinians in the first place) go in and out and in again in this heavily guarded area? Must have been invisible ...

Gideon Levy points out the same as I did in another related forum: The mothers of the three teenagers had immediate access to the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva and spoke in front of the whole assembly. How many of the Hundreds of Palestinian mothers had the same opportunity? N O N E!

That should tell us how much worth the life of a Palestinian child has ... or a Palestinian as such for that matter ...

Meantime we have a Palestinian teenager killed in Jerusalem after being abducted, tortured and killed and a 9yr old girl who was run over by a settler car and is heavily injured - anyone bothered to even just know their names? No ...

Roger G (154)
Wednesday July 2, 2014, 2:54 pm
noted, thanks

Janis K (126)
Wednesday July 2, 2014, 5:48 pm
Thanks for sharing David

Margaret Goodman (243)
Wednesday July 2, 2014, 6:17 pm
The United States version of the Israeli administrative detention is Guatanamo. I believe that the Patriot Act allows this terrible situation. Power tends to corrupt, and, unfortunately, neither the United States nor Israel are exempt.

fly bird (26)
Wednesday July 2, 2014, 10:26 pm
The BBC's Christian Fraser spoke to a mother in East Jerusalem who called for an end to what has been described as a "cycle of violence".

Past Member (0)
Thursday July 3, 2014, 4:01 am
It's quite clear that children are used by both sides in order to gain sympathy, and that is just wrong, plus I remember a study last year that highlighted the fact the characterization of “the other” as “negative” occurred 49 percent of the time in Israeli textbooks and 84 percent of the time in their Palestinian equivalents, that both sides characterized the other as “the enemy” more than 75% of the time. There's something about teaching children to hate that seems counterproductive..

Alan Lambert (91)
Thursday July 3, 2014, 7:34 am
To whom?

Birgit W (160)
Thursday July 3, 2014, 3:22 pm
John S. says it all. It is shameful to use children.
Sadly noted.

lisa O (6)
Thursday July 3, 2014, 4:23 pm
We must end all support for Israel. They have nuclear weapons as well which should exempt them from US aid.

Sheri Schongold (7)
Thursday July 3, 2014, 4:39 pm
Natasha, if you have ever lived in a Nazi country, then you must be one yourself. Israel is not Nazi in any way shape or form. They are just fighting to keep their homeland and to stay alive. It sounds to me that you don't want Israel to exist. Children are equal, but when Israeli children are picked on, there will be retaliation. That doesn't make anyone a Nazi. When everyone in the world realizes that they are all equal, then the world will be better off. As far a children being killed, it happens every day, everywhere. Retaliation happens every day, everywhere. A life is a life.

. (0)
Thursday July 3, 2014, 4:45 pm
There is only one race and that is the human one of which all of us belong to. All children are equal and special. It is the religious and political ideologies that are used to keep us divided through hatred and violence and intolerance. Children form opinions through the socio/familial/economic influences they experience in everyday living. What are we teaching the children of the world with all of our materialism and violence and glorification of the grand illusion we call reality? There is enough blame, negative and dark energy on all sides of the fence to keep us enslaved for generations to come until we are no more. It is our choice.

fly bird (26)
Thursday July 3, 2014, 6:41 pm
Sheri -
"when Israeli children are picked on'...?
This kvetsch seems ingrained to draw attention ,sympathy, gain allies...

Israeli children are pawns and indoctrinated/brainwashed - the 'education' they receive is prejudicial, void of historical facts and impartiality.
Fear is planted and bolstered in Israeli culture, voices of dissent or questioning society is discouraged and can result in ostracism; media is silenced. Although things are beginning to change, slowly, there is still ample disinformation and bias in Jewish/Israeli media, with respect to Palestinians and Israel's actions.

I lost my message; maybe, I'll come back to it>

Candy Carr (16)
Thursday July 3, 2014, 9:07 pm
Thnk u for sharing

Maria Teresa Schollhorn (42)
Friday July 4, 2014, 1:26 am
Of course all lives have equal value! Thanke you David.

Winn Adams (179)
Friday July 4, 2014, 7:05 am
This is a tragedy and all lives of all children are of equal value no matter where they live or what race or nationality they are.

Kate Kenner (215)
Friday July 4, 2014, 12:20 pm
They certainly should. I the end they are kids and so what is the difference? no kid should ever be more important because of what side of the war they are on.

Ben O (171)
Saturday July 5, 2014, 11:50 am
"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite"
(Nelson Mandela)


Past Member (0)
Saturday July 5, 2014, 12:55 pm
Sheri, I completely agree. Israeli civilian children are deliberately fired upon, but the Palestinian *children*, many not more than 10yrs old, are given weapons and expected to act as soldiers or strapped with bombs for suicide missions as the Palestinians know Israelis won't fire on women and children except in self-defense.
Natasha, that was one of the most ugly, disgusting, offensive statements I've heard in a very long time. I never would have expected it from you.
jess, don't bother with Yiddishisms unless you use them properly.

David B (29)
Saturday July 5, 2014, 2:51 pm
"Sheri, I completely agree. Israeli civilian children are deliberately fired upon" ?
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