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Miko Peled, "The General's Son": Ahed Tamimi Stood Up to Israel While the Rest of the World Bows

World  (tags: Miko Peled, Israeli peace activist, Palestine, human rights, Israel, occupation, oppression, children's rights, Ahed Tamimi, abuse, protection )

- 429 days ago -
The truth is: We all failed her. If we had been vigilant, if we stood and cried louder, and if the world did not allow Israel to abuse Palestine and its children for seven decades, Ahed would not have had to kick the soldiers out of her house


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Evelyn B (63)
Sunday January 14, 2018, 12:13 pm
Reminder for those who might have forgotten - Miko Peled: "The General's Son", son of an Israeli military hero, uncle of Smadar, a young girl killed in a Palestinian suicide attack - who, together with his sister (mother of Smadar) Nurit Peled-Elhanan, came round to actively standing up for Palestinian human rights, recognising that Israeli oppression and abuse is at the root of much of the trouble, cause of Smadar's death etc ...

Ahed Tamimi Stood Up to Israel While the Rest of the World Bows

It is one thing to salute Ahed Tamimi’s bravery and turn her into a heroine du jour, but real respect for her courage would be to make sure that neither she nor other oppressed and abused Palestinian children have to continue to face Israeli oppression alone and unaided.

January 04th, 2018

By Miko Peled

NABI SALEH, PALESTINE (Op-ed) — One can barely go for half a day on social media without seeing new iconic images of Ahed Tamimi. Everyone who ever posed with her for a photo is posting, and some very creative art is being made of her almost by the minute.

But the truth is that we all failed her. Even those of us who regularly visit the village of Nabi Saleh and march with the people of the village to protest the Israeli oppression, though we cough and gag from the tear gas and we stink from the skunk water, and though some of us are arrested from time to time — we have all failed her.

We failed Ahed, just as we failed her young uncles Mostafa and Roshdy who were killed; and her cousin Mohammad who was shot in the head a week before her arrest, and miraculously survived; and just like we failed countless other Palestinian children who have been shot, arrested and tortured by Israeli forces for over seven decades.

If we had been vigilant, if we stood and cried louder, and if the world did not allow Israel to abuse Palestine and its children for seven decades, Ahed would not have had to kick the soldiers out of her house. No child should be alone and have to defend her home from armed, violent men as the rest of the world idly watches.

Many will recall the video from August of 2015, where Ahed’s brother, who had a broken arm at the time, is being chased down a rocky hillside by an Israeli soldier carrying a semi-automatic rifle and wearing a ski mask. When the soldier catches up with the boy he picks him up then violently throws him on the ground and visibly tries to break the boy’s healthy arm. The boy was terrified and in terrible pain and even then, none of us were there to defend him. His sister Ahed, his mother, his aunt and other women from the village — all unarmed, all risking their lives — fought off the soldier and saved the boy.

On December 7, 2017 images and a video were published of a young Palestinian boy in Hebron being led, handcuffed and blindfolded, by some 20 armed infantry soldiers. The boy is 17-year-old Fawzi Aljunaid. His shoulder fractured, Fawzi was eventually released after paying $2,800 bail. Where were we and where was the world when he was thus abused, and why do we allow the Israeli authorities to profit from such abuse?

According to a report published by Addameer, the Palestinian Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, approximately 700 Palestinian children under the age of 18 from the occupied West Bank are prosecuted every year through Israeli military courts. Since 2000, more than 12,000 Palestinian children have been detained, the most common charge against them being throwing stones, a charge that now carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison — or 20 years if the state can show proof of intent.

The prohibition against torture . . . is universal and absolute

In February of 2013, UNICEF, the United Nations International Children’s Fund, published a report titled “Children in Israeli Military Detention.” The executive summary states:

“[The report] concludes that the ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process, from the moment of arrest until the child’s prosecution and eventual conviction and sentencing. It is understood that in no other country are children systematically tried by juvenile military courts that, by definition, fall short of providing the necessary guarantees to ensure respect for their rights.”

UNICEF, has been gathering information on what it calls “grave violations committed against Palestinian children by Israeli authorities” since 2007. The report further states that for “many years” there have been claims of “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment” of Palestinian children by Israeli authorities. UNICEF further states that “International law prohibits the use of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment under any circumstances,” and that “the prohibition is absolute and unconditional.”

While all that is needed for the protection of children is already stated in international law, in the case of Palestinian children there is no recourse and no authority to force Israel to comply with that law. As in other matters, on the issue of mistreatment of child prisoners, Israel is getting away with severe violations of international law. This is true even though there is a 1999 decision of the Israeli Supreme Court, legally binding on the Israeli military courts, which prohibits torture: Public Committee Against Torture in Israel and others v. The State of Israel (1999) 53 (4) PD 81 (“The Torture Ruling”). The ruling includes all interrogation performed by Israeli authorities, not limited by territory, and refers to Israeli Security Agency interrogations in particular.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child has stated that state parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child should establish separate facilities for children deprived of their liberty — including distinct, child-centred staff, personnel, policies and practices — but the Israeli military court uses the same facilities and court staff for minors as it does for the adult military court. In September 2009, in response to documentation regarding the prosecution of children as young as 12 in adult military courts, Israel did establish a juvenile military court — the only one in the world. However, the staff that operates this court is the same staff that operates the adult court — and the facilities are also the same.

Before a detained child is put to trial, he or she go through a process that is harrowing in itself.

It typically starts with being aggressively awakened in the middle of the night by armed soldiers. The soldiers invade the home, forcing all family members to stand outside in their night clothes while they search the house. The search often includes destroying furniture, throwing the family’s belongings on the ground and breaking windows. Then the child will be blindfolded, handcuffed and shackled, as he or she is taken away to an interrogation center. Children are rarely informed of their right to an attorney or the right to remain silent, and parents are rarely informed as to where the child is being taken, why, or for how long.

Signing a confession in a foreign language

Most children confess at the end of the interrogation, either because they have been advised that ‘confessing’ is their only way out of the military detention system or as a result of being implicated in a confession given by another child. The child will be shown a form in Hebrew and ordered to sign it. Palestinian children do not learn Hebrew and, even if they speak it, they are not fully literate and able to understand legal documents.

While Ahed Tamimi is being praised for her courage and even idealized as a heroine of the resistance — her very actions should be seen as an accusation of all of us. We should have protected her and her family. The courage that she displayed points up the lack of courage by the rest of the world to stand up to Israel.

Freya H (345)
Sunday January 14, 2018, 1:08 pm
More and more people are waking up to this inconvenient truth: Israel is a rogue nation ruthlessly and brutally committing ethnic cleansing. When South Africa trampled blacks, the whole world demanded justice. But when Israel crushes Palestinians - sometimes literally - we bow and scrape before the golden calf.

Peggy B (43)
Sunday January 14, 2018, 1:12 pm

Evelyn B (63)
Sunday January 14, 2018, 1:14 pm
**************************************************** Freya
Sadly - too true

Barb K (1687)
Sunday January 14, 2018, 2:01 pm
TYFS Evelyn

fahad Al fahad (140)
Sunday January 14, 2018, 2:13 pm
The writer has fulfilled all that can be said Ahed Tamimi hero stood in the face of the Zionist occupation while the whole world bows to Israel and Arab leaders traitor silent on their chairs afraid

Carrie B (306)
Sunday January 14, 2018, 2:51 pm
Shared. Thank you, Evelyn.

Animae C (507)
Sunday January 14, 2018, 3:25 pm

TY Evelyn

fly bird (26)
Sunday January 14, 2018, 5:02 pm
fahad is right; Miko Peled said what is necessary, sadly, to say.

people of the world- get up, stand up!
Stand up for Ahed and her family's rights, all Palestinian human rights.
Stop Israeli occupation forces (IOF), and end all U.S. aid to Israel.

Boycott, divest and sanction, now!
Contact your elected officials.
End the occupation, and siege of Gaza!!

BDS, yes!!

fly bird (26)
Sunday January 14, 2018, 5:16 pm
Empire Files: Abby Martin Meets Ahed Tamimi—Message From A Freedom Fighter.

Published on Jan 10, 2018

Recently, the struggle for Palestinian human rights gained international attention surrounding a new icon of resistance--16 year old Ahed Tamimi.

While in the West Bank in late 2016, Abby Martin interviewed Ahed Tamimi about her hardships and aspirations living under occupation and it becomes clear why her subjugators are trying to silence her voice. Her brother Waad and father Bassem also talk about their experiences with Israeli soldiers harassing their village and targeting their family.

In this exclusive episode, Abby outlines the Tamimi family's tragic tale and unending bravery in the fight for justice and equality in Palestine and how the story of their village of Nabi Saleh is emblematic of the Palestinian struggle as a whole.

FOLLOW // @EmpireFiles // @AbbyMartin // @telesurenglish


fly bird (26)
Sunday January 14, 2018, 5:32 pm
Jewish Defense League beat Palestinian protesters at AIPAC (Mar 26, 2017)

Mar 29, 2017

Members of the JDL outside the AIPAC convention in Washington DC beating an older Palestinian man with flagpoles, and attacking members of IfNotNow who were protesting AIPAC. (Video courtesy of JDL Watch)

Colleen L (3)
Sunday January 14, 2018, 5:33 pm
Agree with Freya. Thanks Evelyn

Shirley S (187)
Sunday January 14, 2018, 5:43 pm
Petition please.

Sheryl G (359)
Monday January 15, 2018, 4:55 am
I like Miko Peled's writing, I remember it by the General's Son. Freya and Fahad covered well in their remarks. Thank you for posting Evelyn, I wish there were more like you and Jess in the world, then maybe as Miko had said, "Ahed would not have had to kick the soldiers out of her house." All she wants to do is have a childhood, where she was born, go to school, and one day cast her eyes on the sea.

Lona G (66)
Monday January 15, 2018, 7:46 am
Sadly all these courageous actions and writings are overshadowed by the mad twittering of a racist foul mouth who is Israels biggest ally at this moment. Fortunately Trump's downfall could also mean the downfall for his pea-in-the pod Netanyahu; we can only hope for all Palestinians that this downfall comes very soon.

Evelyn B (63)
Monday January 15, 2018, 11:40 am
*************************** Lona & Dandelion -

Evelyn B (63)
Monday January 15, 2018, 12:19 pm
Ahed is not the only child trying to get a Palestinian voice heard ...
The voice of resistance in Palestine is an 11-year-old.

fly bird (26)
Sunday January 21, 2018, 10:11 am
Israeli military court refuses to release Ahed Tamimi
17 January 2018

An Israeli military court has refused to release Ahed Tamimi, a 16-year-old girl.

In a hearing Wednesday, Israeli occupation authorities sought that Ahed and her mother Nariman Tamimi remain in detention for another 101 days, until the end of proceedings.

Ahed’s trial will begin on 31 January, the day she turns 17.

Israel’s military courts deny basic due process rights and notoriously have a near-100 percent conviction rate for Palestinians.

Concerned by Israel’s systematic abuses, 20 members of Congress are backing legislation to ban Israel from using US aid for the military detention, abuse and torture of children like Ahed Tamimi.

Nariman’s trial will begin on 6 February, her husband Bassem Tamimi wrote on Facebook.

The Tamimis’ defense attorney, Gaby Lasky, demanded their immediate release, which the Israeli military court rejected.

Bassem Tamimi, Ahed’s father, also wrote that his wife Nariman suffers from a stress disorder and diabetes, exacerbated by the low quality and quantity of food in prison.

He added that Ahed and Nariman are constantly transported between detention centers, an arduous and painful process for prisoners.

“Ahed is transported with criminals who intimidate her with threats and insults,” Bassem stated.

He added that his wife and daughter are still in good form, despite their ordeal.

“While in jail, my daughter Ahed informed us that she studies [for] four classes from her school curriculum, and she read two books outside the curriculum. She additionally asked us all to focus on every imprisoned woman and child and to work towards a campaign to highlight their cases.”

There are currently 350 Palestinian children and 58 women in Israeli detention, according to prisoners rights group Addameer.

This tweet shows a letter written by Nariman to her family. She writes that “we remain resilient” behind bars.

Ahed was arrested in a night raid days after she and her cousin Nour attempted to remove two Israeli soldiers from the family’s property after a soldier shot another cousin, 15-year-old Muhammad Fadel Tamimi, in the head causing him serious injuries.

Ahed was seen in a video filmed by her mother, Nariman, slapping and shoving one of the heavily armed men.

The Israeli military filed 12 charges against Ahed on 1 January.

If convicted on charges that include throwing stones, incitement and assaulting and threatening a soldier, the 16-year-old could remain in Israeli prisons for years.

In a video from Ahed’s hearing on Monday, a reporter asks Ahed if she is proud of what she did, to which she replies smiling that she is.

Ahed’s mother Nariman is facing charges of “incitement” for livestreaming the incident with the soldiers.

Collective punishment

Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman is enforcing collective punishment on the Tamimi family and their village of Nabi Saleh in the occupied West Bank.

Israel has declared Nabi Saleh a closed military zone to suppress demonstrations in support of the Tamimi family and other political prisoners.

Lieberman has also issued a military order to prevent Bassem Tamimi from traveling outside Palestine. And he has withdrawn about 20 Israeli work permits from Ahed’s relatives, according to the Ma’an News Agency.

“Dealing with Tamimi and her family has to be severe, exhaust all legal measures and generate deterrence,” Lieberman said, as reported by Samidoun, a group which supports Palestinian prisoners.

“There is justice in the military court,” Lieberman tweeted on Wednesday, welcoming the decision to keep Ahed locked up.

An Israeli military court also extended the detention of Ahed’s cousin Muhammad Bilal Tamimi until 25 January.

Muhammad, 19, was taken prisoner during a night raid on the village of Nabi Saleh on 11 January.

Israeli forces transferred Muhammad to solitary confinement in the Petah Tikva detention center near Tel Aviv.

Muhammad’s parents, Manal and Bilal Tamimi were unable to attend his hearing on 14 January because it was held in Israel, and they were denied entry for “security reasons,” according to Manal Tamimi’s update on Facebook.

Israel’s transfer of Palestinian detainees to prisons inside Israel is a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits “individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the occupying power.”

Night raids and killings

Israel arrested another eight children in an overnight raid on Tuesday.

They were all between the ages of 11 and 17, according to the Ma’an News Agency.

Israel also arrested a Palestinian child, Muhammad Samer Mansour, 14, in an overnight raid in Ramallah on 9 January.

On Tuesday, Israel killed Palestinian student leader and former prisoner Ahmad Abd al-Jaber Muhammad Salim, 28, during confrontations in Qalqiliya in the northern occupied West Bank on Tuesday.

Salim was a student at al-Quds Open University in Qalqiliya and the secretary of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s student bloc.

“Salim was critically injured in the head with a live bullet during clashes in his hometown of Jayyous before he succumbed to the wounds just minutes later,” the Ma’an News Agency reported.

Citing witnesses, Ma’an said that “Israeli soldiers opened fire at Salim from less than 20 meters away, and that forces prevented Palestinian ambulances from reaching him by firing tear gas at ambulances and paramedics.”

“Release her without delay”

The European Union’s office in Ramallah issued a “local” statement on 12 January expressing “concern” about the arrest of Ahed Tamimi and the killing of another child, 16-year-old Musab Tamimi, in the village of Deir Nitham on 3 January.

But the European Union’s embassy in Tel Aviv made no acknowledgement of the statement on its social media accounts.

Israel has killed three Palestinian children since the start of the year.

Amnesty International is calling for the immediate release of Ahed Tamimi.

“Nothing that Ahed Tamimi has done can justify the continuing detention of a 16-year-old girl,” the human rights organization said on Monday. “The Israeli authorities must release her without delay.”

fly bird (26)
Sunday January 21, 2018, 10:35 am
US media reverse Ahed Tamimi’s reality.
15 January 2018

When 16-year-old Palestinian Ahed Tamimi stood up to Israeli occupation soldiers, she couldn’t have known just how much of her story mainstream US media would cut away and twist.

Salient facts – like how Ahed has spent her entire life under military occupation and Israel’s near-fatal violence against her cousin – were either ignored outright or downplayed. Others – such as the indisputable reality that Palestinian land is being stolen by Israel – were treated as if they were simply matters of opinion.

Some in the US press even presented Ahed as the aggressor, rather than the Israeli forces she challenged through mild physical contact.

Ahed’s use of slapping, kicking and angry rhetoric received more attention from David M. Halbfinger in The New York Times and especially from Dana Dovey in Newsweek than the much more harmful Israeli resort to violence, theft and seemingly permanent occupation.

The shocking photo of Muhammad Fadel Tamimi – Ahed’s 15-year-old cousin – and his misshapen head published in a 5 January Haaretz article by Gideon Levy and Alex Levac stands in stark contrast to the solitary sentence Halbfinger allotted Muhammad’s shooting in a 22 December article one week after the confrontation.

Halbfinger dispenses with Muhammad’s severe injury by stating in the 13th paragraph: “The latest incident, filmed in the family’s backyard, occurred within hours after a cousin of Ms. Tamimi’s was shot in the face with a rubber bullet, and it was streamed live on Facebook.”

Victim treated as insignificant

That’s it. There’s no mention of the fact Muhammad is a child. There’s no mention of the fact he had been in a coma. There’s not even a mention of his name.

He’s insignificant. Just another nameless Palestinian child seriously injured by Israeli forces, a routine Palestinian injury in Halbfinger’s eyes. The terror of Muhammad’s harrowing trip to hospital through an Israeli checkpoint warrants not a line.

Instead, Halbfinger reduces the day’s encounter to an Israeli debate over the wisdom of trespassing Israeli soldiers not forcefully responding to a child’s mild physical provocations on her family’s property against intrusive occupation forces. For “balance,” internal Palestinian debate is also provided.

After the brief reference to Ahed’s cousin, paragraph 14 in The New York Times makes the reactionary case against Ahed.

“Right-wing activists demanded the teenager’s arrest. Israel’s education minister, Naftali Bennett, said Ms. Tamimi and the other women who scuffled with the soldiers alongside her – her mother and an older cousin – ‘should finish their lives in prison.’”

Reference to the “other women” suggests Halbfinger regards Ahed as an adult rather than a child in the grip of an occupying army. Halbfinger fails to expose Naftali Bennett’s hypocrisy. While Bennett, leader of the Jewish Home Party wants life imprisonment for Ahed Tamimi, he argued in October 2016 that Israeli soldier Elor Azarya, who shot dead a seriously injured and incapacitated Palestinian in Hebron, “shouldn’t sit a single day in prison.”

Space was provided in The New York Times to Yossi Klein Halevi, a senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, to turn reality on its head by maintaining that “when you see yourself as under permanent siege, your greatest fear is the loss of deterrence.” Yet Israeli occupation forces control Palestinian movement from both Gaza and the West Bank, not the other way around. It is Palestinians, not Israelis, who have endured a decade-long siege in Gaza.

Finally, Halbfinger reduces Israeli theft of land and water to a Palestinian claim: “The Tamimis of Nabi Saleh and their frequent videos have drawn international attention to their tiny village and its long-running disputes with a nearby Israeli settlement, Halamish, that Nabi Saleh residents say has stolen their land and water.”

Yet this is verifiable theft and not merely a claim.

In fact, Ethan Bronner, then deputy foreign editor of The New York Times, acknowledged a similar concern in an email to me in 2005 when I complained that the illegality of settlements was not simply a Palestinian perspective, but one upheld by international law.

He wrote: “You make a legitimate point here. Calling Israeli settlements illegal is not something limited to Palestinians. Many important international bodies have done so. We will take note of that in future articles. Again, as I say, the paper has no position on the legality of the settlements but the fact that many others do is worth noting when we write about the issue. We have done so on occasion, but perhaps not often or clearly enough.”

This exchange led directly to the newspaper taking greater care to note that most of the international community regards settlements as illegal.

Likewise, The New York Times should take care to note that theft of Palestinian land is not just a Palestinian perspective.

How the newspaper will reference illegal settlements and land theft during the racist tenure of Donald Trump – particularly after his Jerusalem announcement of December – remains to be seen, though Halbfinger’s article offers reasons for concern.

Grotesque tweet

No critique of US media coverage of Ahed Tamimi’s encounter and subsequent arrest would be complete without examining Dana Dovey’s coverage for Newsweek. Newsweek advertised Dovey’s article with this grotesque tweet: “Despite her age, Ahed Tamimi has a long history of assault against police and soldiers.”

Twitter exploded in response.

Many responses rewrote the headline to reflect the reality of belligerent Israeli occupation:

Astonishingly, Dovey’s article did not refer once to the Israeli occupation, theft of land in Ahed’s village, the near deadly violence employed earlier in the day against Ahed’s cousin, or the deadly violence inflicted previously against Ahed’s family.

Dangerous environment

Poor reporting of this sort has a cumulative impact on the lives and security of Palestinian children. When journalists upend reality and suggest that children are a far bigger threat than heavily armed occupation soldiers it indicates to the Israeli military that there will not be a heavy cost to Israel’s image if soldiers use deadly force against Palestinians, including children.

It was in this environment that Musab Tamimi, a relative of Ahed, was shot dead on 3 January.

Another family member, 19-year-old Muhammad Bilal Tamimi, was abducted from his home and arrested during a night raid on 11 January. He is the fifth member of the extended Tamimi family to be arrested in the last month.

The abusive rhetoric Israeli politicians and pundits have directed at Ahed creates a dangerous environment for a child – whether imprisoned or “free” in occupied territory under oppressive military rule.

The message being sent to soldiers is that greater violence should be employed against her in future. This has had deadly consequences for many Palestinians.

The administration of Donald Trump clearly is not going to intervene (and it is unlikely that Barack Obama would have expressed concern if this had occurred during his presidency). The European Union generally saves its objections for the deaths of Israelis and is disconcertingly silent regarding Palestinian deaths.

Other actors, then, will have to speak up to make sure that the Israeli military is forewarned about the consequences of (further) violent action against Ahed.

Perhaps Betty McCollum, the most outspoken member of the US Congress in defense of Palestinian children, will prove the strongest voice on Ahed’s behalf.

fly bird (26)
Sunday January 21, 2018, 10:37 am
Lona is right - U.S. mainstream media have not brought this to the public, and have not covered events, here, accurately, or completely - if, at all!!!!

Shame on media bias!!

Barb SiteIssues V (202)
Sunday January 21, 2018, 10:50 am
Noted, Thank you

fly bird (26)
Tuesday January 23, 2018, 11:54 pm
We Jerusalem winter camp to tell kids about importance of Jerusalem and how to preserve its Palestinian identity.

Alrowwad culture and arts society launching today their winter camp under title “we Jerusalem” in Aida refugee camp south of Bethlehem to tell kids about the importance of Jerusalem and how to preserve its Palestinian identity from trying to Judaize epically after the latest US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Israeli occupation.

This camp, which coincides winter vocation, provided the opportunity for kids to use their free time in useful activities and training throughout the camp daily activities, and the group’s was named according the Jerusalem gates.

The first day contained sports and entertainment activities, and exercises in theater, musical, photography, radio recording, handwork, drawing, reading stories, and learning French and Spanish languages.

For his part, the founder and general director at Alrowwad “Abedelfattah Abusrour” said that Alrowwad society in her strategic plane for 2018 seeks to provide the safe environment for creativity, cultural, and artistic to reach society free of violence, especially in Aida camp, which has recently considered one of the most areas exposed to gas in the world.

Shahed ja’ara one of the participating children express about the importance of Jerusalem and historical of Al amood gate, during radio recording send a message to the international community about the identity of Jerusalem.

Another kid –yehia quar in Hebron gate group” said he had the first chance to learn “Dabka”.

Marie Quirynen one of Alrowwad volunteer’s said “that the experience of working with children in theater, playing even in French classes was one of the most wonderful experiences I’ve ever done” and left a positive and beautiful impact about Palestine, despite the difficult situation surrounding the place.

This winter camp “we Jerusalem” which included 55 children from Aida camp and surrounding area, one of specializes camp in training to growing the children’s abilities. Which continues until the end of the winter vacation.

fly bird (26)
Wednesday January 24, 2018, 12:12 am
ICC to Open Full Investigation into Settlements, 2014 War on Gaza.
January 9, 2018

The International Criminal Court in The Hague is planning on investigating Israeli leaders over Israeli settlement expansion in Jerusalem and West Bank, as well as the 2014 aggression on Gaza titled ‘Operation Protective Edge.’

According to a report by Channel 10 Monday evening, the Israeli National Security Council warned Israeli lawmakers in the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the international court is planning on opening an investigation later this year into the 2014 war with Hamas, as well settlements in the West Bank.

PNN further reports that prosecutors at the International Criminal Court, at the behest of the Palestinian Authority, have opened cursory examinations in both matters, but NSC officials fear the preliminary probe will be raised to a full-blown investigation sometime in 2018, raising concerns the court could try Israeli officials for alleged “war crimes”, based on the complaints issued by the Palestinian Authority.

The deadly 2014 war on Gaza killed over 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza, approximately a quarter of whom were children, and left at least 11,000 permanently wounded. On the Israeli side, 74 were killed, 68 of them soldiers.

09/02/14 VIDEO: Gaza City’s Devastated Al-Shuja’eyya Suburb

fly bird (26)
Wednesday January 24, 2018, 12:42 am
DCIP Year in Review: Worst Abuse Cases Against Palestinian Children in 2017. VIDEO
January 19, 2018

Last year marked 50 years of Israeli military occupation, with no signs of abatement in Palestinian children’s vulnerability to injury and abusive military arrest in the West Bank. Rapidly devolving living conditions in the Gaza Strip put in jeopardy the most basic human rights, as children became collateral damage in an internal Palestinian political standoff.

Israeli forces’ misuse of crowd control weapons caused critical and permanent injuries to some children while others endured ill-treatment amid high rates of military detention. An electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip led to the most severe downturn in the ongoing humanitarian crisis since Israel imposed a military blockade a decade ago, with hefty repercussions to children’s rights to clean water and health.

Israeli military and police brutality

Israeli forces killed 14 children in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) during 2017, according to Defense for Children International – Palestine documentation. In addition, nine-year-old Mohammad Abu Hdaf died on December 6 due to injuries sustained during an Israeli drone strike in the Gaza Strip in 2014.

Five children were killed by live ammunition during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Five more children accused of committing some kind of attack also sustained fatal gunshot wounds.

Israeli forces shot four Palestinian teenager inside a car on March 23 during unclear circumstances near the Israeli settlement of Bet El, north of the West Bank city of Ramallah. Mohammad Khattab, 17, died on the spot, and Jasem Nakhleh, 16, succumbed to his wounds 18 days later. The two others sustained serious injuries, but survived.

An Israeli military statement confirmed “hits,” according to local media, but claimed that the children were shot outside their car, while throwing explosives toward the settlement.

Under the condition of anonymity, a witness told DCIP that Mohammad was shot when he got out of his stalled car near Bet El settlement, to push it. Mohammad jumped back into the car to try to escape, but the car did not start, according to DCIP’s source. The witness said Israeli soldiers then approached the car and opened fire on all four children.

Israeli forces routinely employ the use of excessive force and intentional lethal force in situations not justified by international norms, which in some incidents may amount to extrajudicial or wilful killings, according to documentation collected by DCIP.

International law requires that intentional lethal force be used only when absolutely unavoidable where there is a threat to life or serious injury. Where individuals allegedly carry out a criminal act, they should be apprehended in accordance with international law and afforded due process of law.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported at least 961 child injuries at the hands of Israeli forces between in 2017.

At the time of publication, DCIP had documented 61 child injuries by Israeli forces from a mix of live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets, and crowd control weapons in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and 28 in the Gaza Strip in 2017. Of these cases, 33 children sustained injuries to the upper body from crowd control weapons, in some cases causing irreversible damage.

Crowd control weapons are only “less lethal” when fired at the lower body, from a distance of 50 to 60 meters (164 to 197 feet) and not aimed at children, as stipulated by Israel’s own military regulations.

Israeli forces shot at least two children in the face with rubber-coated metal bullets and two children in the head with tear gas canisters during a two-week period in December alone.

An Israeli soldier on December 15 shot Mohammad Tamimi, 15, in the face at close range with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the West Bank town of Nabi Saleh. The bullet lodged in the back of his skull and caused severe bleeding in his brain.

Days before, 14-year-old Mohammad al-Farani was hit in the face with a tear gas canister shot by Israeli forces from a military watchtower 50 meters (55 yards) away on the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. He suffered a fractured cheekbone, head gash, internal bleeding in the brain, and permanent loss of his right eye.

The injuries took place as Israeli authorities used excessive force to quash widespread protests that erupted across the OPT following the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6. Heightened violence was ongoing as the year came to a close.

Evidence collected by DCIP also showed that Palestinian children in East Jerusalem were particularly vulnerable to misuse of black sponge-tipped plastic bullets by Israeli forces.

Jerusalem residents Nour al-Din Mustafa, 13, and Tareq Mohammad, 15, suffered permanent eye loss after being hit with black sponge-tipped plastic bullets. Neither children was involved in confrontations at the time of injury.

Accountability is extremely rare in cases where Israeli forces are accused of committing crimes against Palestinian children. Israeli rights group Yesh Dinreported that of 186 internal investigations into Israeli soldiers accused of harming Palestinians in 2015, only 3.1 percent of cases yielded an indictment.

Among Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces in recent years, only one incident, the fatal shooting of Nadeem Nawara, 17, in May 2014, has resulted in both an investigation and indictment.

Children in Israeli military custody

Between February and November, an average of 310 Palestinian children were in the Israeli prison system each month for “security offences,” according to Israel Prison Service (IPS) data. Among them were an average of 60 children between the ages of 12 and 15. The IPS does not release the yearly total number of incarcerated Palestinian children and has stopped consistently releasing monthly data since May 2016.

Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes an estimated 500 to 700 children each year in military courts lacking fundamental fair trial rights. Children within the Israeli military system commonly report physical and verbal abuse from the moment of their arrest, and coercion and threats during interrogations.

Large-scale demonstrations, marches and clashes throughout the West Bank following U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to publicly recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December corresponded with a spike in the number of Palestinian child detainees.

Louay al-Mansi, a Palestinian prisoner in charge of juveniles at Israel’s Ofer military prison, told DCIP that some 78 children arrived in December, more than doubling the number of child detainees to be newly incarcerated in the military facility from the month before.

Among those held in Ofer was 16-year-old Fawzi J., detained in the southern West Bank city of Hebron on December 7. He told DCIP lawyer Farah Bayadsi that by the time he arrived to interrogation, one of his shoes had been kicked off and he had been repeatedly beaten and verbally abused for nearly two hours.

“When I arrived at the checkpoint, I remember my face bleeding, mostly my lips because of the beating. They took me to a room, knocked me down to the floor and began kicking me all over my body,” Fawzi said a sworn testimony.

Fawzi told DCIP lawyer Farah Bayadsi of the extreme pain in his right shoulder, prompting her to demand a medical check-up on December 25 that confirmed a fractured shoulder sustained during his arrest. Late on December 27, Fawzi was released on 10,000 shekels (around US$2,900) bail and a third-party bond in the same amount. DCIP filed a complaint over his ill-treatment while in Israeli military detention.

DCIP collected affidavits from 137 West Bank children detained and prosecuted under the jurisdiction of Israeli military courts in 2017. The data shows that 74.5 percent of children endured some form of physical violence following arrest and 62 percent were verbally abused, intimidated, or humiliated.

Of the 137 children, 26 were held in solitary confinement for interrogation purposes for an average period of 12 days. The longest period of isolation for a child that DCIP documented in 2017 was 23 days.

At least five Palestinian minors were placed in administrative detention in 2017, a form of imprisonment based on secret evidence without charge or trial. Of these, three were released without charge after a period of two to seven months, leaving two still in administrative detention at year’s end. Another teenager placed under administrative detention in August 2016 when 17 years old, spent his 18th month in prison without charge or trial.

Israel has placed a total of 25 Palestinian minors in administrative detentionsince October 2015 when it renewed the practice against individuals under the age of 18.

International juvenile justice standards, which Israel has obliged itself to implement by ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1991, demand that children should not be deprived of their liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time.

Children in Palestinian detention

Palestinian security forces in the West Bank exhibited patterns of abuse against Palestinian children detained in 2017.

DCIP investigation into child detentions by Palestinian security forces showed they carried out arbitrary detentions through a non-transparent process rife with rights violations, including the use of solitary confinement and torture.

DCIP obtained information on 16 West Bank children arbitrarily detained by Palestinian security services other than the police in 2017, all except four at the hands of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service.

In one of the cases DCIP documented, the Preventive Security Service held a 17-year-old from Nablus in solitary confinement for three days in September, interrupted by physically abusive interrogation sessions without the presence of a lawyer or family member.

“I could not bear to stay in that facility, and I was thinking of a way to put pressure on them to let me out,” the teenager told DCIP in a sworn testimony. “I found a small metal object on the window, and I used it to make several cuts on my left forearm.”

The interrogators accused the teenager of manufacturing a weapon and possessing a pistol. “They shouted at me and threatened to hit me,” the teenager told DCIP. “In one session, [one of the interrogators] slapped me around 20 times on my neck.”

After an estimated 70 hours in detention at the Preventive Security headquarters in Nablus, the teenager was released.

The Palestinian Authority is legally obligated to abide by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which it ratified in 2014, and the Palestinian juvenile protection law passed in 2016.

While signing these safeguards indicated progress in Palestinian Authority’s treatment of children, violations documented by DCIP in 2017 indicate gaps in fully aligning domestic juvenile legal framework and its implementation with international standards.

The juvenile protection law was only implemented in the West Bank owing to the political division between the Hamas-led government in the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority. Accordingly, Gazan children remain subject to the outdated British Juvenile Offenders Ordinance of 1938.

DCIP documentation showed that children in conflict with the law in the Gaza Strip are also at severe risk of rights violations and ill-treatment, including torture, during detention.

Based on six cases documented by DCIP in 2017, three children endured torture during police interrogations. A fourth child was reportedly physically abused by police station guards and adult prisoners with whom he was forced to share a cell, prompting the boy’s suicide attempt and resulting death on September 22.

Downward spiral in the Gaza Strip

While the Gaza Strip began the year already entrenched in a humanitarian crisis, 2017 brought new threats to children’s human rights, especially at the peak of the electricity crisis.

Political divisions between rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas, along with taxation disputes, contributed to a serious degradation in children’s right to health, including clean water and medical care.

The Fatah-led Palestinian Authority stopped payments for a portion of the Gaza Strip’s electricity supply, bringing electricity levels to an all time low. Electricity shortages decreased children’s access to basic and emergency care, also increasing wait times for specialized medical services and surgeries. Without power, children with illnesses and disabilities reliant on medical equipment struggled to charge and use their equipment.

Around the same period, the Palestinian Authority pulled funding from the Gaza Strip’s already decimated health sector and local news outlets reported 30 to 70 percent cuts to Gazan civil servant salaries.

Reconciliation efforts started in October between the rival factions reached an impasse at the end of the year. UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities Robert Piper said in a statement that “most of the measures adopted by the Palestinian Authority since March 2017, which triggered the latest deterioration in the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, are yet to be reversed.”

During the course of 2017, both Israeli and Palestinian authorities prevented children from exiting Gaza for medical treatment by denying or delaying patients’ applications.

DCIP documented 12 Palestinian children from the Gaza Strip who died as a result of inadequate access to health care, including poor hospital conditions, low availability of specialized treatments, or as a result of being delayed or denied treatment abroad. Of this number, nine were infants and eight were less than two weeks old.

Six of the children who died received no response, were delayed, or denied medical referrals from the Ramallah-based Service Purchasing Unit (SPU), previously known as the Referral Abroad Department. Without this referral, patients cannot complete the process of applying for medical treatment outside of the Gaza Strip.

Two children, age 4 and 17, died after Israeli authorities delayed permission for children to exit the Gaza Strip through the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing for medical treatment.

Children’s right to health also suffered because of a marked decrease in the availability of clean water. Nearly one million children living in the Gaza Strip are facing an acute disaster around water and sanitation standards, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund.

These deteriorating conditions took place against a backdrop of an already struggling health care system, caused in part by a decade of Israeli military blockade, joined by Egypt for much of that period, and repeated Israeli assaults.

Israel launched airstrikes in the Gaza Strip on a near-daily basis during the last three weeks of 2017 and Palestinian armed groups fired rockets from the Gaza Strip during escalations following U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

School program reduces child recruitment risk

In a positive move for children’s rights in the Gaza Strip, government-run schools removed military-style drills from their Futuwwa, or youth, programs that focus on civics and health.

A DCIP 2014 investigation found strong links between the school-based Futuwwa program and highly attended winter camps hosted by Palestinian armed groups, which took place off school premises.

Following amendments to government school programs in 2017, neither the Futuwwa program nor the summer and winter camps appeared to constitute child recruitment under international standards. DCIP, however, remained deeply concerned at the potential of the program and the camps to serve as vehicles for future recruitment.

DCIP in 2017 found no evidence that children in the Gaza Strip were being used or recruited by Palestinian armed groups for any role in armed conflict, in the context of these programs. However, pervasive poverty keeps children vulnerable to recruitment and other forms of child labor.

Palestinian child bill gathers Congressional support

DCIP lead efforts to support the first-ever bill in U.S. Congress focused on Palestinian human rights, specifically grave human rights violations against Palestinian child detainees. The bill, titled Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act or H.R. 4391, prohibits U.S. financial assistance to Israel from being used to support the ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children in military detention.

The bill, which was introduced by Rep. Betty McCollum on November 14, had 19 co-sponsors by year’s end. The aim is to establish, as a minimum safeguard, a U.S. demand for basic due process rights for Palestinian children under Israeli military detention. This extends to an absolute prohibition against the torture and ill-treatment of detained minors, in keeping with both U.S. and international law.

The bill falls in line with concerns long recorded by the U.S. Department of State. In March, for the 10th consecutive year, the annual report on Israel made note of the prevalence of ill-treatment toward Palestinian children and Israeli military courts’ denial of their fair trial rights.
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