Israel's crimes against children

What to expect from a regime which strafes schools with phosphorous, whose troops point guns in the faces of children and whose representatives admit that a Palestinian child is a potential terrorist? The UNO has now entered the fray telling Israel to treat its child detainees according to the law.

Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights questions in the occupied Palestinian territories has lashed out at Israel's policy of detaining Palestinian children in solitary confinement. He declares in a news release: "Israel's use of solitary confinement against children flagrantly violates international human rights standards. However, using solitary confinement as a punishment for Palestinian children who wish to peacefully protest their situation, including by commencing a hunger strike against conditions of detention, is an appalling abuse of child prisoners. I again condemn Israel's harsh arrest operations and procedures."

Richard Falk is not the only one to criticise Israel's appalling human rights abuses against children. Ambassador Palitha T.B. Kohona of Sri Lanka, Chairperson of the UN Special Committee on Israeli practices in the Occupied Territories recently went on a fact-finding mission to Jordan, Egypt and the Gaza Strip, was equally horrified at Israel's practice of using solitary confinement as a policy against child detainees.

"According to testimony received, Israel uses solitary confinement against 12 per cent of Palestinian child detainees," he said, adding "This is especially troubling when one considers that Israel arrests about 500 to 700 Palestinian children every year."

Quoting witnesses, he continued: "Witnesses informed the Committee that mistreatment of Palestinian children starts from the moment of detention. Large numbers are routinely detained. Children's homes are surrounded by Israeli soldiers late at night, sound grenades are fired into the houses, doors are broken down, live shots are often fired; no warrant is presented. Children are tightly bound, blindfolded and forced into the backs of military vehicles."

Parents are not, according to the UN Special Committee, allowed to accompany their detained children, the families are abused, insulted, intimidated and even assaulted. The Special Rapporteur describes Israel's practices as "grave, inhumane, cruel, degrading and unlawful" and states it is likely to affect the mental health of the detainees.

How Israel expects to gain respect from such barbaric practices defies logic. The list just goes on and on and on and on and on and western countries, particularly the USA, turn a blind eye. This says very little about them all while speaking volumes about them at the same time.

Perhaps the Israeli authorities would like to read the Convention on the Right of the Child

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey


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Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey