How Israel Treats Palestinian Children

gaza, Palestinian Children

This article was last updated on November 22, 2023

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How Israel Treats Palestinian Children

While politicians and the mainstream media vilify and prosecute Hamas for its kidnapping of Israeli citizens, one examination of the treatment of human beings, particularly children, in Israel/Palestine sheds a different light on the actions of the “terrorists” who are currently the target of massive Israeli bombardments.


To set the stage for this posting, it is important to consider that of the 2.9 million Palestinians living in the West Bank, 45 percent are children under the age of 18.  These children are highly vulnerable to prosecution by Israel with between 500 and 700 Palestinian children being prosecuted annually.  According to a report by Save the Children, Palestinian children who find themselves in the unfortunate position of being detained by the Israeli military detention system are likely to face inhumane treatment, often for the “crime” of throwing stones at Israeli tanks and other heavily armed military vehicles.  Save the Children’s consultation found the following:


1.) 47 percent were denied contact with a lawyer.


2.) 52 percent were threatened with harm to their families.


3.) 81 percent suffered physical beatings


4.) 86 percent were subjected to strip searches


5.) 88 percent did not receive adequate and timely healthcare even when it was clearly requested


6.) 89 percent suffered verbal abuse


Additionally, up to half of the children detained reported that they were held in isolation or solitary confinement for periods of up to several weeks during which they were not allowed to see their families. 


Another study by the Defense for Children International have found the following issues among arrested Palestinian children:


1.) 73 percent experienced physical violence following arrest

2.) 95 percent were hand-tied

3.) 86 percent were blindfolded

4.) 49 percent were detained from their homes in the middle of the night

5.) 64 percent faced verbal abuse, humiliation, or intimidation

6.) 74 percent of children were not properly informed of their rights

7.) 96 percent were interrogated without the presence of a family member

8.) 20 percent were subject to stress positions

9.) 49 percent signed documents in Hebrew, a language most Palestinian children don’t understand

Palestinian children who are detained by Israel are not subject to the civilian justice system, rather, they are subject to military prosecution.  This is in clearly violation of international law and Israel finds itself standing out as the only nation in the world that prosecutes children in military courts automatically.  This, despite the fact that Israel actually ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991which, under Article 27, states that: 


States Parties shall ensure that:


(a) No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age;


(b) No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time;


(c) Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in a manner which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age. In particular, every child deprived of liberty shall be separated from adults unless it is considered in the child’s best interest not to do so and shall have the right to maintain contact with his or her family through correspondence and visits, save in exceptional circumstances;


(d) Every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance, as well as the right to challenge the legality of the deprivation of his or her liberty before a court or other competent, independent and impartial authority, and to a prompt decision on any such action.


…and, under Article 40:


1. States Parties recognize the right of every child alleged as, accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal law to be treated in a manner consistent with the promotion of the child’s sense of dignity and worth, which reinforces the child’s respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of others and which takes into account the child’s age and the desirability of promoting the child’s reintegration and the child’s assuming a constructive role in society.


Every child alleged as or accused of having infringed the penal law has at least the following guarantees:


(i) To be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law;


(ii) To be informed promptly and directly of the charges against him or her, and, if appropriate, through his or her parents or legal guardians, and to have legal or other appropriate assistance in the preparation and presentation of his or her defence;


(iii) To have the matter determined without delay by a competent, independent and impartial authority or judicial body in a fair hearing according to law, in the presence of legal or other appropriate assistance and, unless it is considered not to be in the best interest of the child, in particular, taking into account his or her age or situation, his or her parents or legal guardians;


(iv) Not to be compelled to give testimony or to confess guilt; to examine or have examined adverse witnesses and to obtain the participation and examination of witnesses on his or her behalf under conditions of equality;


(v) If considered to have infringed the penal law, to have this decision and any measures imposed in consequence thereof reviewed by a higher competent, independent and impartial authority or judicial body according to law;


(vi) To have the free assistance of an interpreter if the child cannot understand or speak the language used;


(vii) To have his or her privacy fully respected at all stages of the proceedings.


It would appear that from Israel’s perspective, the Convention on the Rights of the Child apply only to non-Palestinian children.


Since 2000, an estimated 10,000 Palestinian children have been detained by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and held in their military detention system.


Isnt’ it funny how you won’t see this reported on the Western mainstream media?  But then why would you expect Israel to treat the offspring of “human animals” with any sort of compassion?  If Israel is really trying to create the next generation of occupation resistance fighters, it would appear that their current treatment of Palestinian children will do and has done exactly that.

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