An Israeli soldier fired at a bag to terrorize a nine-year-old Palestinian after the boy was unable to open it, according to a new report.
Defence for Children International (DCI) in Palestine has published the report on Israel’s treatment of Palestinian children. The report - which covers the period of October 2002 to May 2012 – was submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on 4 June. The report presents facts about children who were killed or used as human shields as a result of the occupation. It highlights the situation of the children prosecuted in Israeli military courts or held in military detention. In addition, DCI reveals details about ill-treatment by Israeli forces and the increasing use of violence by settlers against Palestinian children.
The video above illustrates the behavior of Israeli soldiers and settlers towards Palestinian children. It was made in 2009 and tells the story of 16-year-old Jameel from occupied Hebron. Jameel testifies about his arrest by Israeli soldiers while he accompanied two electricians to his home. Jameel was beaten by the soldiers and taken blindfolded and handcuffed to a checkpoint nearby. He was forced to stand near the checkpoint while a group of 40 to 50 settlers threw stones and brutally beat him. When the soldier in command appeared, he released Jameel. However, he threatened Jameel not to talk about what had happened; otherwise he would personally kill Jameel.
In February, I reported in my blog post “Shabak tortures and ill-treats Palestinian detainees with impunity” about efforts to hold the Israeli secret service (Shabak) to account for its torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian detainees. In Accountability Still Denied, the Public Committee against Torture in Israel (PCATI) revealed how Israel has evaded criminal investigations into all 701 complaints of torture and ill-treatment.
One month later, I wrote about complaints about misbehavior towards Palestinian women detainees and prisoners. In my blog post ”Palestinian women testify about ill-treatment and torture during their arrest and interrogation,” I reported about two group complaints — filed by PCATI — addressing gender-specific types of ill treatment and torture.
This month, DCI has published a report to the UN, containing disturbing information about the ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children by Israeli forces and Shabak interrogators.
No trust in Israel
DCI has submitted 11 complaints on behalf of Palestinian children since 2009. PCATI experienced that the majority of detainees who reported torture or ill-treatment to PCATI’s lawyers refused to submit complaints to the Israeli authorities. According to PCATI, the victims have no trust in Israel’s mechanism of investigation or fear reprisals. The number of complaints is therefore no indication of the frequency of the misbehavior by Israeli forces. Instead, they give insight into the type of violence used against the children.
The complaints filed by DCI on behalf of the Palestinian children concern ill-treatment and torture by Israeli forces. Here are some details of the complaints as presented in DCI’s report.
Dua, aged 16, was forced at gunpoint by Israeli soldiers to search for a weapon during a raid on her house on 18 February 2010.
Ibrahim, aged 15, was arrested at 1:30 am on 25 May 2010. He reported that an interrogator in Gush Etzion attached a pair of car battery jump leads to his genitals and threatened to electrify the cable.
Ahmad R., aged 17, was arrested at 1:30 am on 20 May 2011. He was ordered out of the house with the rest of his family and made to strip naked in front of everybody and was then tied and blindfolded. Ahmad reported being beaten by soldiers inside a military vehicle.
Ahmad F., aged 15, was arrested from his family home at around 2:00 am on 6 July 2011. Amongst other things, he reported that soldiers placed food on his body and then brought a dog over to eat the food.
Rasheed, aged 16, was arrested by Israeli soldiers on 4 November 2011 and transferred to the Jalame facility, inside Israel. He reported being held in solitary confinement in a windowless cell for 13 days and being repeatedly interrogated whilst tied to a chair.
Mahmoud, aged 17, was arrested by Israeli soldiers on 10 March 2012, when he was walking beside a road near the village of Azzun, where he lives. He reported being ill-treated during the process of arrest, transfer and interrogation.
Mohammad H., aged 14, was arrested from his family home in East Jerusalem at 4:00 am on 15 March 2012. He reported being ill-treated during the process of arrest, transfer and interrogation by the Israeli authorities.
Sadem, aged 16, was arrested while he was grazing sheep with two other boys on 16 March 2012. He reported being beaten and remaining tied for 19 hours.
‘Ala, aged 15, and two of his friends were arrested by Israeli soldiers on 10 May 2012. They were accused of throwing stones at settler cars and reported being repeatedly beaten by the soldiers. DCI has published more information about ‘Ala on its website.
Mohammad J., aged 16, and two of his friends were arrested by Israeli soldiers on 10 May 2012. They were accused of throwing stones at settler cars and reported being repeatedly beaten by the soldiers.
Israeli soldiers abuse nine-year-old Majed as a human shield
Nine-year-old Majed was forced at gunpoint by Israeli soldiers to search bags suspected of containing explosives on 15 January 2009. On its website DCI tells the boy’s story:
Majed recalls that there were about 40 men, women and children in the basement seeking shelter. At around 5:00am, units from the Givati Brigade entered the basement “firing.” Majed recalls seeing the red laser sights from their guns everywhere. The soldiers separated the men from the women and children and forced them to strip down to their underwear. Whilst this was going on a soldier approached the group of women and children and pointed to Majed and said “come here.”
“The soldier approached me and grabbed my shirt from my neck and dragged me away. ‘He’s a child,’ my mother began shouting. I thought they would kill me,” recalls Majed, “I became very scared and wet my pants. I could not shout or say anything because I was too afraid. The soldier dragged me 20 meters away. He pointed his weapon at me. He was shouting at me and I did not understand him, so he grabbed me and pushed me against the wall. He then started motioning with his hand and I figured out he wanted me to open the bags; small bags that the residents brought down with them containing their personal effects and money. The bags were similar to the bags used by football players. I understood from his hand gestures that he wanted me to open the bags. There were two bags in front of me. I grabbed the first one as he stood one-and-a-half meters away. I opened the bag as he pointed his weapon directly at me. I emptied the bag on the floor. It contained money and papers. I looked at him and he was laughing. I grabbed the second bag to open it but I could not. I tried many times but it was useless, so he shouted at me. He grabbed my hair and slapped me very hard across the face. I did not shout or cry but I was very scared. He dragged me away from the bags and forced me to stand against the wall, as he stood about one-and-a-half meters behind me. He then shot at the bag that I could not open. I thought he shot at me, so I shouted and put my hands on my head. He then pulled me through the corridor and another soldier said ‘Go to your mother.’ I ran to my mother and hid in her arms. ‘I wet my pants,’ I said to her. ‘It’s fine,’ she said.”
DCI filed a complaint on behalf of Majed which led to the “conviction” of the two soldiers who used him as a human shield. They received three month suspended sentences and were demoted in rank.
The complaint filed by Ibrahim was closed, while the cases of Ahmad F. and Rasheed have been opened for investigation. It is not known what will happen with the complaints of the other children.