Israel ‘systematically’ abuses Palestinian children: UNICEF


Israeli border policemen detain a Palestinian boy in the east al-Quds

Israeli border policemen detain a Palestinian boy in the east al-Quds’s Shuafat refugee camp. (File photo)
United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) says the Israeli regime is still “systematically” mistreating the Palestinian children detained by the Zionist troops in the occupied West Bank.

In a statement released on Monday, UNICEF stated that “violations are ongoing”, seven months after an initial paper was released which highlighted widespread mistreatment of Palestinian youths arrested in the West Bank.

The report cited 19 sample cases of alleged abuse of youths aged between 12 and 17 in the occupied West Bank in the second quarter of 2013.

In all cases, the detainees, all male, suffered physical violence, including beating, kicking and slapping, while in 17 cases they were verbally abused.

UNICEF’s March report, entitled “Children in Israeli Military Detention”, said Israel systematically tried youths in military courts, and gave evidence of practices it said were “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment”.

It described mistreatment of teenagers in Israeli jails as “widespread”.

“Ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized,” it concluded, outlining 38 recommendations. The move comes amid international criticism after revelations of widespread mistreatment of detained Palestinian children.

In its March report, UNICEF said that each year some 700 Palestinian children aged 12 to 17 – mainly boys – are arrested, interrogated and detained by the Israeli army, police and security agents. The rights organization found examples of practices it called “cruel and inhuman.”

According to the report, the ill-treatment often begins at arrest, when children are woken by heavily-armed soldiers and then forcibly brought to an interrogation center “tied and blindfolded, sleep-deprived and in a state of extreme fear.”

The most common offense that children are arrested for is throwing stones at Israeli soldiers or Jewish settlers. In the majority of cases, the report pointed out, the principal evidence against the child is the child’s own confession, “extracted under duress.”

To get the children to confess, some interrogators threaten them with physical violence, death, “and sexual assault, against themselves or a family member.”

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