Source: Women In Black, Austrai, 28.10.2016
No Way To Treat Children!
Oh Rascal Children of Gaza
By Khaled Juma
Oh rascal children of Gaza
You who constantly disturbed me
With your screams under my window
You who filled every morning
With rush and chaos
You who broke my vase
And stole the lonely flower on my balcony.
And scream all you want
And break all the vases.
Steal all the flowers.
Come back …
Just come back …
(Khaled Juma, Palestine)
In recent years Israel has increased its brutality carried out against Palestinian children in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. This brutality of the Israeli army, including arrests, beatings, torture, killing, wounding, often causing permanent disability and constant damage to body, soul and spirit, is perhaps the cruelest component of the occupation. This is a shameful crime, which is largely ignored by Western politicians and media. The majority of Palestinian children who grow up under Israeli occupation are traumatized (many at a very young age): bedwetting, anxiety, difficulties in learning, problems in communicating are only a few of the symptoms of this traumatisation.
Since the year 2000 the Israeli military has killed 1.977 children
Since April 2004 the NGO Defence for Children International – Palestine Section has documented 20 cases involving Palestinian children being used as human shields by the Israeli military. 19 of the 20 cases occurred after the Israeli High Court deemed this practice to be illegal in October 2005.
Each year approximately 500 – 700 Palestinian children, some as young as 12 years of age, are detained and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system. The most common charge is stone throwing.
In 2015 116 Palestinian children between 12 and 15 years of age were held in Israeli military detention
In the year 2014 546 children and in 2015 30 children were killed by the Israeli military. Only some of the children, minors, possessed a knife. Even if this was an act of terror killing by the soldiers is considered a criminal act.
Israel’s war against Palestinian children includes the impairment and prevention of education, which has always been of great importance in Palestinian society. Children amount to more than half of the Palestinian population. Israel’s repeated military attacks do not even refrain from bombing schools (even those of the UNO). In various villages and places in the West Bank children must be accompanied to school by international helpers in order to protect them from settlers and harassment by Israeli soldiers. In Al Khalil (Hebron) the Israeli military shoots tear gas at the children over and over again.
Not only the bombardments on Gaza, these constant reprisals, among them demolition of houses and the possessions of families greatly traumatise the children.
How can a young person study, who is living in constant fear?
Palestinian children are systematically robbed of their childhood and their future!
According to the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners and Defence for Children International Palestine (DCIP) the number of minors in Israeli prisons as well as the practice of physical and psychological torture has increased. The lawyer of DCIP, Luay Ukka speaks of 28 Palestinian prisoners under the age of 18 and 14 under 14 years of age in Ofer Prison. He reports that torture is applied already during the nightly raids and arrests but also during the interrogations which follow in the prison.
DCIP observes an increase in administrative detention of children (imprisonment without charges and/or trial).
Israel is the only country in the world that prosecutes children automatically in military courts in which every precautionary measure is lacking.
The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon incomprehensively removed Israel last year from the list of states, which are guilty of committing severe crimes against children. This decision must be cancelled.
Additional information can be found by looking at the following websites:
Military Court Watch: www.militarycourtwatch.org
Defense for Children International – Palestine Section (DCIP) is a small independent human rights organization which attempts to secure a just and viable future for Palestinian children
DCIP and American Friends Service Committee have begun the campaign No Way to Treat a Child: http://nwttac.dci-palestine.org