Report: Thousands of Palestinian Children Seized by Israel Every Year; Calls for International Action

30 June, 2014 Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights

Brave Jewish soldiers accosting terrifying Palestinian child
Brave Jewish soldiers accosting terrifying Palestinian child

As Israel conducts a wave of mass home break-ins and arrests across the West Bank in retaliation for the alleged kidnapping of three youth from one of its illegal settlements, a new report documents that Palestinian children are at much greater, ongoing risk from Israeli forces. According to the report issued today by the Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights, Israel seizes between 2,000 and 3,000 Palestinian children and youth annually – with an average of 400 a year as young as 12-15.

“The Israeli police or military typically break into homes in the middle of the night or take youth right off the streets without telling them what they are charged with or informing their parents, as required by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” says Ihsan Adel, a legal officer at the Euro-Mid. “How is that different from the reported kidnapping of the Israeli students? And yet it is occurring every day, every year. Where is the international outrage?”

To date, Israeli authorities have raided more than 1,500 Palestinian homes and businesses and arrested more than 550 Palestinians, in a search for the kidnappers and an attempt to wipe out the Hamas political party, which it has labeled as responsible without citing evidence. Six Palestinians have died as a result – including a 14-year-old boy who was shot in the chest at point-blank range and a 78-year-old woman who suffered a heart attack during a house raid.

Yet the Euro-Mid report documents continuing abductions of Palestinian youth and children, as well as numerous human rights violations such as torture and coerced confessions during detention, in violation of international laws. The Euro-Mid findings echo earlier conclusions by other international bodies. In a February 2013 report, UNICEF concluded that “ill-treatment of children who come into contact with the Israeli military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process.”

Euro-Mid is calling for equal coverage of the plight of Palestinian children by the international media, and for the signatory states of the Geneva Conventions and other international stakeholders to bring all pressure at their disposal (including denial of financial pacts and assistance) on Israel to immediately halt violations of their human rights.

“The disappearance or ill treatment of any child is tragic and should outrage all humans with consciences,” says Sandra Owen, a policy officer at the Euro-Mid. “Are not the lives and liberties of Palestinian children worth as much?”

The Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights is a nonprofit, nongovernmental human rights organization dedicated to exposing human rights violations and defending human rights.The Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights headquarter is based in Geneva, Switzerland, with regional offices in the Middle-East.

Download full report (pdf)

Download Infographic

Listen to the testimonies of Palestinian children:

Testimony 1 – 24 Jun 2014. Rasheed Al-Reshiq, a 14-year-old child from the West Bank, speaks to Euro-Mid about the circumstances of his detention and his experience inside Israeli interrogation cells, where his shoulder was displaced under torture.

Testimony 2 – 24 Jun 2014. Abed El-Moaty Salhab, a 14-year-old Palestinian child, was detained two times in less than 5 months. He was beaten severely and pricked with a nail in his shoulder during interrogations in the absence of his lawyer. Abed El-Moaty has problems with hearing; he was interrogated without using the hearing aids and was beaten although he didn’t hear their questions well. Interrogators used Hebrew while questioning him and beat him for he didn’t understand what they were saying. Although he was a minor, he was tried at court and sentenced to 6 months in prison without the knowledge of his parents.

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