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Armed with M-16s, Israeli teenagers detain Palestinians

The Israeli daily Haaretz reports that several dozens of Israeli teenagers have been trained and armed with M-16s in order to help Israeli Border Police, known as Magav, catch undocumented Palestinian laborers from the West Bank. 

Israeli Border Police or Magav in East Jerusalem (photo: Mya Guarnieri)

The children and young adults, who range in age from 16 to 18, are local high school students. According to Haaretz, the “Noar Magav”, or Border Police Youth program is financed by the Modi’in Regional Council. The program also receives state funds via the Israel Ministry of Public Security. The Israel Ministry of Education says it is not involved in the project.

Speaking to Haaretz, the teenagers expressed their enthusiasm for the program, which sees them policing checkpoints. They also detain Palestinians laborers who lack Israeli-issued work permits.

One described the project as “fun”; another called it “a form of pleasure.”

Haaretz’s article comes just days after the International Middle East Media Center reported that the Israeli army is also using Israeli settlers to help patrol checkpoints in the West Bank.

This post was corrected to reflect the fact that the activities described are taking place within Israel, not the West Bank.

This post originally appeared on the Alternative Information Center website.

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    1. Mikesailor

      So now Israel, with state funding, is creating their own paramilitary ‘militias’ armed with automatic weapons and answerable to no ‘legal’ authority. Does anyone in Israel read history? Does the appellation “Brownshirts’ ring any bells? Israel is racing headlong down a well-worn path with nary a brake in sight.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Amaliada

      Israel has long ago shown that they learned the wrong lessons of Nazi Germany. Between collective punishment, humiliation, checkpoints, and walls – there’s very little left.

      Gaza is already described as the largest open-air prison in the world…not too far from a concentration camp.

      And with the superiority of arms and the willingness and ability to wage war at the drop of a hat – Israel is well on its way to becoming what it was meant to challenge.

      Too bad.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Elisabeth

      How superior they must feel: Sixteen, armed, and allowed to harrass men sometimes twice their age who are trying to feed their families as lowly underpaid day-laborers in the Jewish state.

      A perfect training ground for Jewish supremacism.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Saar

      If y’all were willing to step off your hate bus, you would understand that both the border patrol and the police in israel are stretched beyond limits by the requirements of both upholding the law and protecting the security of the state’s borders,that they resort to such desperate measures as inducting volonteers to take off the weight

      i dont see any factual statements about anybody being harrased

      Reply to Comment
    5. Lauren

      Wow!!! Reminds me of all the American WWII movies about Hitler Youth. One comes to mind… “Tomorrow the World.”

      Reply to Comment
    6. Volodinjev

      @Saar: The Israel-HATErs (emph. on HATE) want to see Israel as a new Nazi Germany, so that’s exactly what they’re going to see, factual evidence be damned. Don’t get in their way of a hatefest. You’d be depriving them of one of the few things that brings some cheer into their drab lives.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Amaliada

      @Volodinjev and @Saar – You really mean to tell me there is no other way for Israel to protect their borders than to arm teenagers?

      As an American, I see this as a recipe for disaster and it has nothing to do with hating Israel.

      Perhaps if there were economic opportunities and/or ways to get to those opportunities in a timely fashion in the West Bank, these men wouldn’t have to enter Israel illegally and try to earn a living.

      It seems to me that Shakespeare (I’m going to paraphrase Hamlet) had it right – people who feel they have no advancement are not likely to act in the manner we would like them to act.

      I’ve found that if you treat people as people they are more likely to act that way, but if you treat them as less than you – they feel they have nothing to lose.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Mati Milstein

      It’s not evident from the information presented by Haaretz that the Border Police Youth volunteers are operating at all inside the West Bank. The program is under the auspices of the Public Security Ministry and the Modi’in Regional Council, all of whose communities are located within the Green Line boundary and which doesn’t include any West Bank settlements. Likewise, it would be hard for these kids to assist in the arrests of undocumented Palestinian laborers in the West Bank. For these laborers to be undocumented they need – by definition – to be situated within Israel proper at the time of their detentions.
      All this being said, even with the kids working inside Israel, this program is nauseating at best. While not actually in contravention of Geneva Conventions forbidding child combatants, it comes pretty close to toeing that line. And seems to have crossed not a small number of other lines in the process…

      Reply to Comment
    9. Laura

      Israeli-supporters-at-any-cost: You do your beloved Israel a disservice when you support anything and everything the country does. So I’m an anti-Semite because I think this is a bad idea? Am I anti-Semitic because I don’t want my US tax dollars used to train former IDF to become sushi chefs because of Israeli xenophobia? Is spitting on little girls because they “dress like whores” ok with you too? What excuses do you have for that? It gets harder and harder for the rest of us to believe anything you say. Israel is fast approaching the right-wing point of no return, if it hasn’t already. And your answer is to call critics anti-Semitic. Time to change your game plan before Israel implodes on itself.

      Reply to Comment
    10. aristeides

      The fact that these armed teenagers are operating within Israel’s borders only illustrates the problem. M-16s are not police weapons, they are military weapons.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Philos

      @ Mike Sailor, I’ve been pushing to have Israeli fascists nicknamed “white-shirts” after the white collared shirts religious settlers frequently wear and always do on Shabbat. Any Israeli will understand the connotation of “white-shirts” with religious and, with any luck, the snide connection to Germany’s “brown shirts” and Italy and Britain’s “black shirts”

      @ Saar, your reasoning isn’t backed by the empirical evidence of actual spending on security by the Israeli state apparatus nor personnel numbers. As I write 5% of the entire Israeli population is in military uniform. A figure only matched by North Korea, Eritrea, and the like. The notion that they’re stretched to the limits is fanciful.

      Reply to Comment
    12. John Yorke

      As the first comment here mentions, this new development is taking on some huge risks; it’s tantamount to going down a very slippery slope with the potential for serious consequences if things get out of hand. Which they have a marked tendency to do in this part of the world.

      A braking mechanism of some description is definitely required to halt this precipitous descent into yet deeper trouble. In fact, it wouldn’t be such a bad idea if the same could be applied to the situation as a whole. But that would involve providing quite an enormous braking effort to the entire business, something that cuts right across all the various petty squabbles, annoyances and downright ham-fisted attitudes that so bedevil an already much aggravated state of affairs.

      Can there be such a mechanism and, if so, where is it to be found?


      Now this would really slow matters down to an exceptional degree. That slippery slope would suddenly have become an ascent, one so steep that virtually all forward motion ceases and realisation slowly dawns that finding another way out of this wilderness of futile contention may still prove possible.

      Reply to Comment
    13. humbye

      Of course, if the West Bank Palestinians decided to arm groups of teenagers to fend off settler attacks, this would naturally be deemed a grave provocation by the west.

      Reply to Comment