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Business as usual for children arrested by the IDF

Despite lofty promises and pilot programs aimed at improvement, evidence points to little change in the patterns of abuse Palestinian children are subjected to when arrested by the Israeli army.

By Gerard Horton

Demonstration against wall in Al Ma'asara (Activestills)

File photo of a child taking part in a demonstration against the separation barrier in al-Ma’asara (Activestills)

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in March 2013 that it would study the conclusions of a UNICEF report on children held in military detention which found that ill-treatment appeared to be “widespread, systematic and institutionalized” and work to implement them through “ongoing cooperation” with the UN agency. Two-and-a-half years on and around 2,250 arrests later, there is new evidence as to how this “cooperation” is progressing.

To begin with, the number of children arrested at night appears to have jumped from 51 percent in 2013 to 65 percent today. One possible explanation for the jump is that the military authorities appear to be issuing far fewer summonses than last year, relying instead on the army breaking down doors in the middle of the night rather than parents bringing their children for questioning during the day. The latest evidence also indicates that with an increase in night arrests, more children are being transferred on the floor of military vehicles from their homes to interrogation centers – something a summons can make redundant.

The number of children who report being painfully hand tied and blindfolded has remained fairly constant, but there has been a small increase in the percentage of children who report being subjected to physical violence during their arrest, transfer and/or interrogation. Most children continue to report being shown, or made to sign, documentation written in Hebrew at the conclusion of their interrogation and a majority continue to be strip searched in a humiliating fashion on arrival at a detention facility. Also as in the past, around 50 percent of children are still being unlawfully transferred to prisons inside Israel in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and Rome Statute.

However, there is one benchmark that appears to show some improvement since the UNICEF report and that relates to the number of children now being informed of their right to silence. Back in 2013, the percentage of children informed of this right was basically none. Now, the percentage has jumped to 28 percent. Unfortunately, on closer inspection even this ray of hope ultimately disappoints because first, 78 percent of children are still being denied the right, and secondly, the children who are informed are frequently done so in a wholly unacceptable manner. For example, a minor recently reported that as one interrogator told him he did not have to answer their questions, the other interrogator threatened him with rape unless he confessed.

Special Coverage: Children Under Occupation

So after more than two years of “ongoing cooperation” and “dialogue” between the military authorities and UNICEF, it would appear that there has been little substantive improvement and it is essentially business as usual. The reason for the lack of progress is not difficult to understand once you appreciate that the system of military detention that has operated since June 1967 is an essential element in controlling the Palestinian population in the West Bank in order to ensure that 400,000 Israeli settlers can go about their daily lives in relative peace and comfort.

Like it or not, this lack of progress is one of the factors that the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court is likely to take into consideration when deciding whether or not to initiate an investigation.

Gerard Horton is a lawyer and co-founder of Military Court Watch.

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    1. L.A. Raiders

      Thanks Gerard!

      Reply to Comment
    2. Panama

      Lol! Sounds like fun

      Reply to Comment
    3. Ben

      Not one Jewish child would ever be treated this way. Or ever should be. It’s apartheid. These two+ years of “ongoing cooperation” and “dialogue” between the military authorities and UNICEF, without any substantive results, represent the larger Israeli attitude and strategy in microcosm–pretend to talk, pretend to take the process seriously, all the while doing the opposite. It’s “managing” the conflict. It’s also contempt for the rest of the world. They can’t even change the way they treat *children.* Without applying measures used against a previous apartheid system what will stop all of this being “managed” for another 48 years? Nothing. And nothing will stop Israel from sliding ever further towards disaster, morally, legally and politically. The Israelis are too far gone to save themselves without outside intervention. I’m sorry. Anyone of good will who really knows what’s going down in the West Bank stopped kidding himself on this some time ago.

      Reply to Comment
      • Jason Kidd

        How privileged we are to hear from the smartest guy in the room! He has sifted through every fact on the planet for you and decided which ones you need to know and which ones you need to ignore. He has a list of enemies not dissimilar from Nixon. Lol.

        Ben knows something that not one Israeli knows. It’s Bens workd of course. We are just players.

        Ben is a failure in every component of life but he knows more that you. Lol.

        In real life, nobody notices Ben. But here, he is the smartest man in the room lol. Much smarter than Larry Derfner and Dahlia Sheindlin.

        And Ben can tell what sort of Jew you are. Lol.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          No one’s fooled, pal. You’re a sick f***. You should be on an offender registry.

          “Lol! Sounds like fun”

          Reply to Comment
          • Jason Kidd

            I see. So disagreeing with you politically is the same as violating Megan’s Law. LMFAO!!!! You are a narcissist to an extent that you can’t even ponder. Always right. Knows more than anyone else. Can tell what kind of Jew you are. And those who disagree with you ?? Unable to engage in discussion.

            On the other hand, you forgive murderers and those who commit other forms of violence, Those people should be set free and catered to. And you want to extract concessions from the victims.

            Give it up. You are pathetic.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Oooooh “Jason” is mad now. Boo hoo.

            “Lol! Sounds like fun”

            Reply to Comment
          • Jason Kidd

            Not mad at all.
            I am amused at how morally weak you are. You broke.

            Listen to yourself (no one else does)
            You believe that someone who disagrees with you is legally equal to Jerry Sandusky. Really, you said that. And you believe that.

            You also believe that sanctions changed the regime in SA. Far from the truth.

            I wish that all the other enemies of freedom and America were like you.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Yeah, yeah. You fool no one.

            “Lol! Sounds like fun”

            — That’s the real you.

            Reply to Comment
          • Jason Kidd

            What an awful Haiku.

            You suck at everything you try

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            It is singularly obvious to anyone other than blind Freddy that Ben is driven by hatred. Hatred of us Israelis.

            He vilifies and demonizes us on a daily basis yet when someone like me riminds him of Palestinian Arab atrocities against us, things like cold blooded murder of our children by his chosen Palestinian heroes, he just dismisses such things as “irrelevant distractions”. Yep, Benny has sold his soul to our enemies…

            Reply to Comment
      • The issue of this piece is the treatment of children under custody.

        Ben is right that the pattern of treatment documented would not be allowed for Israeli children. Nothing else in this comment stream has any import at all.

        Reply to Comment
        • Jason Kidd

          Greg,how deep! You understand that adversaries treat each other differently when compared to the way they treat their own. Your brilliance is stunning.
          This,explains why on MNF the 49ers are going to try to tackle the Vikings yet not to tackle their own players. Greg, you are such an intellectual and use pretty words. How superior you are to the rest of us.

          The real story is how Palistinian parents have utterly failed this generation of children. The IDF now has to discipline these children and track them values.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Oh hey, what’s your team? The 27th Hilltop Brigade Child Abusers? What fun. What’s their win-loss record so far this season? Did they get any hot first round draft picks from the top child abuser registries? Do they have neat uniforms? Did John Galliano design them? Rah rah rah! Hey do you think the refs made a good call on that play where they shot that kid in the back? I dunno. As long as they don’t deflate the balls it’s cool right?

            You’re the gift of mind-boggling fatuousness that keeps on giving.

            Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          Yea Greg but this man is obsessed. Day in and day out Ben trots out how evil we are. And, I repeat, when one reminds him the atrocities which Palestinians commit against us, he just dismisses those.

          By the way, most Palestinian Arabs treat THEIR children differently than they treat our children. If an Israeli child ends up at the wrong place at the wrong time, he/she gets stones thrown at him/her or worse, they get murdered. Do Palestinian Arabs do that to their children?

          Reply to Comment
    4. been there

      Thank you Gerald for investigating and trying to make public the scandalous treatment of Palestinian children by, frankly, bullying brutal thugs.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        But you are not going to thank me, Benny, for mentioning the brutality of your Palestinian Arabs towards any unfortunate Israeli child whom they manage to get their hands on?

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          I’m not ‘Been There’ but I’ll answer this. The Palestinian Defense Forces do not even exist. No PDF is occupying Israel. The Palestinian security forces cooperate very closely with the IDF and protect Israelis steadfastly. The Palestinian security forces do not touch Israeli children, and certainly do not painfully tie their hands, beat them while arrested, make them sign documentation written in Arabic, strip search them in a humiliating fashion, or unlawfully transfer them to prisons inside Israel in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and Rome Statute. Nor do the Palestinian security forces neglect to inform Israeli children of their right to silence, or threaten them with rape if they do not confess. And if the Palestinian security forces ever treated a single Jewish child like this, ever, you would be ranting from the rooftops and Netanyahu would have sent in several brigades and rounded up hundreds if not thousands of innocent men and thrown them into prison without due process and innocent people would die. At the very least. Hope that clears that up. Thanks.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Oh not again, not the saintPalestinians story.

            First of all, the Palestinian police force don’t protect the interests of anyone except their own corrupt interests.

            Secondly, you did not answer my question. Here it is again. Do you thank me for pointing out the brutality of Palestinians towards our children?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Nope. It’s not the SaintPalestinian story its the IDF brutality towards children story. It’s the they don’t give a damn and never will story. It’s the apartheid story. Don’t know why you always act befuddled and can’t ever, ever stay on topic. No that’s not true, I do know why.
            If the Palestinian forces don’t protect anyone would you like them then to stop cooperating with the Israeli forces and hand back the keys? Oh, no, you still like that non-protecting they do for your side? I thought so.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            To spell this out even further for the confused, the IDF is a hierarchical, organized, professional army, with mission control, deliberation, collective decision-making, policy making and purpose, that touts itself as the most moral in the world, and has complete, premeditated control over its actions, and, by the way, is occupying the Palestinians not the other way around, lest we forget, and yet engaged in a sham two years+ of “ongoing cooperation” and “dialogue” with UNICEF over its brutal treatment of children — c. h. i. l. d. r. e. n. — and at the end of that changed not a damn thing. Business as usual. This has absolutely nothing to do with what some villagers somewhere might or might not do to “tourists” from Brooklyn who take a wrong turn. It is absolutely apples and oranges. You don’t like to delineate that, you’d like to blur that distinction as much as possible, but it won’t do.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            To spell it out further (yes, I am throwing Benny’s own words at him)…

            “The murder of the Hatuel family was a shooting attack on May 2, 2004, in which Palestinian militants killed Tali Hatuel, a Jewishsettler, who was eight months pregnant, and her four daughters, aged two to ten.[1][2][3]”

            And here are some more gruesome statistics about the murder of Israeli children by Palestinian Arabs…

            Please note, this list of children murdered does not count the times Jewish children were specifically targeted but only adults were killed… for instance, the Kfar Darom school bus hit by roadside bomb (Nov. 20, 2000).

            Leo Alexander Sendler, age 5
            Gabriel Sendler, age 3
            Daniel Aryeh Viflich, age 16
            Elad Fogel, age 4
            Hadas Fogel, age 1
            Yoav Fogel, age 10
            Jonathan Palmer, age 1
            Shlomo Nativ, age 13
            Segev Peniel Avihayil, age 15
            Yonatan Yitzhak Aldar, age 16
            Yonadav Haim Hirschfeld, age 18
            Neria Cohen, age 15
            Yochai Lifshitz, age 18
            Avraham David Moses, age 16
            Roey Aaron Roth, age 18
            Anas Awisat, age 18
            Khaled al Ziyadat, age 12
            Fathi Assadi, age 4
            Eliyahu Pinchas Ashrai, age 18

            Etc… the list just goes on and on. Too numerous to mention.

            But what is Benny’s reaction? He says … “This has nothing to do with…”

            Well listen up Benny and listen good. It has everything to do with it… Don’t expect us to be caring for a people who are callous towards us and OUR children.

            I know that you live your safe suburban provincial life probably somewhere in NY and you have no children. But we live here in the Middle East where our enemies have no sentimentality towards our children or even for their own children for that matter. All they care is about their J-I-H-A-D against us and against the rest of the non Muslim world. Get it benny? So stop your preaching. You ain’t getting thru to us you just make us more determined to show the world how defeat REAL EVIL.

            Reply to Comment
          • Jason Kidd

            So,Ben tells,people to stay on-topic and then writes,about whatever he wants.
            He tells others to practice,BDS then visits Israel as a tourist.
            He claims BDS is not antisemitic and refuses to answer queries when opposing information is presented


            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            I am not staying on topic, you are right about that. Wanna know why? Cos you people set the topic and all ya wanna talk about is how evil WE are. But ya cannot give a F how evil our enemies are and someone has got to talk about that too.

            As for what I want the Palestinian forces to do, you frankly wouldn’t want to hear cos my language wouldn’t go down well in polite society. And this is polite society here isn’t it Benny?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Knives are out. The ad hom and off topic angle worked extra heavy. Why? Two guys are furious with me and Greg (mainly as proxies for Mr. Horton and +972, upon which to direct their pent up aggression) for pointing out some plain truths. That’s all. It’s ok. Suddenly though I’m accused of being…unmarried, childless and living in the suburbs! Wow. (Wrong on all three counts.) Talk about nastiness! LoL. This is the Rosh Hashanah dinner Noam warned us about. Gustav, each side can make lists of murdered dead people. And wallow in self-righteousness. And demonize the other side. So, though it’s your predictable response, it sheds no light. Light is what we need. That’s the point of +972.

            You’re just appealing to emotions like any right wing rabble rouser. Reminds me of Milosevich talking to the Serbs. You traffic in victimhood, grievance collecting and hard contempt for the people of the other side. It’s a dead end. An historical, ethical, personal dead end.

            And puhleeze Noam Scheizaf lives (and my friends live) where you do so don’t lay the patronizing “we live so dangerously you have no idea” self-righteousness trip on us. Absolutely none of the danger Bibi manipulatively stokes fear about is strategically reduced one iota by holding onto the occupied territories and subjugating another people–quite the opposite actually–and I’ve got six gatekeeper shin bet chiefs and a Mossad chief and a wealth of intelligent journalists and analysts and the soldiers of Breaking the Silence and a bunch of others to back me up.

            And Gustav no one least of all me is asking you to be sharing and “caring for” the people you’re occupying. They’re just asking you to stop being cruel, greedy, entitled and unjust. Stop the behavior. Feelings will follow in the children and their children and their children. Your generation, on both sides, can die hating each other. But you won’t be the future. No, Haggai’s redhead article did have a glaring political point no matter what loopy things jealous brunettes say about it.

            And they’re asking you to stop professing to be mystified when the other side does not like you for it, and do not surrender, and the rest of the world does not fall in line and become card carrying members of Jewish Home. Again you want to shift things to pretend that right wing extremism is normal, and I’m not playing ball with you. And they’re asking you to stop insisting that the other side’s lack of perfection is your get out of jail free card. And to stop professing incomprehension that when you treat the American President with utter disrespect and shocking ingratitude that people don’t like it and think you have a problem. Houston, we have a problem. Your weltanschauung is soaked in dishonesty with yourselves and others.

            As for the other guy here, he’s beneath replying to. He’s a spectacle in virtuoso slimy slitheringosity (I coined that just for him). And just dumb, in addition to being vicious. Every time I read what he writes I ask myself: is he really that dim-witted or is he just putting me on? It’s not pretty either way.

            I don’t demonize anyone–your cherished demonizing accusation. I don’t say or think that the IDF’s systematic cruelty towards children–the topic of this article whether you like it or not–is gratuitous, is indicative of some inherent hateful cruel quality that Israelis genetically have (as opposed to the other guy here, Panama and his promiscuously multiplying aliases–he’s a different creature altogether). Far from it. But they’ve lost their way and don’t know it. They’re wandering in the wilderness. They’ve dug themselves into a hole and keep digging. Because of the situation they refuse to end. And because of the striking narcissistic entitlement they have fallen in to that Natasha Roth wrote perceptively about in these pages.

            What you both spectacularly miss–what all this ad hominem bluster of you two guys is all about missing–is what Gerard Horton points out. It’s staring you in the face:

            “The reason for the lack of progress is not difficult to understand once you appreciate that the system of military detention that has operated since June 1967 is an essential element in controlling the Palestinian population in the West Bank in order to ensure that 400,000 Israeli settlers can go about their daily lives in relative peace and comfort.”

            But look, as I’ve said, the Israelis are too far gone to change by themselves. It’s apartheid. It really is. English language publications like +972 and this article from it are crucial windows into reality. They get beyond the propaganda.

            To end on a lighter note this holiday…

            Re: “Cos you people set the topic”

            This is a good one. It’s an interesting approach. Do you write in to Ski Magazine and whine “dammit you people you always set the topic. I wanna talk about scuba diving but do you people ever talk about scuba diving? Nooooo. All you wanna talk about is skiing. Ski ski ski. I’ve only seen one measly article on underwater powder skiing! One! Whatsamatter which you people??!! The Benny’s of this world only talk about skiing! And his Saint Powderskiians!”
            It me reminds me of Roseanne Rosannadannah, of blessed memory, a great Jewish comic. “What’s all this about Eagle Rights?! Who cares about Eagle Rights?!…..”

            Happy New Year folks.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            BEN:”You traffic in victimhood, grievance collecting and hard contempt for the people of the other side.”

            Funny, that. And here I was thinking that I am holding up a mirror to you. Don’t you see that you see your own reflection in it? It is even evident in your verbose post.

            Two more things. You say we are cruel? Maybe so. But don’t you think that cruelty begets cruelty? A case in point as to what happens otherwise was Ehud Barak’s peace offer. What did we get for it? A campaign of Years of bloody suicide bombings. We only got on top of that after we built the wall and by responding with our own cruelty. So puhleeeze please stop lecturing us. Enough with the one sided appeal to our humanity. How about directing some of that endless energy that you exhibit in demonizing us, towards your darling Palestinians and appeal to them to sign a peace deal which will not include ALL they want but it will give both our people a better life than this 100 year war which they have been relentlessly waging to try stop the existence of a Jewish nation state.

            As for your comrades whom you mention in order to excuse your own fanaticism. Read my earlier post about STUPID Jews again.

            Reply to Comment
          • Jason Kidd

            Mr self-awareness strikes again.
            So, Haggai posts an article about a redhead convention. As apolitical as you can get. In the comment section, Ben brings up a nonsensical comment in a column from the year before on a competely different topic. And then tells others to stay on topic
            Can’t make this up
            Palistinians deserve better.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            As for “your lighter note” your ski magazine, thank you Benny. I got your message. Thank you again …

            You want people like me to F…off from here because the topic in here is the demonization of Israel. Anything else is off topic…

            I understand what you are saying, gotcha loud and clear.

            Reply to Comment
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