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Palestinian kids are arrested every day. This time it's my friend's son

All my friend’s son wanted to do was pass his high school exit exams and go on to study at a university. Now, like thousands of other Palestinians before and after him, he is behind bars. No one knows why.

Palestinian boys dressed up as prisoners protest for the release of Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails, Gaza City, 21 April 2007. (Ahmad Khateib/Flash90)

Illustrative photo of Palestinian boys dressed up as prisoners protest for the release of Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails. (Ahmad Khateib/Flash90)

Several days ago, a dear friend who lives in the West Bank city of Jenin called to tell me that his son had been detained by the Israelis. Perhaps “kidnapped” would be a more precise way of putting it, since no one bothered informing the family of his whereabouts. It took two whole days to find out where he was being held.

I have known this boy, who is not yet 18, since he was a small child, when his father was imprisoned in Israel. I would meet the father’s friend at the Hizme checkpoint outside Jerusalem to pass along presents for the boy, and while in prison the father would tell me all about his boy, who was then only a small child.

The last time I met the boy was a few months ago; he spoke about his plans to go to university once he finishes high school. He may be the nerdiest teenager I have ever met — shy, studious, and curious. When it was time to go, he and his younger brother gave me a scented candle and prayer beads as presents. The beads have been hanging in my car ever since.

As is quite common in the Israeli military court system in the occupied territories, the boy has yet to be charged with a crime. Moreover, neither he, his family, or his attorney have been informed of the nature of the arrest. His parents cannot even imagine what the authorities might accuse him of. What kind of crime can you pin on a kid whose sole interest is passing his exit exams?

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I think about him and then about Dean Issacharoff, the former spokesperson for anti-occupation group Breaking the Silence. After a two-year witch hunt, the Israeli state prosecutor announced last week that he concluded Issacharoff was in fact telling the truth when he said he had beat a Palestinian man during his military service. The saga began after Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked personally called on the state attorney to try and debunk Issacharoff’s claims. She wanted to prove, once and for all, that Breaking the Silence’s top priority is smearing IDF soldiers.

After two years, the investigators concluded that they had questioned the wrong Palestinian — and not the one Issacharoff said he beat. The Israeli army, unmatched in its power and resources, cannot carry out a simple investigation (perhaps because so many Palestinians are beaten up by soldiers). And the moment the Palestinian man who was beaten — by the wrong soldier — no longer serves the system, the system no longer has any interest in him.

That’s because the notion of “justice” in the context of occupation is bereft of any meaning. The beaten Palestinian man was momentarily recognized — only because he would have helped the government delegitimize a human rights organization. The system knows that even if its lies are exposed for all to see, some of the mud will stick.

This is the same system that is holding my friend’s son, like thousands of Palestinians before him and most likely after him as well. My heart breaks thinking about this innocent, kindhearted boy who is sitting God knows where, alone and afraid, waiting for a system to decide what kind of lie will best serve its whims at the moment.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Lewis from Afula

      Don’t enjoy living under Israeli military occupation ?

      1. Don’t start a war of extermination against your neighbors (6 day war).
      2. Don’t lose your genocidal war.
      3. Even if you do lose it, don’t transmute into a fictional nationality a few years later.
      4. Moreover, don’t deny your neighbors’right to exist or they will occupy you forever.

      Reply to Comment
      • Rivka Koen

        This kid was born in the year 2002.

        Reply to Comment
      • Bruce Gould

        Those Fakestinian kids deserve what they’re getting!

        “Israeli forces continued to kill Palestinian children at an average pace exceeding one child per week in 2018. At the bitter close of 52 weeks, 56 Palestinian children were dead due to Israeli forces’ actions.”

        https://www.dci-palestine.org/

        Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        LFA: Off the point, since none of this really happened this way.

        Reply to Comment
        • Rivka Koen

          And if you treated your Jewish children the way Israel treats Palestinian children, you would go to jail and never be allowed to have any interaction with them ever again.

          Reply to Comment
        • Lewis from Afula

          Of course it didn’t, Ben.
          The neighboring Arab States are perfectly-run utopias that are based upon harmony, justice & liberal values.
          Gamal Abdel Nasser, King Hussein & Hafez al-Assad were all Social Justice Warriors engaged in peace-making.

          But their benevolent actvities were stopped by the evil Israelis. Damn !

          Reply to Comment
    2. Ben

      “the state prosecutor announced last week that it had concluded Issacharoff was telling the truth”

      Breaking the Silence is the great scandal of Israeli society. Either Israel produces an extraordinary number of soldiers willing to commit treason by lying about their army, or something is rotten in the army and its occupation. We know of course now that the latter is true. But all along, even if you thought, wrongly, that the soldiers of Breaking the Silence were “liars,” you still had to account for how it could be that Israel produces so many supposedly treasonous soldiers. And absolutely no one on the Right has ever accounted for that.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Reality Check

      If he wants to study and develop a life for himself, which sounds quite reasonable, he might consider not repeating his father’s errors and not go down the terror route. Just saying.

      Reply to Comment
      • john

        if only the police could ‘just say’ why he was kidnapped

        Reply to Comment
        • Rivke Koen

          Palestinian children detained without charge are guilty until proven innocent, but don’t call it apartheid.

          Reply to Comment
      • Rivka Koen

        “Reality Check”, he hasn’t even been charged with a crime but you’ve already judged him guilty in advance. That’s how warped your concept of “reality” is: it’s literally impossible for you to hold your own government accountable because you literally assume their every action is right. That’s exactly the sort of mentality that creates the foot-soldiers of oppressive dictatorships. You are everything Israelis project onto Arabs.

        Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        It is striking how someone like “Reality Check” proves the main point made here:
        https://972mag.com/palestinian-rape-jewish-katusa-israeli/142059/

        That is, that Israeli is saturated with an atmosphere that views Palestinians as guilty until proven innocent. It’s as if these visitors here were intent on making the +972 authors’ points for them.

        Reply to Comment
        • Lewis from Afula

          The “fakestinyans” are indeed guilty of the 4 points I listed above.

          Reply to Comment
          • Rivka Koen

            1. Everyone knows Israel started the Six-Day War; it’s the most Orwellian thing possible to claim otherwise

            2. Being a victim of Israeli aggression is about the furthest thing possible from being “genocidal”

            3. This is only happening in your head

            4. “Submit or be punished”

            Reply to Comment
          • itshak Gordine

            All this is a leftist text memorized and repeated automatically.
            Israel is a country of freedom where minorities can live in peace and happiness if they respect the laws in force. Everyone must make sure that their children behave in a good way, especially if these children are problematic teenagers

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            “a text memorized and repeated automatically”

            Halevy, whose characteristic productions, across many, many posts, are well-described as “a national-religious-settler text memorized and repeated automatically” (“our rabbis tell us….”) turns around and labels someone’s original riposte “leftist….automatic.”
            Is this comedy? Tragedy?

            Reply to Comment
          • Rivka Koen

            It’s a rehearsed way of avoiding addressing any points: “this is leftist mumbo-jumbo. Anyway… (restates own dismantled argument)”

            Reply to Comment
          • itshak Gordine

            You can not compare the texts written by our Sages for centuries that have allowed the Jewish people to survive in spite of persecution, to develop and to win with leftist theories that have shown everywhere their inanity.

            Reply to Comment
          • john

            i’d appreciate more quotations from ‘the sages’ and less ad hominem from you, itshak

            Reply to Comment
          • Rivka Koen

            “Literally every vile, immoral, abominable act is justifiable to keep the land you are entitled to, for the Lord your God’s promise to His people is an unconditional one which cannot be revoked. Spurn his commandments, be as indecent as possible to your neighbors, kill pregnant women and children just to keep the land; you are entitled to the land and your lives no matter what.” -Definitely not what Jews say every morning and night

            Reply to Comment
          • itshak Gordine

            You’re still sinking into melodrama and blah blah. Our Sages ask us to defend our heritage and our traditions, whatever the price. Foreigners and minorities who accept it can live in peace with us and those who do not accept it suffer the inconvenience. This is so in all countries of the world elsewhere. If that does not please you make your aliya and exercise your political rights in Israel.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Translation from standard Halevyian Orwellese:

            “melodrama and blah blah” = What Koen writes is overly dramatic to me because these people we are shoving around and imprisoning without due process (even the children) and torturing are not Jews, and everyone knows non-Jews don’t feel pain like Jews do.

            “our heritage and our traditions, whatever the price” = The Land and the Lebensraum we worship in my particular fanatic sect of 21st century Judaism is called “Our Heritage” and I slavishly do what my rabbis (they are ‘the greatest’) tell me to do about this, which is to be as sneaky and brutal as we have to be. I am sneaky when I can because I know, like a gangster, that what I am doing is criminal, or else I wouldn’t sneak around in the middle of the night like I do. But when it’s impossible to be sneaky, then I’m just brutal.

            “Foreigners and minorities who accept it” = non-Jews who submit to our rule

            “can live in peace with us” = can accept the crumbs we deign to throw them

            “suffer the inconvenience” = See above, under “whatever the price”

            “This is so in all countries of the world elsewhere” = This is of course preposterously false and I just made it up but Trump and Netanyahu (and J. Goebbels before them) taught me that if you repeat a lie often enough people start to believe it.

            “make your aliya and exercise your political rights in Israel” = DNA plus geographic presence on the occupied territories makes you a real Jew, otherwise, not so much, but keep sending the money! Thanks!

            Reply to Comment
          • Rivka Koen

            Instead of asking foreign-born Jews to move to Israel and get political rights, why don’t you try giving political rights to the people born in the land? Why are you more willing to grant me political rights than grant them to the Palestinians?

            Believe it or not, I’d love nothing more than to move to the land of our ancestors. I’d love nothing more than to live the rest of my days in the same country where my ancestors used to serve in the temple.

            But until you grant full political rights and make reparations to the Palestinians, such a move would be unconscionable and a demonstration of the tremendous privilege I wield over people who were actually born in the land, whose ties to the land are not handed down in stories but are part of their own living memory.

            Reply to Comment
          • Rivka Koen

            The Palestinians aren’t your children, but good job transparently demonstrating the way you infantilize the people whose land you steal, exactly the same way the British infantilized the people they colonized.

            Reply to Comment
          • Lewis from Afula

            Rivka:
            You need to speak for yourself & your degenerate, far-leftist bubble of self-hating camaraderie.

            Here in the real World, Israelis know that WE did not start the 6 day war. You should formally accuse some Israeli veterans of “participating in an illegal war in June 1967”. I hope you get the “Ilan Pappe” treatment.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            The problem with what Israelis “know” is that it just ain’t so.

            Leading Israelis themselves, Michael Oren of all people, and Begin himself, have admitted it. Nasser was not going to attack, his aims and his formations were defensive. The US State Department and CIA knew it and Israel knew it. And the CIA knew Israel was being deliberately deceptive about it. CIA assessment: “We do not believe” that the Israeli claim of being the underdog “was a serious estimate of the sort they would submit to their own high officials.”

            Yitzhak Rabin: “I do not think Nasser wanted war. The two divisions which he sent to the Sinai, on May 14, would not have been sufficient to start an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.”

            Menachem Begin: “In June 1967 we again had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”

            Reply to Comment
          • Lewis from Afula

            1. Ben is citing the words spoken several DECADES AFTER the 6 day war. This is a poor form of historical analysis. You need to quote original source documents.

            2. Ben’s quotes are of Israeli politicians. Most politicians can twist the truth in order to create an argument for the narrow poltical point that is being made at that specific time.

            3. Your quotes are brief. This suggests that the words spoken by Begin & Rabin have been taken OUT OF CONTEXT.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            @LfA: It isn’t “historical analysis,” it’s eyewitness testimonies from the IDF Chief of Staff during the six day war and from a cabinet minister during the war. They are primary sources.

            Reply to Comment
          • Lewis from Afula

            “I do not think Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent to the Sinai on 14 May [1967] would not have been sufficient to launch an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.”

            Rabin said this on May 14th.
            The war started on June 5th.
            Many things happened between May 14 and June 5. Egypt ordered the UN peacekeepers to leave, Egypt blockaded Israel’s Red Sea Port. Egypt moved another 5 divisions to the Israeli Border, 100,000 troops in all. Nasser threatened Israel with genocide.

            Comrade Ben caught in blatant a lie.

            Reply to Comment
          • Lewis from Afula

            Menachem Begin: “In June 1967 we again had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”

            Begin said this in 1982
            https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/07/04/israels-attack-on-egypt-in-june-67-was-not-preemptive/
            Another of Ben’s “historical source document” by an eyewitness SPEAKING 15 YEARS AFTER THE FACT.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            I’ll ignore LfA’s confused statement about Rabin.

            LfA is trying to foist on us the Mainstream Narrative, a once highly effective propaganda deceit that has been discredited, and the real story of the lies and distortion upon which that narrative is constructed reveals much about the conflict to this day.

            Israel provoked the Six-Day War in 1967, and it was not fighting for survival
            https://www.mondoweiss.net/2017/06/provoked-fighting-survival/amp/

            We should thank LfA for linking to the Foreign Policy Journal article by Jeremy Hammond that debunks at length the very Mainstream Narrative to which LfA clings.

            Reply to Comment
          • Lewis from Afula

            I am glad that Ben accepts his lies, above.

            Rabin said those things some 3 weeks before Egypt had initiated a Casus belli
            Begin’s quote is 15 years AFTER the war ended.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            LfA: You’re really quite confused here about something very simple and it is a measure of your superficiality and ad hominem-spouting shallowness that you haven’t yet realized this over three posts. Rabin said what he said the year following the ‘67 war, when he told it to Le Monde, in February 1968. Even if you didn’t know that fact, it makes no sense to any thinking person that Rabin’s statement, obviously a statement about the past, would have been made in May 1967 in real time.

            Reply to Comment
          • Lewis from Afula

            Ben first quotes what Begin said 15 years AFTER the war ended. Then he quotes what Rabin said describing the situation 3 weeks BEFORE the war started.

            I recommend Comrade Ben sticks to reading Haaretz, Mondoweiss and Counterpunch. The nonsense contained there will surely help him in polishing his potent skills of historical analysis…..NOT !!!

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Once more the truth:

            Rabin said what he said 8-9 months after the war—when all the facts were in. I presume Rabin was not an idiot and that he was mentally well. Begin said what he said 15 years afterward and at a time in which there is no evidence whatsoever that Begin suffered dementia, mental illness or even the Israeli-dreaded disease of “leftism.” These facts can not be obscured. Just as the facts of the Nakba cannot any longer be denied even as the Israeli state continues to try to hide the truth. The jig is up:
            https://972mag.com/dont-wait-israeli-archives-prove-palestinians-already-know/142201/

            Reply to Comment
          • Rivka Koen

            “Degenerate”, wow, you talk just like the Nazis here do right before they open fire on synagogues.

            Reply to Comment
          • Rivka Koen

            I don’t hate myself, I just hate the kinds of Jews who talk exactly like the people who shoot up synagogues in this country. Hating kapos like you is an act of self-preservation.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            “Hating kapos like you is an act of self-preservation.”

            Marvelous, insightful turning around of the usual way this term is deployed. A truthful skewering.

            Reply to Comment
    4. Dr. S.

      The vagueness of these allegations speaks volumes of their accuracy and credibility.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Lewis from Afula

      Comrade Ben is relying on:
      Out of context quotes made 15 years AFTER the war
      OR
      quotes describing the situation 3 weeks BEFORE the war started.

      What a great historian, following in the true spirit of the Great Prof. Pappe !

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        What, pray tell, is “out of context”? Explain yourself. You have the monumental task of trying to back up the proposition that the Israeli Chief of Staff of the IDF, eight months after the war, when all the facts were in, did not know what he was talking about, and that an Israeli cabinet minister during the war also did not know what he was talking about.

        Once more the truth:

        Rabin said what he said 8-9 months after the war—when all the facts were in. I presume Rabin was not an idiot and that he was mentally well. Begin said what he said 15 years afterward and at a time in which there is no evidence whatsoever that Begin suffered dementia, mental illness or even the Israeli-dreaded disease of “leftism.” These facts can not be obscured. Just as the facts of the Nakba cannot any longer be denied even as the Israeli state continues to try to hide the truth. The jig is up:
        https://972mag.com/dont-wait-israeli-archives-prove-palestinians-already-know/142201/

        Reply to Comment
        • Lewis from Afula

          What is “out of context” ?
          Comrade Ben knows very well what being “out of context” is. It means partially quoting someone’s speech but omitting other spoken sentences that radically change that speech’s entire meaning.

          Some people might come to the conclusion that Ben’s brain is “out of context”.
          But that knowledge would be very much be “in context”.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            What other spoken sentences? Be specific.

            Reply to Comment
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