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children under occupation

  • Israel's wars in Gaza propel child labor for Palestinian kids

    The military offensives enmesh and worsen widespread poverty in Gaza, which in turn drives children into the labor market to help support their families. By Cody O’Rourke When an Israeli airstrike destroyed 12-year-old Rezek’s house west of Gaza City in 2012, his family lost everything, forever altering his life. His family fell into economic hardship and had no money for food, so Rezek dropped out of school to work to help his family. As humanitarian conditions deteriorate in Gaza, and the blockade continues to stifle rebuilding efforts and destroy livelihoods, many children, like Rezek, work in dangerous conditions. One year…

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  • Palestinian mothers teach life, not hate

    How am I supposed to explain to my six-year-old son the heinous acts he witnesses Israel perpetrating against his people? How do you suggest I explain the violence of your occupation to my kid, Mr. Netanyahu? By Dalal Erakat In his address to the UN General Assembly last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had the audacity to insinuate that Palestinian mothers teach their children to hate. As a proud Palestinian mother, I must remind him of the life his country — through half a century of occupation and exile — has given our children. As a Palestinian mother, I demand an apology from Mr. Netanyahu, and I call on Israeli mothers…

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  • Israel releases 12-year-old Palestinian girl, highlighting dual legal systems

    A Jewish child arrested for an identical crime in the same location would not have been sent to prison. Israeli authorities released the girl after the case got attention and a request from her parents. Text by Oren Ziv / Activestills.org Twelve-year-old Dima al-Wawi, the youngest Palestinian in Israeli prison, was released after two-and-a-half months on Sunday. Israeli authorities delivered her to the Jabara checkpoint in the West Bank in the early afternoon hours, where she was met by her parents and waiting journalists. [tmwinpost] Al-Wawi was arrested 75 days earlier at the entrance to the Israeli settlement of Karmei…

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  • Pilot limiting night arrests of Palestinian kids falls short

    The Israeli army implemented a pilot program last year to serve Palestinian children with summonses instead of snatching them from their beds in the middle of the night. Some of those summonses, however, were delivered by soldiers in the middle of the night. By Gerard Horton Following widespread criticism of the the Israeli army’s use of night raids to arrest minors in the West Bank, in February 2014 military authorities announced a pilot program to issue minors with summonses instead. The thinking behind using summonses is that you limit the need for night raids, which generally terrify individual households and…

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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 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…

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  • Who protects Palestinian children from the police?

    Three East Jerusalem children wait for hours in an Israeli police station — their parents aren’t notified and their lawyer isn’t allowed to speak with them. The case exposes a gaping black hole in the laws regulating the treatment of minors and their representation by public defenders in Israel. By Alma Biblash and Michael Salisbury-Corech Israeli police arrested three children — 10, 11 and 13 years old — in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan last Thursday evening on suspicion of throwing stones. Undercover officers arrested them and took them to the Shalem police station, next to the Old City. [tmwinpost]…

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  • My Palestinian mother was like Baltimore’s Toya Graham

    In the first Intifada, my mother recognized the need to resist but she also wanted to keep her daughter safe — so she locked the doors and hid the keys. But if we are to be consistent, shouldn't police officers' mothers be responsible for stopping brutality? Shouldn't Israeli soldiers' mothers put a stop the arrests and mistreatment of Palestinian children? By Nadia Naser-Najjab The image of Toya Graham berating her own son and pulling him away from confrontations between police and protestors in Baltimore, where police brutality has sparked violent protests, resonated so deeply for me. I had witnessed this…

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  • The illusion of change in the West Bank military courts

    Positive developments in the treatment of minors by Israeli security forces are overshadowed by partial and half-hearted implementation. By Gerard Horton In March 2013, UNICEF recommended that all children detained by the Israeli military in the West Bank must be given written information about their rights, including the right to silence and prompt access to a lawyer, at the time of arrest. This followed a finding by the UN agency that the ill-treatment of children detained in the system was “widespread, systematic and institutionalized.” In response, the Israeli Foreign Ministry announced that it would “study [the recommendations] and work to…

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  • Israel must provide alternatives to prison for Palestinian minors

    It's time to advocate for the mental health treatment and education of Palestinian children detained in Israeli military prisons. Untreated post-traumatic stress disorder will only fuel their continued hatred and aggression towards the authorities. By Leah R. Platkin A painfully violent video went viral last month, showing two Israeli soldiers ordering dogs to attack a 16-year-old Palestinian Hamza Abu Hashem. The incident took place months earlier but the video was only circulated in March by former Knesset member Michael Ben-Ari, on the eve of Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress. Ben Ari hoped the video would teach Palestinian children a lesson,…

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  • PHOTOS: Answering tear gas with flowers

    Photos and text by Oren Ziv / Activestills.org Every Friday residents of the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, along with Palestinian, Israeli and international activists, attempt to march to the village’s spring. The small spring was taken over by Israeli settlers from the nearby settlement of Halamish years ago, and the Israeli army now prevents Palestinians from reaching it. Before the protest this past Friday, children from Nabi Saleh placed flowers they picked from the surrounding hills into spent tear gas canisters fired at protesters in weeks past. The children of Nabi Saleh take part in the protests against…

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  • There's no nice way of building settlements in occupied territory

    Those familiar with the system know that as long as settlement construction continues, the abuse and intimidation of the Palestinian civilian population will be maintained. By Gerard Horton UNICEF, the UN body tasked with providing humanitarian aid to children in developing countries, recently issued an update on the progress made regarding the treatment of minors held in Israeli military detention. In its 2013 report, Children in Israeli Military Detention, UNICEF reviewed over 400 sworn testimonies collected from minors who came in contact with Israel's military system, and concluded that ill-treatment “appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process,”…

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  • WATCH: From Ofer prison to the Knesset?

    Attorney Gaby Lasky spends her days fighting the occupation in Israel's military courts. Now she is fighting to make it into the next Knesset with the left-wing Meretz party. An elections special. Video by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org For Palestinians in the West Bank, Ofer Military Court has come to be known as a symbol of the banality and injustice that lies at the heart of Israel's occupation of the West Bank. For Attorney Gaby Lasky, however, Ofer is where much of her day-to-day work takes place. Lasky — a human rights attorney who previously served as the General Director of Peace…

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  • WATCH: A heartbreaking portrait of life in Hebron, in 9 minutes

    By Moriel Rothman-Zecher What does life under occupation look like for a teenage Palestinian? A new, powerful short film by filmmaker and activist Yuval Orr attempts to show exactly that, by following 15-year-old Awni Abu Shamsiya as he attempts to maintain some shred of normalcy in his hometown of Hebron. Hebron, where the occupation is in many ways manifested in its rawest form, is the only Palestinian city inside which there is an Israeli settlement. It is a junction of direct and daily conflict between Palestinian civilians, Israeli soldiers and Jewish-Israeli settlers. It is a city where streets are segregated between…

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