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Testimonies: Systematic abuse, beatings and threats against Palestinian children

Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem is laying the blame on Israel’s police for ignoring the systematic abuse and violations of Palestinian minors’ rights during interrogations. The organization has received dozens of complaints by Palestinian residents under the age of 18 who have been beaten and threatened during interrogations in Etzion police station, which is in charge of the Hebron and Bethlehem areas. Many of those minors and their families were afraid or reluctant to press formal charges.

According to B’Tselem, some of the events described included torture. Once defendants admit to breaking the law (usually stone throwing), the beating and threats cease.

Palestinians are tried in military courts, where almost 100 percent of defendants are convicted. In many cases, the leading evidence against a defendant is his or her testimony during police or army interrogations.

Over the last three-and-a-half years, B’Tselem received 56 complaints of beatings, abuse and threats towards minors in Etzion police station. Minors between the ages of 12 and 18 have been threatened with sexual abuse, violence against their parents (including threats to kill them), and electrical shocks. In at least one case, a 14-year-old was made to listen to blood-curdling screams from a nearby room, while being told that the same fate awaits him. Others were beaten, at times while their hands were tied.

>Read +972’s special coverage: Children under occupation

B’Tselem has transferred 31 complaints to the Justice Ministry unit in charge of investigating police violations. Twenty families eventually decided to withdraw their complaint, fearing retribution from the authorities, and the Ministry is not willing to look into cases which are not submitted by the victim him/herself. The remaining 11 cases were either dropped by the Ministry or the investigation was never concluded.

Here are two of the testimonies collected by B’Tselem:

M.A., resident of Husan, 15-years-old at the time of his arrest.

The interrogator “Daud” took me outside with a soldier. They blindfolded me. The plastic cable ties were still on my hands. They put me in a car and started driving. I don’t know where they took me. We reached some place outside Etzion and they forced me out of the car. My hands really hurt because of the cable ties. They took off my blindfold. I didn’t know where I was. They tied me to a tree, and then they raised my cuffed hands and tied them to the tree, too. It hurt a lot. “Daud” started punching me. After a few minutes, he took out a gun and said: “I’ll murder you if you don’t confess! Out here, no one will find you. We’ll kill you and leave you here.

M.H., resident of Husan, 14-years-old at the time of his arrest.

The interrogator made me go into a room. He grabbed my head and started banging it against the wall. Then he punched me, slapped me and kicked my legs. The pain was immense, and I felt like I couldn’t stand any longer. Then he started swearing at me. He said filthy things about me and about my mother. He threatened to rape me, or perform sexual acts on me, if I didn’t confess to throwing stones. His threats really scared me, because he was very cruel and it was just the two of us in the room. I remembered what I’d seen on the news, when British and American soldiers raped and took photos of naked Iraqis.

The Justice Ministry has informed B’Tselem that it will look into the claim regarding the “systematic nature” of human rights violations in the station.

Palestinians are subject to military control, and lack the legal defenses Israeli citizens receive. Among other things, children are often not interrogated by a policeman who specializes in minors, and a lawyer is often not present during the interrogation. Furthermore, children are made to sign documents in Hebrew (which most of them don’t speak), and are tried by military tribunals for long periods in prison, even for minor offenses.

INFOGRAPHICS: Children under occupation
Hope ends here: The children’s court at Ofer Military Prison
Detained: Testimonies from Palestinian children imprisoned by Israel

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    1. All quiet on the Western front.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Anti-Imperialists for the Caliphate!

      This is a week when Leftist pro-“Palestinians” have gassed the Syrian people. This is a week when your boy was found guilty for the Fort Hood Jihad. And let’s not even talk about the thousands of suicides that the pro-“Palestinians” committed on the streets of Cairo. Or the pro-“Palestinian” Leftist death camps on the Korean peninsula. Or the Apartheid fascism of Saudi Arabia.

      For you guys to be criticizing your moral superiors – about human rights, of all things! – is just bizarre.

      When Jewish children can safely walk the streets of Mälmo; when Syrians can live their lives without being gassed in the Hajj Amin al-Husseini style; when Cairo and Pyongyang are at peace; and when the slaves of Makkah are set free – perhaps then you “Palestinians” can criticize how Jews treat child soldiers.

      Until then, you Leftists should spend a lot more time thinking about YOUR crimes – the sins of “Palestine” – before you critique your morally superior enemy.

      Reply to Comment
      • sh

        On a morning when three Palestinians have been shot dead by our soldiers and more than a dozen injured, some critically, your hate-filled post reflects accurately the nature of the beast.

        Reply to Comment
        • Vadim

          As usual, Arabs get shot for no apparent reason than the brutality of the IDF. One was probably pregnant, another was an elderly and the third a child on his way to buy candy. It’s all clearly visible in this video –


          Reply to Comment
          • Anti-Imperialists for the Caliphate!

            Another Monday; another black day for the Left. (Or should I say “red” because of the blood of innocents?)

            According to your report, the Left has sent another few child soldiers to their deaths.

            You guys proud? Are you cheering on the streets of Pyongyang and Ramat Aviv? Are you ghouls going to feast tonight on the flesh of innocents in Ram’allah and Mälmo in celebration?

            And its self-fulfilling cycle. As you on the Quranic Left become more ghoulish and blood-soaked, the only people who convert to your cult of Mohammedanism are folks who find death a turn-on. Like the “Palestinians”.

            You are a sick, sick people.

            Reply to Comment
          • JG

            Tell us more on about is living with such bullshit in your “brain”…

            Reply to Comment
        • Brigitte

          sh, tell me: WHO started the fight in this particular incident? WHAT were the 3 youngsters doing there in the middle of the commotion? It’s actually quite simple: if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen – or beat it back home as fast as you can should you find yourself an unwitting passer-by.

          Reply to Comment
      • Note how this comment completely erases the testimony of these teens through puerile undergraduate cant. Produce a label to create a mass, unconnected entity and remove all people so covered of independent existence. Labeling becomes causation, as well as excuse.

        Reply to Comment
    3. This abuse is not meant to prevent a dire outcome but simply subordinate teens to the will of the police. The two cases provided are wildly disproportionate to the confessed outcome. This is control for control’s sake, and it is inevitable without external oversight by independent courts. This is what happens when you place young adults in a pre-defined war zone. As to confessions (in Hebrew?), prohibitions against forced self incrimination are meant to protect both the accused and the police–the latter from themselves.

      Under a real system of justice 31 complaints would not go unanswered; one would be sufficient for a relentless inquiry into systematic cause. Police and soldiers are forced to be there, have their own lives, and few if any want to make those lives worse. It is much easier to let these teens drown in silence.

      Reply to Comment