There are three articles here regarding Palestinian children and the IDF. Each story is worse than the last. It is beyond me how children can be targeted for "sport shooting" but it is done.
MORE PALESTINIAN CHILDREN BEING JAILED
By Mel Frykberg
BI’ILIN, West Bank,
Sep 24, 2009 (IPS)
Eight children between the ages of 10 and 17 were arrested and detained by Israeli soldiers during military raids Monday night and Tuesday morning in the northern West Bank cities Nablus and Qalqilia.
Defence for Children International (DCI) Palestine has released a statement that the number of children detained in Israeli jails and temporary Israeli army detention centres this year has risen by 17.5 percent compared with 2008.
“The average number of Palestinian children held in Israeli detention in 2009 remains high, at 375 per month compared with an average of 319 in 2008,” says DCI.
“Disturbingly, 39 young children between the ages of 12 and 15 were detained in August 2009. This is up 85 percent compared to the corresponding period in 2008 of 21 children.”
Israel is a signatory to the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which states that “the arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time.”
Nashmi Muhammad Abu Rahme, 14, from the West Bank village of Bi’ilin near Ramallah was arrested and dragged from his bed at 3 am Aug. 15 after Israeli soldiers raided his home.
The village of Bi’ilin has been involved in a protracted campaign of non- violent civil disobedience against Israel’s building of a wall which cuts through village land, separating villagers and farmers from their agricultural fields.
The villagers successfully petitioned an Israeli court to have the wall re- routed several years ago, but the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have failed to comply with the court’s orders.
“My family was awoken by the sounds of Israeli soldiers yelling and starting to smash down the door. I was blindfolded and tightly handcuffed by the soldiers and then thrown into the back of a jeep,” recalls Abu Rahme.
“During the journey to the military base I was repeatedly slapped, beaten and kicked until I was bleeding. I was very scared,” Abu Rahme told IPS.
Israeli medics treated Abu Rahme for bleeding and contusions before he was brought before an interrogator, again blindfolded and handcuffed. His interrogation lasted three hours, during which he was accused of throwing stones at soldiers near the wall on Bi’ilin’s agricultural land.
Abu Rahme was kept in jail for a week before he was brought before a military prosecutor. He was fined 5,000 shekels (1,340 dollars) and released.
“We have had about 12 children from our village arrested and detained by the Israelis,” Hassan Moussa, a schoolteacher from the neighbouring village of Ni’ilin told IPS.
Under Israeli administrative detention, Palestinians can be held for three months without trial, and this can be renewed at the end of that period for another three months.
“It interrupts their education when they are detained for weeks and months without being brought to trial,” says Moussa.
Most Palestinian children are held for stone-throwing. Israeli Military Order 378 carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment for this, five years less than the average murder sentence in Israel.
“During interrogation, children as young as 12 years are denied access to a lawyer and visits from their families,” says DCI.
“Whilst under interrogation children are subjected to a number of prohibited techniques. These include the excessive use of blindfolds and handcuffs, slapping and kicking, painful position abuse for long periods of time, solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, and a combination of physical and psychological threats,” says DCI.
Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem describes the tiny cells where Palestinian children are often held in solitary confinement.
These include the ‘lock-up’, a dark cell of 1.5 by 1.5 metres. The ‘closet’ is a narrow cell the height of a person that one can stand in but not sit or move. The ‘grave’ is a box closed by a door from the top and measuring approximately one metre by 60 cm with a depth of about 80 cm.
DCI has documented at least seven cases during Israel’s war on Gaza at the beginning of the year where Gazan children were used as human shields by Israeli soldiers.
“There is a big difference in the way Palestinian and Israeli minors are treated by Israeli law,” Khaled Quzmar from DCI Palestine told IPS.
Palestinian children as young as 12 years are prosecuted in the Israeli military courts and are treated as adults as soon as they turn 16, in contrast to the situation under Israeli domestic law, whereby majority is attained at 18.
The IDF announced in July that it would be setting up a separate military court for juveniles. Hitherto both Palestinian adults and children had been tried together.
“The good news is that after 42 years of occupation the Israelis have recognized that their legal treatment of Palestinian children has been morally indefensible,” says Quzmar.
“The bad news is that the changes are merely semantic. Children will continue to be tried by the same judges in the same jails. The only difference is juveniles will be tried at separate times,” Quzmar told IPS.
Previously, according to military law, there was no statute of limitations on offenses by Palestinians, even if the suspect committed the offense when he or she was a minor.
“While the new order ostensibly sets a two-year statute of limitations for offenses committed by minors, it also allows the military prosecutor to overrule this. The prosecution will generally be given the benefit of the doubt,” added Quzmar.
January 18, 2009
By Topaz Amorre
Doctors operating the only brain-scanning machine at an Egyptian hospital near Gaza have been almost overwhelmed by the number of Palestinian children arriving with bullet wounds to the head.
On just one day last week, staff at the Al Arish hospital in Sinai were called to perform CAT scans on a nine year old, two 10 year olds and a 14 year old, each of whom had a bullet lodged in their brain after coming under fire during the Israeli ground assault on Gaza.
Israeli officials continued to deny on Saturday that their soldiers had deliberately targeted civilians, blaming Hamas fighters for sheltering in the houses of ordinary Gaza residents and using them as human shields.
But there is no disputing the scale of the suffering in Gaza or its heavy impact on the young.
Hundreds of victims of Israel’s three-week campaign in Gaza have been transferred across the Egyptian border at Rafah for urgent treatment. They are seen first at Al Arish, nearly 40 miles from the border.
Among them last week was nine-year-old Anas Haref, who arrived with a bullet in her brain. Dr Ahmad Yahia, head of the trauma team, broke the news to her grandmother that the girl was not expected to live.
“The bullet has damaged a big part of her brain,” said Dr Yahia. “It came in, hit the skull wall and then changed direction downwards.
Dr Yahia, a professor of neurosurgery, believes that the bullet was shot from close range. “If it changes course inside the brain it has high velocity and its penetrative force is also high,” he said.
“I can’t precisely decide whether these children are being shot at as a target, but in some cases the bullet comes from the front of the head and goes towards the back, so I think the gun has been directly pointed at the child.”
Dr Ayman Abd Al Hadi, a medical team leader at the hospital, said: “We’ve had one child with two bullets in the head and nowhere else. We think this shows something.”
He praised the medical teams in Gaza for managing to save so many lives despite a shortage of staff, supplies and equipment. “But only a very small percentage of children can survive bullet wounds to the head,” he said.
“If we see three children here who have survived bullet wounds to the head, there are probably 97 still in Gaza who have not.”
Doctors at the small but well equipped hospital do not attempt to remove the bullets, but perform a full assessment and attempt to stabilize their patients before sending them to hospitals in Cairo, and in some cases abroad, for more complex treatment.
Of those who survive, few will recover fully. Most child victims of such injuries are likely to be paralyzed for life.
Other children have other horrific injuries ~ such as Samer, not yet three years old, who was shot in the back outside her home in Gaza, and had to wait three hours for medical help to reach her.
Her uncle, Hassan Abedrabo, said that Samer was hit by an Israeli bullet that damaged her spinal cord and left her paralyzed. Her sisters, aged two and six, were shot dead in the same close-range attack as they tried to escape tanks bombarding their home in Jabaliya, north of Gaza City.
Their mother was hit twice but survived; Abedrabo said that their grandmother, waving a white flag at the front of the terrified family procession, lost an arm to another bullet.
Samer has now been transferred to a Belgian hospital but the Egyptian doctors who treated her in Al Arish believe she will never walk again. Samer thinks she knows what happened to her.
“The Jewish shot me,” she said in Arabic. “And they killed my little sister.”
August 11, 2008
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