Archive | May 3rd, 2011

Oppressing West Bank Palestinian Children

NOVANEWS

 

by crescentandcross

 

 

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by Stephen Lendman


The Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies and Consultations is a Beirut, Lebanon-based organization engaged in “strategic and futuristic studies on the Arab and Muslim worlds, (highlighting) the Palestinian issue.”

In spring 2010, it published a Britain-Palestine All Party Parliamentary Group (BPAPPG) study, including the widespread detention of Palestinian children titled, “Under Occupation: A Report on the West Bank,” discussed below.

Under military occupation, Palestinian children are treated like adults. Each year, about 700 are arrested, brutally interrogated, and prosecuted in military courts, denying them justice.

Since 2000 alone, over 7,000 have been brutalized. On January 31, 2011, 222 Palestinian children were imprisoned, 34 aged 12 – 15. Some at times are 10 or younger. At age 16, they’re considered adults in violation of international law.

Israel, in fact, brazenly repudiates children’s rights and welfare, treating them like adults, in violation of the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child, its Principle 1 saying:

“Every child, without exception whatsoever, shall be entitled to (fundamental human and civil) rights, without distinction or discrimination on account of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, whether of himself or of his family.”

They’re entitled to special protections and opportunities to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually, and socially in a healthy normal way under conditions of freedom and dignity – including their right to life, an adequate standard of living, healthcare, education, leisure, safety and peace, what Israel denied them for over four decades.

Instead, they’re taken to military detention centers, harshly interrogated for days without access to lawyers or family members. In fact, parents and siblings rarely know where they’re held or whether they’re alive or dead.

Moreover, they’re mistreated, beaten, terrorized, usually tortured, hooded, denied food and water for prolonged periods as well as access to toilets and washing facilities, exposed to extreme heat and cold, painfully shackled, and deprived of sleep for several days, often in the shabeh position.

It consists of hands and legs bound to a small chair, at times from behind to a pipe affixed to the wall, painfully slanted forward, hooded with a filthy sack, and played loud music nonstop through loudspeakers.

NGOs like the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Adalah and DCI-Palestine report widespread abuse. In 2009, a sample of 100 sworn affidavits revealed:

– 69% of them were beaten, kicked, slapped, or otherwise abused;

– 49% were threatened;

– 14% held in solitary confinement;

– 12% threatened with sexual assault, including rape; and

– 32% forced to sign confessions in Hebrew most don’t understand.

As a result, from 2001 – 2010, over 645 complaints were filed against Israeli Security Agency (ISA) interrogators, citing mistreatment and abuse. So far, no criminal investigations resulted, even for the most extreme cases.

Based solely on soldiers’ testimonies and coerced confessions, children are usually charged with stone-throwing, whether or not true. To assure lesser sentences and fines, usually two to six months confinement, 81% plead guilty. Otherwise, they’ll be remanded for extended periods, tried and convicted in kangaroo proceedings, nearly always siding against them.

Mahmoud K’s experience was typical, a 15-year old boy from Bethlehem. He was taken to court shackled hands and legs. Wrist restraints were only removed during proceedings, conducted in Hebrew (with translation by an Israeli soldier). Intimidating security guards filled the room.

Mahmoud pleaded not guilty to throwing a Molotov cocktail. He was detained four months prior to trial. Two other arrested boys signed confessions, naming him, retracted when they came to court. Both said they were abused, threatened and coerced to go along. The entire proceeding lasted an hour. It hardly mattered as guilty as charged nearly always follows.

Heading to school, another 16-year old youth was arrested for not having his ID card. Afterward, he was beaten, sent to Etzion detention camp, handcuffed, blindfolded, and beaten again brutally to get him to confess to stone-throwing and reveal names of other children with him at the time.

During interrogation, his head was immersed in cold water, then hot, then the toilet. Later moved to Adorim camp, he was again beaten, tortured, held in solitary confinement for 34 days, then on “restrictive order” at Telmond Prison, in violation of Article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) stating:

“No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment….

No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily….

Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect…. (and)

Every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance….”

CRC also mandates detention as a last resort for the shortest possible time. Israel does it preemptively, repressively, and irresponsibly to harass, abuse, inflict bodily and emotional harm, torture or kill – legalized by authorities decades ago, including harming children with:

– bad food and unsafe water;

– poor healthcare or lack of it;

– bad sanitation and hygiene;

– insect infested cells;

– cramped and crowded conditions;

– inadequate air and light;

– insufficient clothing, blankets and other protections;

– no play or recreation;

– isolation from the outside world;

– no family visits;

– the absence of counselors and specialists;

– detention with adults, some violent;

– solitary confinement;

– verbal, physical and sexual abuse; and

– no education.

Against adults and children alike, including women and girls, nothing is too brutal or extreme. For example, one 15-year old said he was stripped naked, forced into an extremely painful position, then burned by lit cigarettes to make him confess.

Others are tortured to collaborate. A 10-year old said “They beat me on various parts of my body with plastic hoses. I had to have a surgical operation to have a platinum transplant in my arm. They kept me naked for a whole night, handcuffed and blindfolded; and I was not allowed to go to the toilet for two days!”

According to the Palestinian Prisoners Club, 95% of children are tortured, 85% to confess under duress and sign Hebrew documents they can’t read or understand.

Israel brazenly violates international law, including in how they treat young children. In fact, harassing, intimidating, threatening, cuffing, shackling, abusing, torturing and denying due process breaches Fourth Geneva, the UN Torture Convention, and UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

They’re inviolable legal standards Israel doesn’t give a damn about when it comes to Palestinian Arabs. Why should they when international community leaders raise no accountability issues.

A Final Comment

In the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel’s March Newsletter, Mahd Bader, a human rights law attorney, headlined, “Secret Prison for UFOs,” saying:

Facility 1391 is Israel’s Guantanamo. Officially it doesn’t exist. Detainees aren’t told where they’re held. They’re kept in darkened cells, brutally interrogated, and denied outside contact. On January 11, 2011, Israel’s Supreme Court again “demonstrated its conservative nature with respect to human rights in general and the rights of weak population sectors in particular,” effectively approving the facility’s existence, its location still secret.

In fact, Israel is prohibited from having secret detention facilities. Those existing should be closed or revealed. Instead, the Court performed a “balancing act (with) legal hair-splitting and zigzagging. (It) chose to take the complex, meandering and superfluous road of ‘appropriate balance’ and, after examining the clashing interests and rights,” avoided respecting international and Israeli law.

As a result, it ruled that detainee rights and their families are indeed violated. “However, the infringement is proportional….since the State has suggested an arrangement (to) minimize it.” No details were published or consideration for how often authorities do what they please, freely violating Court decisions with impunity.

Nonetheless, the State agreed “not to hold in this facility citizens of Israel or residents of the occupied territory unless high military officials order it. Moreover, those detained will only be for a short time. Even though the Military Judge Advocate General and Ministry of Justice supervise the facility, many questions and problems remain unanswered.

Also consider “for whom is that unknown detention facility intended if the State” won’t use it for Israeli Arabs or Palestinians? Why is it needed and kept secret? How short is “very short,” and why does any court tolerate illegal practices? No satisfactory answers were provided.

Given today’s extremist Court and Knesset, especially regarding Muslims, offers more proof that “Israel is knowingly and surely sliding towards a dark and oppressive regime.”

Today Arabs are persecuted. Tomorrow others. Soon anyone resisting state authority, no matter how oppressive and lawless. Ahead, Bader sees what he calls a “Jewish phobiocraticstate,” targeting anyone within or outside the law.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

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White House: We Lied the First Time

NOVANEWS

Source–Economicpolicyjournal.com


Politico is reporting that the White House is re-spinning the events surrounding the killing of Osama bin Laden:
The White House backed away Monday evening from key details in its narrative about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, including claims by senior U.S. officials that the Al Qaeda leader had a weapon and may have fired it during a gun battle with U.S. forces.

Officials also retreated from claims that one of bin Laden’s wives was killed in the raid and that bin Laden was using her as a human shield before she was shot by U.S. forces…

At a televised White House briefing Monday afternoon, Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan said bin Laden joined in the fight that several residents of the Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound put up against the Navy SEALs during the 40-minute operation.

“He [bin Laden] was engaged in a firefight with those that entered the area of the house he was in. And whether or not he got off any rounds, I quite frankly don’t know,” Brennan said.

At a Pentagon briefing earlier in the day, a senior defense official said bin Laden used a woman as a human shield so he could fire shots. “He was firing behind her,” the official said.

In another background briefing early Monday morning, a senior administration official also said bin Laden put up a fight. “He did resist the assault force. And he was killed in a firefight,” the official said.

However, during a background, off-camera briefing for television reporters later Monday, a senior White House official said bin Laden was not armed when he was killed, apparently by the U.S. raid team.

Another White House official familiar with the TV briefing confirmed the change to POLITICO, adding, “I’m not aware of him having a weapon.”

As Lew Rockwell has pointed out, it is standard operating procedure for the government to spin any capture/killing of a prized enemy in a manner that paints the enemy in the most unfavorable light. Thus, the story that bin Laden used a female shield in an attempt to protect himself during the raid. It turns out this story was completely fabricated.

It’s being re-spun because in this day of video cameras on every cell phone, the public knows that U.S. military personnel did not attack without cameras on their helmets. The failure to release the raid video, along with the dumping of bin Laden’s body at sea, is leaving a highly suspicious public and Obama has a presidential race to run with the killing of bin Laden as the centerpiece. In order to counter the highly suspicious public, the White House is contemplating releasing the kill video. But first they have to spin out the original story of bin Laden using one of  his wives to shield him, since the video would contradict that version of events.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: ISM activists released after 48 hours without charge

NOVANEWS

This afternoon two British men and a Swedish woman were released after
being held for 48 hours in an Israeli prison. The three activists who
are with the International Solidarity Movement had been staying in the
Palestinian village Izbet al-Tabib when over 60 Israel soldiers and a
bulldozer arrived on Sunday afternoon with the intention of building a
fence through a section of the village, annexing agricultural land.
The three were charged with being in a closed military zone; however
at the time of the arrests, the military provided the individuals with
no paperwork to support this and the charges against them were
subsequently dropped. All three activists sustained injuries during
their arrests: Rufus from the UK was hit in the face with a gun,
causing severe cuts and bruises; Lisa from Sweden was kicked in the
head and a woman in her 60s volunteering with the Michigan Peace Team
was hospitalised with a head injury and two broken wrists, she was
released from hospital yesterday but is awaiting surgery.

The small village of Izbet al-Tabib is situated south of Qalqilya next
to highway 55 which connects illegal Israeli settlements in the West
Bank. Under the pretext of preventing stones being thrown from the
village onto the highway, Israeli Civil Authorities planned to build a
fence separating the village from the highway, annexing a portion of
the village’s agricultural land. The villagers challenged this
decision in the Supreme Court, however their petition was rejected and
Israeli forces arrived in the village on Sunday morning to begin
levelling the land. International activists joined with villagers in
peacefully protesting the construction.  Villagers also erected a
protest tent on the land which was forcibly removed and confiscated by
the army early on Monday morning.

The village of Izbet al-Tabib, which consists of 45 structures and is
home to 247 residents, was built in the 1920’s and is located entirely
in area C according to the 1995 Interim Agreement (Oslo II). Israeli
authorities do not recognize the village and 32 out of its 45 houses,
as well as its school, have been served demolition orders in recent
years. Izbet al-Tabib is the fifth poorest village in the West Bank
and villagers have already lost 45% of their land due to the
construction of Israel’s Separation Barrier.

For more information contact ISM media on 00972597606276

— PLEASE FORWARD THIS UPDATE WIDELY

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