PALESTINIAN children in Israeli jails are being subjected to torture, and physical and psychological abuse by Israeli officials, says the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs (PCPA).
On Saturday, Hiba Masalha, its lawyer, released a report based on the testimonies of a number of Palestinian teens in Israeli custody. It highlights the ordeal of 15-year-old Muhammad Abdul-Hafith Atiyeh, who was arrested on April 19th, when Israeli military forces broke into his family house in the Issawiya neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.
‘After Israeli soldiers handcuffed and took me outside my home, they violently beat me with their hands, clubs and rifle butts. They kicked me in the head, back, and abdomen,’ Atiyeh said. He added that he was then shoved head down inside a military jeep between two Israeli soldiers. ‘They slapped me in the face whenever I moved,’ the Palestinian minor noted.
Muhammad Arafat Ubeidat, another teenage boy from the predominantly Arab neighbourhood of Jabel Mukaber in East Jerusalem al-Quds, said he was detained from his home during an overnight raid on May 19th.
The handcuffed 16-year-old was then taken to a detention centre, where he underwent a six-hour interrogation with his hands and feet tied to a chair. Ubeidat was kept in a cell at the compound under no charge for 14 days, and subjected to 17 interrogation sessions during the period. He had three or four interrogation sessions a day on some days.
The report came as the PCPA reported on August 16th that Israeli forces had detained 560 Palestinian children in East Jerusalem al-Quds so far this year. Even the UN has urged Israel to release prisoners held in ‘administrative detention’ without trial or charge. The UN intervention has been prompted by a fresh wave of hunger strikes by Palestinians and the continuing Third Intifada of the Palestinian masses.
UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Robert Piper, said yesterday he was ‘deeply concerned about the deteriorating health’ of Bilal Kayed, who has been refusing food for 67 days to express dissatisfaction with his administrative detention.
The 35-year-old inmate was arrested in 2002 and spent fourteen and a half years in Israeli jails. On June 13th, the day Kayed was scheduled to be freed, his imprisonment was extended for another six months!
Consequently he renewed his hunger strike to denounce his arbitrary detention, and some 100 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons have launched hunger strikes in solidarity with Kayed.
More than 7,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in some 17 Israeli jails. Since October 2015 over 230 Palestinians, including children and women, have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces as they waged the Third Palestinian Intifada (uprising) since the beginning of last October.
Israel however is not stopping at the oppression of the Palestinians. It is also engaging in provocations in the Shebaa Farms area, the only part of Lebanon that it still occupies, and supporting the Islamists in Syria.
Last Friday, Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of Hezbollah, warned Israel that the Lebanese resistance movement will defeat Israel in any new military confrontation ignited by the Tel Aviv regime. He revealed that the missiles that Hezbollah fired against Israel during the 2006 war came from the Syrian military industry, and were not manufactured in Iran.
He added: ‘What is happening in Syria is a form of revenge for that war. . . The Israelis knew that a direct military confrontation would not lead to Hezbollah’s defeat and that a war with Iran was not helpful. That is why they chose to take out Syria from the axis of resistance.’
The revolutionary converse is of course true. The Israelis are playing with a gigantic revolutionary fire! The war in Syria is failing. When Syria drives out all of the foreign invaders, this victory will add an enormous force to the struggle of the Palestinian masses and drive them forward, with their allies, to overthrow the Israeli military and the state of Israel.
Then the state of Palestine will be established,with Jerusalem as its capital, where Jews, Christians and Muslims will live peacefully side by side in full harmony with each other.