Universal Child Day – Israel Steps Up Attacks On Palestinian Children!

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THE Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), on the eve of the UN’s Universal Child Day, maintained that Palestinian children remain victims of the ongoing Israeli violence.

‘Due to the Israeli provocations and the repeated raids of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and daily attacks on the Palestinians, the Palestinian children became the prime victims of such violations since late October this year,’ said PCBS.

According to the Ministry of Health, Israeli soldiers killed 18 children in the West Bank and Gaza Strip until 16 November 2015. ‘Children represent thus far 20% of all martyrs.’ During the last war on the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014, 540 children (340 males and 200 females) aging 10 days to 17 years were killed. Furthermore, 2,956 children (1,938 males and 1,018 females) were injured, 1,500 children were orphaned, and 54,000 children became homeless, said PCBS.

Regarding Israel’s detention of Palestinian children, data from the Prisoners’ Affairs Commission showed that 3,755 children were detained during the period 2010- 2014. Defence for Children International stated that the number of children detained in the Israeli prisons from the beginning of January until the end of August 2015 reached 1,322 children.

Additionally, during October, 2015 more than 600 children under the age of 16 years were arrested and imprisoned in Israeli jails, 60% of whom were arrested from their homes and there are five of them were arrested after they were shot, added PCBS.

Regarding Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes, PCBS said that, ‘The number of houses demolished by Israeli authorities in East Jerusalem in the period from 2004 till mid-2014 reached 545 dwellings. Subsequently, 2,115 persons, including 1,140 children lost their homes’.

‘In the period from 2006 to 2014 Israel demolished at least 817 residential units of Palestinians in the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem), displacing thus 3,956 Palestinians including 1,925 minors.’

PCBS added that, ‘Israeli authorities repetitively demolishes houses in the Jordan Valley and southern Hebron as well as in the villages unrecognised by Israel, until 15 December 2014, it had demolished houses displacing at least 556 Palestinians including 286 minors in these areas, some of these houses were demolished several times.’

On a different note, PCBS said that, ‘50,000 children, enrolled in 183 schools in area C, do not enjoy access to education because of insufficient schools and risk on the way to school.’ According to Save the Children, UNICEF and the Ministry of Education data, more than 1,700 children in 37 localities in area C walked about 5 kilometres or more to school.

‘Around 2,500 children were forced to cross military checkpoints to reach school on a daily basis, while 10,000 children were learning in tents, caravans and tin shacks that provided no protection against heat or cold.’

• Israeli army forces on Wednesday detained at least 14 Palestinians, including four minors, during predawn raids and searches in Hebron district and other areas in the West Bank, according to local and security sources. Army forces broke into the town of Idna, west of Hebron, and detained two Palestinians, identified as Mosab Abu-Juhesheh, 24, and Waddah Abu-Juhesheh, 24.

The Army also stormed the nearby al-Aroub Refugee Camp where they detained Mahdi Badawi, 20, Imad al-Jundi, 18, and Mohammad Hasaniya, 18. Meanwhile, forces broke into the towns of Surif, Yatta, and Beit Ummar in the district, where they detained Zeyad Abu-Fara, 20, Mohammad Shreteh, 22, and Mohammad Abu-Dayyeh, 16. The army searched the house of Abu-Dayyeh before detaining him.

In the meantime, Rateb Jabour, coordinator of the Anti-Settlement Committee in Hebron, said Israeli forces raided the Bedouin village of Janba, south of Hebron, and searched a number of tents and caves in the village after forcing their Palestinian residents to remain outside in the cold winter weather.

Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers detained a Palestinian minor, unidentified yet, as he attempted to cross through an Israeli-controlled checkpoint outside Hebron’s aI-Ibrahimi Mosque. He was transferred to an unknown destination. Soldiers also detained another minor, whose identity remains unidentified, after beating him up.

Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers stationed at Huwwara junction checkpoint, south of Nablus, detained Aymad Hamzawi, 17, as he attempted to cross the checkpoint. In Jerusalem, Israeli security forces broke into the town of Anata, west of the city, and detained three Palestinians, identified as Mohammad al-Omari, Alaa Hamdan, and Mohammad Salameh.

Earlier, on Tuesday night, Israeli army carried out a raid and search offensive in Hebron city; local residents reported that Israeli soldiers raided their homes, forced several families, including children, to stay outside in the cold winter weather, ransacked amounts of money, as well as took over several rooftops and turned them into military outposts.

Soldiers further interrogated and verbally assaulted the homes’ residents as well as used tear gas canisters against them, which spread panic and fear among them, particularly children. Forces reportedly obstructed the work of journalists at the scene during the night offensive; threatening to smash their cameras and arrest them, WAFA correspondent said.

l An attorney from the Palestinian Detainees’ Affairs Committee on Wednesday revealed affidavits presented by Palestinian detainees about brutal torture in Israeli prisons. Hiba Masalha revealed two of the most painful experiences that Palestinian detainees endure in Majeddo prison. She highlighted the stories of both Shukri Hantash, 15, who comes from the Jerusalem town of Abu Dis and has been detained since September 28, 2015 and Muhammad Darraj, 17, who comes from Ramallah city and has been detained since September 11, 2015.

Hantash was detained from Abu Dis downtown about 5pm on September 28. Five soldiers attacked and knocked him down and beat him up with their legs and rifles on his back and leg. Masalha said the soldiers intentionally beat him up twice on his leg, inflicting horrible pain. Two soldiers handcuffed Hantash using plastic straps, blindfolded and dragged him into a military vehicle and moved him to a military camp.

Israeli soldiers dragged Shukri into a closed place after arriving in the camp, and a soldier whipped him several times using an electric cable, leaving marks of torture for about a month. During evening time, Hantash was transferred to Ma’ali Adumim detention and interrogation centre and interrogated for about two hours. He was transferred to the minors section in Ofer detention centre (prison), where he remained for two weeks.

Hantash was then transferred to Megiddo prison and strip-searched before being imprisoned in the minors’ section. Meanwhile, Muhammad Darraj was detained around 2AM from his family’s house in Ramallah on September 11. Several soldiers stormed the house and broke into Muhammad’s room while he was asleep. A soldier woke him up by beating him on the shoulder using a rifle. Muhammad woke up horrified and was not allowed any time to change his sleep wear or use the bathroom.

Israeli soldiers handcuffed Muhammad with plastic ties and blindfolded before being dragged into a military vehicle. He was transferred into a military camp, where he was strip-searched and underwent a medical checkup. Muhammad was detained there until morning, until transferred into Etzion detention and interrogation centre, where a soldier un-cuffed him.

Instead of using a specialised cutter to remove the plastic cuffs, the soldier used a cigarette lighter to melt the plastic cuffs; the plastic straps melted burning Muhammad’s hands. Muhammad was detained in Ofer detention and interrogation centre for about 40 days before being transferred to Majeddo prison. At Majeddo, he was strip-searched and then allowed into the minors’ section.