|The News Line: Feature
Thursday, 9 August 2018
Palestinian children beaten and tortured by Israel
TESTIMONIES by a number of Palestinian children to the Prisoners’ Affairs Commission show they were subjected to systematic beating and torture during and after arrest by Israeli forces, the commission said on Tuesday.
|Youth clash with deadly Israeli forces on the border with Gaza – they face being gassed, shot and killed
Commission attorney Hiba Ighbarieh documented testimonies from three children held at Majido prison regarding what they went through during and after arrest. Munir Dari, 16, from Issawiyeh neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem, told the attorney that he was assaulted by several members of the Israeli security forces upon his detention in his neighbourhood who beat him up at random all over his body.
He was also subjected to beating and cursing at the Russian Compound detention centre in West Jerusalem to get him to confess to the charges against him. Fahd Qeisieh, 17, also from Issawiyeh neighbourhood in Jerusalem, was beaten after he was caught during clashes with Israeli forces in his neighbourhood.
He said a policeman tackled him and dragged him to a police car where another officer stepped with all his force on his back while two others were violently beating him while he was forced to stay on the ground.
Beating continued at the Russian Compound interrogation centre where he was hit with a stick on his hands, legs, face and back while he was forced to kneel to get him to confess to charges against him.
Firas Masri, 17, was also severely beaten and attacked by several soldiers when he was arrested at an army checkpoint near the northern West Bank city of Qalqilya. He said he was thrown on ground covered with gravel, beaten on his head and back that resulted in injuries and bruises, cursed with vile words, after which he was blindfolded and handcuffed then dragged on the ground for a long distance before he was thrown in an army jeep and taken to a police station in the settlement of Ariel. Another commission attorney, Hussein al-Sheikh, reported two other children, Mohammad Hadieh, 16, from Bethlehem, and Fawzi Masalmeh, 18, from Azzeh refugee camp also in Bethlehem, gave affidavits of severe beating during arrest.
• Israeli Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked, warned of an ‘earthquake’ to occur in the case that the Israeli High Court of Justice decides to overturn the controversial Nationality Law. According to Times of Israel news outlet, during an interview with the official Israeli Army Radio, Shaked said that the Israeli High Court has no right to strike down the law on constitutional grounds, because it was passed as a Basic Law. The Basic Laws of Israel are the constitutional laws that can only be changed by a supermajority vote in the Israeli Knesset, hence the constitutional underpinning of the Israeli justice system.
Shaked stressed that ‘such a move would cause an earthquake between different authorities.’ Shaked added that ‘the Knesset is the constituent assembly, which defines and determines the Basic Laws. ‘The High Court justices have to interpret the laws in accordance with the Basic Laws,’ explaining that she doesn’t believe the majority of the High Court would take such a step.
Shaked restated her support for the controversial law, which has been labelled as racist against non-Jewish minorities. Since the law was passed in July, at least three petitions have been submitted to the Israeli High Court, demanding that the justices overturn the law for its discrimination. One of the petitions was filed by Adalah, the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, against the Nationality Law, demanding the Israeli High Court to overturn it for its discrimination.
The petition was submitted on behalf of all of the Arab political leaderships in Israel, the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, the National Committee of Arab Mayors, the Joint List parliamentary faction and in the name of Adalah, against the Knesset, according to an Adalah press release.
The petition stated that ‘there is no single constitution in the world today that declares in its laws that it will act to advance the interests of the dominant group, particularly when it concerns public resources such as land.’ The Nationality Law enshrines the status of the State of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.
The law includes legally preserving Israel’s ‘democratic’ character, its state symbols (national anthem, flag, icon), Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Hebrew as the official language and the right of return for Diaspora Jewry. Critics of the law raised concerns that the law will deepen a sense of apartheid within the Arab community, which has become a minority over the years.
• An Israeli strike has killed two Hamas members in Gaza in yet another act of aggression against the Palestinian resistance movement which governs the blockaded coastal enclave. Hamas military wing, Ezzeddin al-Qassam Brigades, confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that the victims were its fighters and identified them as Ahmed Murjan and Abdel-Hafez al-Silawi. The Gaza Health Ministry also confirmed the incident.
Palestinian sources said it was a drone strike, while the Israeli statement said that it was tank fire.
Meanwhile, the Israeli military said it had targeted a Hamas facility in northern Gaza in response to alleged fire from the territory aimed at its forces. Israel carries out regular attacks on Palestinians in Gaza under the pretext of hitting Hamas targets.
The Gaza Strip has been under an inhumane Israeli siege since 2007 and witnessed three wars since 2008. Tensions have been running high near the Gaza fence since March 30, which marked the start of a series of protests, dubbed ‘The Great March of Return’, demanding the right to return for those driven out of their homeland.
The Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14, marking the 70th anniversary of the Nakba Day (the Day of Catastrophe), which this year coincided with the US embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem al-Quds. Nearly 160 Palestinians have been killed and some 17,500 others wounded in the fresh wave of violence, according to the latest figures released by the Palestinian Health Ministry.
• Yet another Palestinian was shot and killed during protests along Gaza’s eastern perimeter as indirect negotiations to loosen the Israeli blockade on the territory were reportedly nearing conclusion. The slain Palestinian was identified by Gaza’s health ministry as Ahmad Yahya Atallah Yaghi, 25.
At least 120 Palestinians have been killed during the Great March of Return protests that began on 30 March, more than 20 of them children. Forty more Palestinians in Gaza were killed by Israeli fire in other incidents during that period, and one Israeli soldier was killed by Palestinian gunfire from Gaza.
The theme of this week’s protest was the remembrance of ‘The Jerusalem Intifada and the Martyr Muhammad Dar Yousif.’ The rights group Defence for Children International Palestine warned this week that children living under Israeli siege in Gaza are ‘vulnerable to nearly every kind of human rights risk, including the risk of recruitment.’
The group cited the case of Odai Ahmad Mansour Abu Hassan, 11, who died when an improvised device exploded on the rooftop of his Gaza City home in July. The boy’s father, who was also killed in the explosion, was in charge of a rocket unit belonging to the military wing of Fatah, according to Defence for Children International Palestine. Another child, Hashem Abdulfattah Othman Kallab, 17, was among a group belonging to the military wing of Islamic Jihad when all four were killed in an accidental explosion in southern Gaza in April.
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