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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Palestinian Children Detained Oppressively in Isolation

by Stephen Lendman on 01/05/2012


DCI/Palestine "is a national section of the international non-government child rights organisation and movement (dedicated) to promoting and protecting the rights of Palestinian children," according to international law principles.

On December 28, it submitted a complaint [PDF] to several UN authorities titled, "The use of solitary confinement on Palestinian children held in Israeli detention." It's specifically for five children held at Al Jalame and Petah Tikva interrogation centers in Israel.

Their cases follow 29 others since February 2008. At both facilities, "solitary confinement is routinely used."
Though no universally agreed on definition exists, the Istanbul Statement on the Use and Effects of Solitary Confinement defines it as physically isolating prisoners in cells for 22 to 24 hours daily. Human contact is minimized, including quantitative and qualitative stimuli.

The harmful psychological and physical effects are well documented. They include:

  • severe anxiety;
  • panic attacks;
  • lethargy;
  • insomnia;
  • nightmares;
  • dizziness;
  • irrational anger, at time uncontrollable;
  • confusion;
  • social withdrawal;
  • memory loss;
  • appetite loss;
  • delusions and hallucinations;
  • mutilations;
  • profound despair and hopelessness;
  • suicidal thoughts;
  • paranoia; and
  • for many, a totally dysfunctional state and inability ever to live normally outside of confinement.

As a result, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez called for totally banning it for children. Calling it "torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment," he stopped short of demanding its prohibition against everyone.

In 2007, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child urged the practice be "strictly forbidden."
Israel Spurns All International Laws with Impunity

Israel frequently isolates adults and children, notably Palestinians. Facilities most commonly used include Al Mascobiyya interrogation center in Jerusalem, Petah Tikva near Tel Aviv, and Al Jalame near Haifa.
Israel's Prison Service (IPS), Israel Security Agency (ISA), and Israeli police administer these facilities.

From February 2008 through November 2011, DCI/Palestine documented 34 child abuse cases. They endured "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and in some cases, torture, in violation of the" Torture Convention, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Fourth Geneva.

Israel spurns all international laws with impunity, including those pertaining to war, occupation, and fundamental humanitarian and human rights.

At Al Jalame, children are held in 2 x 3 meter cells. In 2009, one child endured 65 days of punishment. All of them sleep on concrete beds, or on the floor on thin, dirty, foul-smelling mattresses. Meals pass through door flaps, depriving them of human contact.

Al Jalame's "Cell No. 36 (like all isolation ones) has "sharp protrusions preventing the children from leaning against them for support." It's windowless with artificial light only coming from dim internal lighting kept on 24 hours a day.

As a result, "(s)ome children report suffering pain behind their eyes and adverse psychological effects."
Harsh treatment, including prolonged isolation, painful shackling, physical violence and torture are used to extract confessions.

Children at Al Jalame and other interrogation facilities are generally denied access to lawyers and family visits in violation of Fourth Geneva and other international laws.

DCI/Palestine submitted complaints for five Palestinian children. They were identified only by initials, age, gender, ID No., and place of origin.

On October 15, 2011, Israeli soldiers arrested OA at 2AM from home. He was blindfolded, painfully shackled, placed in a military vehicle, taken to Huwwara interrogation center in Palestine, forced to sit on the ground until dawn, and refused permission to use a toilet.

Later that morning he was taken to Petah Tikva interrogation center in Israel in violation of Fourth Geneva. He was stripped searched, and denied legal counsel. With his hands tied to a chair, he was interrogated by a man called "Morris."

Accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli jeep, he denied it. After two hours of interrogation, he was placed in isolation he described as follows:

"It was a very small cell with a mattress on the floor, a toilet and two concrete seats. It did not have any windows, just a vent for air conditioning. It was very cold because of the air conditioning. I could not sleep because there was a yellow light on 24 hours a day. I was detained in the cell for two days, before being transferred to Al Jalame."

There, he was isolated for five days. His detention was extended. He wasn't in court and doesn't know if counsel represented him. He was then sent back to Petah Tikva, held another nine days under identical conditions, and interrogated twice before confessing, saying:

"I was in a very bad psychological state, so I decided to confess. I confessed to throwing Molotov cocktails and stones at army jeeps," even though he was innocent.

Isolated for 16 days, he's now at Megiddo prison in Israel.

Others DCI/Palestine represented told similar stories. They were falsely charged, arrested, interrogated, isolated and harshly treated overall. Israel treats children like adults, some young as 10.

International laws were grievously violated, including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). It's Article 37(b) states:

"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."

In fact, Palestinian children are routinely arrested at checkpoints, on streets, going to or coming from school, tending olive groves, at play, and (most commonly) at home in the middle of the night.

Usually it's from midnight to 4AM. Family members are threatened not to intervene. If they try, they're assaulted and forced onto streets in their nightclothes, regardless of weather, and given no explanation.
Typically, arrests are lawless and violent. Homes are broken into unannounced. Property is damaged or stolen. Children are blindfolded, shackled, often beaten, then thrust into jeeps, sometimes face down.

In interrogation centers, inhumane treatment continues, including beatings, verbal abuse and intimidation. Most often, lawyers aren't present until questioning ends with a signed Hebrew confession children can't read or understand. Once gotten, they're used to convict even though torture extracted evidence is inadmissible under international law.

Article 15 of the UN Convention Against Torture states:

"Each State Party shall ensure that any statement which is established to have been made as a result of torture shall not be invoked as evidence in any proceedings, except against a person accused of torture as evidence that the statement was made."

In custody, children endure:

  • blindfolding and painful shackling;
  • beatings;
  • violent shaking;
  • sleep deprivation;
  • solitary confinement;
  • other forms of sensory deprivation;
  • no food and water for extended periods;
  • poor quality or inedible food when gotten;
  • no access to toilets, showers and clean clothes;
  • exposure to extreme heat or cold;
  • painful stress positions for extended periods;
  • sexual abuse;
  • threats, insults and cursing; and
  • extremely loud noises.
Often parents and siblings are also arrested, beaten, detained, and their homes sometimes demolished.
Under Military Order 132, children aged 12 - 13 receive maximum six month sentences. Those aged 14 - 15 usually face 12 months, but can receive up to five years.

More serious offenders face no limits. Military Order 378 permits up to 20 years for stone-throwing (the most common offense charged). Moreover, children 16 or older are considered adults and treated no differently. Under international law, adulthood begins at age 18.

Under military occupation, Israel's system is rigged to convict and brutalize before and after incarceration, despite Fourth Geneva's Article 147 requiring fair trials, and holding those responsible for denying them criminally liable.

International law also forbids torture, other abuse and inhumane treatment at all times, under all conditions with no allowed exceptions. Israel ignores all international laws. It does what it please, including against children young as 10 no matter their innocence.

DCI/Palestine and other human rights organizations demand these crimes against humanity end and those responsible held accountable. So far it hasn't happened.

The use of solitary confinement on Palestinian children held in Israeli detention

Not at my expense

Op-ed: Solution to religious clash is simple - government should stop financing haredim 
Jacob Kirsch
Published: 01.03.12, 12:45 / Israel Opinion

Every day I read with increasing dismay the stories and op-eds in our media about the radical Jewish menace plaguing our society today. I read and I weep; for the little girl who was spit on and cursed, for the soldier who was called a whore for boarding a bus and sitting in the front, and for our society which seems to be oblivious to the true problem. I weep as I see haredim affix a yellow star to their jackets - as if that symbol should be displayed anywhere outside the walls of Yad Vashem.

I weep because here, in the Jewish homeland, there are those among us who consider themselves more righteous than the next. As if to prove it, they assault our mothers, sisters and daughters with violence and bodily fluids, and they yell at the top of their lungs that these women are “whores,” “sluts,” “shiksas.”
The Other Side

Haredim also have rights / Hanoch Daum

Op-ed: Does Israel’s majority have deep desire to make the haredi minority disappear?
Full story

The Jewish State has come to an important crossroads in our nation's history. Our actions today, wrong or right, will determine how our society advances in the coming decades and, hopefully, centuries. But every article of news and every opinion piece I have read seems to omit a most basic truth. A truth we might not want to admit, but a truth nonetheless. We, the secular Israelis, are financing every aspect of this new fight.
We pay for it directly, by financing haredim and their large families. We enable them, by making payments every month so that they can send their 12 children to yeshivas and not hold a job. We pay the yeshivas, which in turn refuse to teach even the most basic core curriculum tenets. We pay for the legal system, which is starting to handle the problem we face. We pay for a lawyer to defend these radicals in court. Then, if convicted for calling someone a whore, or assaulting a little girl with spittle, we pay for them to sit in a jail cell until their sentence is served.

Lose your welfare 


Many of the most extreme don't believe in the very existence of the State. Yet they happily take our money every month - without fail. Our democracy allows them this right, thankfully. Just as it allows me the right to sit here and voice my dissent. If you don't believe in Israel's existence, if you tell me you live in Palestine, go ahead. But why should our government pay you money that we sent in the form of taxes, if you don't believe it is the legitimate government of this land?

I do not pretend to have all the answers. But there are reasonable solutions and required reactions to this problem which can and should be implemented without delay. The proper reaction is not to get on a segregated bus in a bikini and sit at the front. That is incitement, and it is stooping to their low level. The ultimate solution to this problem is to stop the funds. This is the only problem we can solve by not throwing money at it. In fact, it is one of the few problems that we can solve and make money from.  

 Do you think a soldier is a whore for being in the wrong section of your Taliban bus? Keep it to yourself - or lose your welfare (better yet, serve in the army.) Do you fervently believe that an eight-year-old girl should be spat on because her ankles and wrists are showing? Kindly keep your thoughts and your spit to yourself - or lose your welfare. We all have the right to procreation, and this world needs more Jewish children. But not at my expense - I have enough trouble paying for my own, thank you.,7340,L-4170661,00.html

An orgy of hatred

Op-ed: Amnon Levy slams blatant, seemingly liberal incitement against the haredim 
Amnon Levy
Published: 01.03.12, 18:17 / Israel Opinion
In recent days I’ve been quarreling with all my friends. They are good people, these friends – liberal, tolerant, moderate and sensitive to any injustice. These are people that in our complex reality were never confused between good and bad. This is why I love them, among other things. I’d like to think that we are cut from the same cloth. That’s why I’m so amazed to see how uncaring and hateful they become when a group of people known as the haredim comes up for discussion.

My liberal friends propose various steps against the haredim and religious: A cadet who cannot bear female singing will not be an officer in the IDF, said one friend. As simple as that (“as simple as that” or “at once” are words that always accompany discussions about the haredim.) A segregated bus shall be stopped! The driver and bus operators should be sent to jail. A yeshiva that will not teach the core curriculum shall be closed at once! We shall not allow primitive ignoramuses to be raised here, and at our expense no less. A neighborhood that features separate sidewalks for women shall immediately lose its municipal services! They can go ahead and choke in their own garbage.
Religious Clash

Not at my expense / Jacob Kirsch

Op-ed: Solution to religious clash is simple - government should stop financing haredim
Full Story

There are more proposals that are even more terrifying. Disconnect haredi neighborhoods from electricity, water and whatnot. The same people who would quiver, and rightfully so, if such proposals were made about Gaza, forget that behind the dark clothes, odd views and challenging (and annoying) behavior lie human beings. They are different than us, but they are human beings.

I’ve been following haredi society for many years yet I don’t remember such anger. And that’s odd, because the secular fury comes at a time when secularism is winning while the haredim are on the defense. Once upon a time the haredim sought to educate us. They made pretenses of telling us where and what to eat, what to do on Shabbat, where and how to be buried, and how to get married. Some time has passed, and the seculars won most battles.

Today it’s the seculars who wish to educate the haredim. The seculars are upset by the segregated bus routes. This doesn’t upset haredi women, but it does upset the secular Tania Rosenblit. The seculars are upset that math is not being taught at yeshivas. They know better than haredi parents what’s good for their sons. The seculars are upset by the relationship between men and women in haredi society. Why can’t the haredim be like us?

Wild incitement

I look at the holy secular anger and fail to understand it. It lacks the modesty of one who looks at another society from the outside. It has no hesitation – maybe we are wrong after all? Perhaps we failed in understanding the other?

I, for example, very much want the haredim to study the core curriculum, I will try to convince them this is needed, but I won’t enforce it upon them. Why? Because somewhere in my head I’m not certain that the core curriculum is truly important for the life meant for a haredi child. Perhaps for him math and English are less necessary than another Talmud class? In all such matters I will hesitate, because in my view when a civilized liberal looks at someone who is different, this should be done with the required modesty.

However, the seculars are furious and are unwilling to show any modesty in the way they look at the haredim. Had I been a religious Jew, I would be concerned. I would take this fury seriously and understand how I contributed to it. I would try to calm the atmosphere through some concessions.

And here I get to the heart of the matter: We need a new social covenant. The old status-quo may have secured political calm, yet caused a flare-up in secular-haredi relations. Both sides must be brave and go for a new covenant premised on a simple principle: Life in the country will be secular in every way. The haredim will let go of their need to care for our secular souls. This means buses on Shabbat, civil marriage and everything associated with a modern state.

On the other hand, the secular majority would allow the haredim to have full cultural autonomy within their neighborhoods. This means letting go of the need to education them and allowing them to live their life as they see fit. And yes, this means segregated buses in haredi population centers and tolerance to haredi education.
That’s the principle. Implementing it isn’t simple because there would be red lines, of course. If the haredim want to educate their children by beating them up, we won’t agree to. However, within the boundaries of logic, we must make every effort to accept the differences of the other.

In my arguments with my liberal friends, one of them sometimes places a hand on my shoulder and asks in a concerned voice: “Amnon, what happened to you? After all, you are secular, a devout atheist; what’s happening to you?” So here is the answer: It appears to me that being a liberal, progressive and humanist today means resisting this blatant incitement against the haredim; standing up against the bon-ton and saying: I’m not taking part in this orgy of hatred.,7340,L-4170686,00.html

2 haredim arrested over pics depicting J'lem police chief as Hitler

Ultra-Orthodox residents of Beit Shemesh suspected of distributing posters online with captions reading 'Jerusalem Jews under the tyrant Shaham's occupation in 2012' and 'we made it through Hitler, and we will make it through his successor'

Eli Senyor
Published: 01.04.12, 10:57 / Israel News
Two ultra-Orthodox men from Beit Shemesh were arrested Wednesday morning on suspicion of distributing flyers depicting Jerusalem police chief Niso Shaham as Adolf Hitler.

The suspects, aged 26 and 55, were arrested by investigators from the Serious National and International Crimes Unit.
One of the flyers, which were published online, depicts Shaham wearing a Nazi uniform with a caption reading "Freshly imported from Berlin" and "Adolf Niso Shaham is a murderer." Additional text read “We made it through Hitler, and we will make it through his successor" and expressed hope that Shaham meet the same fate as the Nazi dictator.

התמונות שהופצו ברשת (בצילום: בחדרי חרדים)
'In those days, in this time' (Screenshot)

A second poster used what by now has become an iconic image of a haredi boy with a yellow star, meshed with a picture of a Jewish boy taken during the Holocaust, with a caption reading "In those days, in this time: European Jews under Nazi occupation in 1940 – Jerusalem Jews under the tyrant Shaham's occupation in 2012."

The flyers were published on Monday, presumably as part of the haredi protest over what some religious elements called the "community's persecution."

On Tuesday Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch expressed his shock over the release of images, saying "it's inconceivable that such heinous acts would be carried out in the Jewish state.
"We will not allow such despicable behavior towards any member on the Israel Police. I am appalled by this use of the Holocaust. The police will not rest until the perpetrators are caught," he said.
As far as the police know the posters had limited online release and it is unknown whether actual copies were printed or distributed.,7340,L-4171090,00.html