By Afshan Khan
On Monday, 1st of July of this month, the Supreme Court of Israel denied hearing a petition which requested that Palestinian child prisoners be allowed to call their parents while in detention as it causes severe psychological damage to the children. Israeli human rights organisation “HaMoked: Centre for the Defence of the Individual” filed this petition to the Supreme Court.
Middle East Monitor recently shared a data on its twitter account regarding the arrest of Palestinian children by Israel. It states that Israel arrests up to 700 Palestinian children each year and 97% had no parent or lawyer present during interrogation.
We have not even completed half of this year (2019) and Israel has already detained 230 children. In the last year 3,255 Palestinian children between the ages of 12 and 17 were detained by Israel. These figures were issued by the reports by the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO)’s Department of Public Diplomacy and Policy.
Israel uses 105 types of methods of torture
During interrogation Israelis use 105 types of methods of torture against the which was listed by the Israeli rights group B’Tselem. Some of these tortures against children include-
- Forced to sit on a chair without moving, for many days
- They don’t let them sleep; therefore, children suffer from insomnia at a young age
- Prevention from visits by parents and healthcare facilities
- Detention with Israeli adult criminals
- Verbal, physical and sexual abuse
- Solitary confinements (single cells with no contact with other prisoners)
- Collective punishment
- Spread of disease
- violent shaking
- Forced to sit/stand in extremely painful positions
- Squatting etc.
Israel does not respect or comply with the international law. Israel has violated the Declaration of the Rights of Child and UN Convention on the Rights of Child. These rights were declared to ensure that the child’s physiological, psychological, social and spiritual health must be developed.
The very first article of the Declaration of the Rights of Child reads, “Every child, without any exception whatsoever, shall be entitled to these 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.“
Through UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the world leaders stood with incredible commitment in the history of world and human rights. They recognised the dignity of children and their right to a free development and flourishing of personality.
Israel commits serious violations of the rights of child mentioned in various articles of CRC on daily basis. These articles include the following rights: –
- Rights to life
- Adequate standard of living for child’s mental, moral, social, spiritual and physical development
- Right to rest and leisure-explore play, culture and art
- Psychological safety and peace
- Right to education
- Right to freedom
The denial of these rights and tortures cause malnutrition and disturbs the mental health of these children and causes many kinds of disabilities. United Nations Relief and Works Agency UNRWA mentioned that these children suffer from nightmares, enuresis and high levels of aggressive behaviours, hyperactivity, low attention and concentration due to the high level of exposure to trauma and violence.
Why Israel attack Palestinian children?
To answer this not so tough question, Jawaharlal Nehru’s quote will work. He said, “Children are like buds in a garden and should be carefully and lovingly nurtured, as they are the future of the nation and the citizens of tomorrow.”
Whether any country has worked on aforementioned statement or not, Israel has taken its spirit very seriously, not by working on its own children but by destroying the childhood of Palestinian children. It is a well know saying that the children are the future of a nation. Israel knows that these children are going to change the whole scenario in their land one day. All the factors that decide the fate of a struggle namely physical, psychological, educational structure of new generation are put at destruction by Israel.
Generally, a child draws the nature, landscapes, trees, flowers, family, mountains etc but a Palestinian child’s mental health has been reduced to such an extent that he draws soldiers, flags, flames, burning tires etc. In India at least, we see children engaging in innumerable play activities which are more or less good for health but an average Palestinian child plays games like “who gets to die as a martyr” or they prefer playing games which involve the theme “kids vs. soldiers”. It’s the high time the world pays attention to the tortures committed by Israel to the innocent children of Palestine otherwise they will loose faith from the whole world fraternity and we all will be culprits of the destruction of the present and future of “the last occupied place on earth”.