Saturday, October 13, 2012

Palestinian children testify about cruel treatment by Israeli soldiers in new short film

Newly released today, Defence for Children International-Palestine Section (DCI) has produced this short film about Israel’s ill-treatment of Palestinian children during theirarrest, transfer and detention. Alone: Palestinian Children in the Israeli Military Detention System contains images of children who found the courage to talk about theappalling treatment.

For example, 14-year-old Ala tells how he was handcuffed and blindfolded during his arrest. “They [Israeli soldiers] put me in the jeep and transferred me to Etzioninterrogation center. The interrogator told me to say goodbye to my friend Muhannad, because he was going to throw me from the third floor. No one was there to protect me. No one was with me. I was alone.”

Since 2000, around 7,500 Palestinian children from the occupied Palestinian territories have been detained, interrogated and imprisoned within the Israeli military law system. The film also presents basic information and the impact of their arrest and detention on families.

When 13-year-old Muhannad talks about his arrest, the look in his eyes is heart breaking. His father saw how Israeli soldiers treated his son, “It was as if they were coming to arrest a combatant or an armed fugitive.”

Interrogations are set up to terrorize

In 75 precent of the cases documented by DCI, child detainees suffered some form of physical violence during arrest, transfer and interrogation.

The suffering starts the moment a child is arrested and continues throughout interrogation and court sessions, explains DCI lawyer Iyad Misk. Children are often physically, verbally abused, insulted by soldiers during transport in the jeep. The abuse continues during the interrogation.

Children are also often enticed with offers of immediate release in exchange for confessions. However, what normally happens is just the opposite. Once a child confesses, he is sent to prison and his file is sent to the court. Interrogations are set up to terrorize, says Misk. More