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Mistreating Palestinian Children

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Mistreating Palestinian Children

by Stephen Lendman

Israel mistreats children like adults.

Societies perhaps are best judged by how they treat prisoners, their most disadvantaged and children.

On March 20, Israeli soldiers mass arrested about 30 children. Obama arrived the same day. Every child passing Tareq Bin Zeyad street was seized. They were heading for school in Hebron. 

They were taken to Kiryat Arba police station. They were interrogated with no adult present. Israel's Youth Law requires it. Shin Bet pays it no heed. Children are isolated from parents. They're terrorized. It's standard Israeli practice.

Targeted children committed no crimes. An Israeli army spokeswoman said soldiers "operated in the area today in order to contain rock hurling at security forces (following an increase in) rioting."

At least 14 were aged 11 or younger. Some were young as 8. Israel treats children like adults. International law is clear. A child is anyone under age 18. State Parties are legally bound to treat them accordingly.

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Principle 1 of the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child says:

"Every child, without exception whatsoever, shall be entitled to (fundamental human and civil) 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."

They're entitled to special protections and opportunities. It's to help them develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually, and socially. It's so they'll do it under conditions of freedom and dignity. 

They include the right to life, an adequate standard of living, healthcare, education, leisure, safety and peace. For over four decades, Israel systematically denied Palestinians all rights.

On March 31, Haaretz headlined "The IDF must stop arresting children," saying:

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On March 20, Israeli soldiers "ambushed and arrested" Palestinian children. At least 18 were under age 12. They're below "the minimum age at which they can legally be held responsible for a crime."

"This large-scale roundup was arbitrary." Soldiers grabbed every child they saw. First and second-graders aged 8 or younger were taken.

Doing so was reprehensible. International law forbids it. So does Israeli law. Arrests came days after a UNICEF report . It's titled "Children in Israeli Military Detention."

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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