Children incarcerated in Israeli jails continue to face systematic abuse at the hands of Israel’s military. According to Defence for Children International Palestine, Israeli soldiers are responsible for violence and torture inflicted upon minors. A thorough investigation into the committed atrocities is hampered by the settler-colonial state which enshrines impunity for officials committing violence against Palestinians. Recourse to legal action remains hindered by further infringements of human rights designed to isolate victims from necessary support.
In April 2013, a UNICEF report entitled “Children in Israeli military detention: observations and recommendations” downplayed the precariousness of torture by resorting to terms such as “ill-treatment”. The report also stressed the importance of recommendations for the Israeli army to follow with regard to Palestinian children in Israeli jails, however the intention stated in the report indicated a concern for soldiers accused of torture, apart from stressing Israel’s “legitimate security concerns”.
According to DCI-Palestine lawyer Iyad Misk, “Israeli military investigators and prosecutors look for any justification to close files accusing Israeli soldiers of misconduct and blame the victim for their failure to complete the investigations.” Three particular cases were highlighted by the organisation, concerning Israeli soldiers brutally beating three teenage boys following their arrest for stone throwing. Two boys were further tortured by soldiers extinguishing cigarette butts on their bodies. One of the boys, Hendi, S, aged 17 and living in the West Bank, was apprehended twice and subjected to torture by Israeli soldiers, including being deprived of food, water and sanitations facilities. Misk stated, “The military prosecution in this case won’t allow my client to testify in the presence of either his lawyer or his parents in violation of his rights.” This deprivation of rights contradicts the prosecution’s decision in 2012 to allow minor detainees the possibility of access to a close relative or a lawyer during the compilation of evidence – a procedure which is almost universally legally recognised.
DCI-Palestine submitted 15 complaints to the Military Police Criminal Investigations Division in 2012, receiving no reply about 13 cases. The remaining investigations were closed by the authority, alleging insufficient evidence and blaming the victim for “failing to comply”, in reference to detainees being refused the presence of a lawyer or family members during interrogation. Seven cases regarding torture were submitted by the organisation in 2013, with the authority failing to inform DCI-Palestine whether an investigation was taking place in six out of seven cases.
These recurring violations portray Israel’s absolute impunity, as well as the isolation which organisations defending Palestinian rights find themselves facing. Bureaucratic procedures are exacerbated by biased judgment in favour of the military oppressors, whose conduct is decided during secretive procedures which do not allow the testimony of victims to be included. Furthermore, Israel has proven itself manipulative with regard to its leniency towards state terror committed by officials. While endorsing torture through the impunity bestowed upon soldiers, Israel intentionally misrepresents Palestinian resistance in order to distance itself from the necessity of Palestinians defending their rights and land against the settler-colonial state.
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