Recent reports continue to confirm Israel’s rampant use of torture when dealing with Palestinians, including minors. While not particularly revealing – after all, a lot of footage and photography depicting the Israeli military’s violence against Palestinian children has been widely shared on social media – it is even more disturbing when considering such brutal tactics within the confines of prisons.
According to Ma’an news agency, “the overwhelming majority” of Palestinian minors in Israel’s Megiddo and Ofer prisons have been subjected to torture during detention and interrogation sessions. The statement was made by the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs earlier this week, even as Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) spoke about the increased use of administrative detention orders against Palestinian minors.
Testimonies made public last September described beatings, wounds inflicted by soldiers and left untreated, as well as coercing minors into uncomfortable, restraining positions for long periods. Medical neglect is another form of torture which is being used against Palestinian minors also. The prevailing trend of abuse and impunity remains. Details are easily made accessible, yet the international community continues to employ precise disregard when it comes to safeguarding the rights of Palestinian children, effectively proving that the so-called universal rights are, in fact, the prelude to a selective and discriminatory process for the oppressed.
The proximity as regards time frames and details in both reports should not be ignored or examined separately. It is only the complacency when it comes to Israel that makes it possible for such violations to be committed and systematically ignored. When read together, both reports regarding administrative detention and subsequent torture are revealing a more comprehensive picture of the abusive cycle suffered by Palestinian minors. Statistics are shocking as far as initial knowledge is disseminated, yet if has failed, even within international institutions, to aid towards formulating a policy that directly targets Israel for its colonial violence against Palestinian children.
As opposed to Israel’s claims that the colonial entity is singled out for human rights violations in the international arena, the truth is that Israel is treated as a normal state, which is having severe repercussions upon the colonised population. Hence, the usual hyperbole regarding expectations and adhering to human rights norms are considered ample reprimand for Israel by the international community, despite full knowledge that it holds international law in absolute contempt.
If there is no international opposition to administrative detention, given that the international community and Israel are shielded by a convenient clause in international law that allows the use in extreme circumstances, the latter of course manipulated by Israel, it is equally incomprehensible that any action will be taken to safeguard the rights of Palestinian minors in Israeli jails.
The reports convey urgency for a rethinking of Israel in an exceptional manner, regardless of whatever opposition its leaders conspire. Israel has been allowed to colonise and in return, rewarded with recognised statehood despite its existence being an aberration. If this is not achieved, and Israel is not explicitly addressed as a colonial entity, it is unlikely that reports, despite their congruence, will be able to safeguard Palestinian rights.