SHAFAQNA – This weekend Inminds, a British based human rights group, held a vigil in London to demand freedom for Palestinian child prisoners caged by the illegal Israeli occupation. Thousands of passing Londoners witnessed the demonstration on the Southbank of the river Thames as several speakers denounced Israeli violence against children.
Inminds say that official statistics reveal that last year 1,467 Palestinian children were abducted and caged by Israel, that’s one Palestinian child taken from their family every 6 hours. Twice as many children were abducted by occupation forces during 2 weeks in December than in the whole of the previous month. This surge in the targeting of children by Israel is as alarming as the brutality of the arrests. They add that “Currently there are over 359 Palestinian children suffering in Israeli dungeons.”
Inminds Chair, Abbas Ali, said “In a quote attributed to Ben Gurion, he predicts that the colonization of Palestine by Zionist Europeans will not be a problem as the Palestinian old will die and the young will forget. Well 70 years later, what Israel has found is that each new generation of Palestinians is more firmly rooted in Palestine than the previous one. The youth refuse to submit to the occupation. In that determined refusal by children to submit lies the seeds of their freedom, the seeds to end the apartheid state. It is for this reason that they are targeted by the full might of the apartheid state. If they don’t submit then they must be annihilated or otherwise rot in a dungeon. Such a cold blooded policy of targeting the children is a sign of desperation and fear of the inevitable.”
Sandra Watfa, Inminds speaker and activist, said torturing of children is routine for Israel. 75% of Palestinian children detained by Israel are physically tortured. Figures for Jerusalem show that 40% of the children were sexually abused by Israeli soldiers during arrest or interrogation.
The United Nations “Rights Of The Child” report of 4th July 2013 documents the brutal torture of Palestinian children as standard practice during interrogations in order to coerce confessions. It states that children are “systematically subject to degrading treatment, and often to acts of torture.. physical and verbal violence, humiliation, painful restraints, hooding of the head and face in a sack, threatened with death, physical violence, and sexual assault against themselves or members of their family, restricted access to toilet, food and water. These crimes are perpetrated from the time of arrest, during transfer and interrogation, to obtain a confession but also on an arbitrary basis as testified by several Israeli soldiers as well as during pre-trial detention..”
The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel states that over a 1000 complaints of torture have been submitted but not a single complaint has led to a criminal investigation, let alone a trial or a conviction. Israeli law has never criminalized torture and whilst Israel is a signatory to the UN Conventions Against Torture it insists that it doesn’t apply to Palestinians. United Nations funded Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture for Occupied Palestinian Territory, in 2014, treated 845 Palestinian victims of torture including 317 women and 135 children.
Child prisoner abuse is an issue which of course was highlighted globally by the recent arrest of a young Palestinian socio-political justice activist, Ahed Tamimi who slapped an Israeli soldier after her cousin had been shot in the head. Metropolitan Police officers were on hand to manage one lone Israeli Zionist counter demonstrator who attempted to disrupt the peaceful protest by alleging Ahed was “a terrorist ISIS supporter”. Ironically his baseless allegation simply highlighted an important fact that the Palestinian resistance movement has no ISIS or Al Qaeda affiliations and in fact those terror groups seem to have a soft spot for Israeli’s who care for their wounded and allegedly supply arms to them in Syria too. ISIS have indeed never targeted their alleged benefactors the Israeli State – the land stolen from Palestinians. As a matter of fact this land remains illegally occupied by Zionists, whose immigrant forefathers such as the Stern Gang, are historically acknowledged terrorists imported from Europe who murdered British soldiers too in their occupation of Palestine.
Inminds are used to the British Zionist lobby’s regular harassment tactics against them; but as a dedicated human rights campaign group which has championed justice for Palestinians over many years they say they intend to continue highlighting Zionist human rights violations. The organization also demands that Western States like the USA, and corporate companies such as Hewlett Packard and others who supply arms and services to the Israeli army and prisons, should also end their complicity in the torture and caging of Palestinian children; they also urged the world to secure freedom for the children; and freedom for all Palestinian political prisoners. The only perplexing issue is why British based Muslims are not more visible at demonstrations such as this?