The director of Media Department presents a paper on minor detainees in Brussels Conference

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The director of media department at the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees' Affairs, Thaer Shraiteh presented a paper on the difficult conditions of  250 minor detainees in Israeli jails. The paper was presented in the Fifth European Conference in Defense of Palestinian Detainees held in Brussels.

Text of the speech:
Children all over the world live in peace and grow up in the laps of their parents, who remain with them step by step toward a prosperous future full of success. Children have rights to exercise their hobbies that meet their desires, where they grow up within a stable social system guaranteed by international laws, regulations and conventions. They live in holy life that cannot be violated and it is protected by a permanent supervision. All forms of violence are prohibited even by their parents. Thus, we hear about sanctions imposed on families due to ill-treatment against their children. Some States resort to prosecute families in formal trials, which in some cases have deprived them of their children.
However, the aforementioned life factors do not apply to Palestinian children, where they lack all forms of security, peace and stable life because of the Israeli occupation that denies their childhood and kill the dreams of their parents. We all have wishes that those children should not be arrested or killed by Israeli soldiers who are so proud of murdering children with their weapons and American- made machine guns. Therefore, all Palestinian families realize that there is no future for their children under this occupation. This attitude stems from the daily practices of the Israeli soldiers against the Palestinian childhood that deny their rights and confine them in a circle of violence.
This paper tries to cover all sides of the crime committed by the Israeli occupation government against Palestinian minor detainees, which is recorded for the prison services since occupying the Palestinian territories in June 1967. We might create new space to expose the Israeli practices against our detainees especially minors and try to save them through this conference, which is organized by the European coalition for supporting Palestinian detainees.
Child in international system
A special agreement was concluded to safeguard the rights of children worldwide. It included all the relevant details of life and rights, to be a measuring tool in dealing with minor children in different countries and societies. In accordance with the General Assembly resolution 44/25 on November 20, 1989, the Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted, ratified and entered into force on September 2, 1990, in accordance with article 49.
The Convention set out the age of childhood as 18 years and less. It exists in 54 articles and its texts were written in six languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. The convention stated that the "child must be fully raised in an atmosphere of happiness, love and harmony, and that he should be prepared to live individually in the society and be raised on the spirit of the ideals proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, in particular in the spirit of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality and brotherhood".
To affirm the special care of the child, child right were proclaimed in the 1924 Geneva Declaration on the Rights of the Child, the Declaration on the Rights of the Child adopted by the General Assembly on November 20, 1959 and recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the relevant statutes and instruments of specialized agencies and international organizations concerned with the welfare of children.
 The Convention affirmed that "due to the physical and mental immaturity, child requires special care and appropriate legal protection, before and after birth". The convention also recalls the provisions of the Declaration on Social and Legal Principles Relating to the Protection and Welfare of Children, with special attention to custody and adoption at the national and international levels, the United Nations Minimum Standard Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (the Beijing Rules), and the Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict. It also recognizes that in all countries of the world, there are children who live in extremely difficult circumstances and that these children need special consideration.

Number of minors and the places of detention
The Israeli occupation holds 250 Palestinian minors at Ofer, Damoun and Megiddo prisons in difficult circumstances which contradict all laws, conventions and international norms, especially the Convention on the Rights of the Child, where the administration of prisons does not show any privacy in dealing with them, and strive to achieve its goals in an immoral way.
 The statistics of minor detainees over the past years have been unstable due to the continuous arrests.  Throughout the year, the occupation authorities carried out break-ins into towns, villages and camps, and put checkpoints everywhere, to arrest children under the age of 18. In many cases, children under the age of 12 have been arrested.
The occupation authorities do not bear responsibility towards minors. They are supervised by adult Palestinian detainees, who take care of them and supervise the details of their daily lives, and try to overcome the prison's administration policies. The leadership of the prisoner movement managed to close all the gaps, and was able to establish permanent programs for these minors, and it will not leave them to be victims of this occupier.

Violations against minors
According to the advocates of the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees' Affairs, the rate of torture against minors has reached 100%, meaning that all children under the age of 18 years have been exposed to one or more forms of torture. This percentage reveals the extent of the crime committed against the children by the occupation authorities and the administration of the detention centers, which call for all forms of concern, especially in the light of the escalating racist voices calling for revenge against Palestinian childhood.
Violations against minors start from the first moment of detention, where the soldiers break into houses at midnight, explode doors and destroy the house belongings. Then, minor is taken to settlements or detention centers and get interrogated for long hours before being moved to prison. All this happens without the presence of a lawyer or a parent, and this contradicts the international norms and laws, and even to the law of protection of Israeli minors.
Violations include shooting Palestinian minors, beating and deprivation of food for one or two days, threatening during interrogation and forcing them to sign papers written in Hebrew that they do not understand their contents, in addition to their detention in places that do not fit the human life.
The occupation authorities also abuse the families of children economically. All the sentences are accompanied by fines up to tens of thousands of shekels per month. In many cases fines of more than NIS100, 000 were imposed on one detainee. These funds are transferred directly to the budget of the army and are used to enhance the capability of prisons' administration and forces by purchasing weapons, tear gas, pepper gas, electric bars and live ammunition.
House detention
The Israeli authorities resorted to use the policy of house detention over the past years, especially against minors from Jerusalem. This form of detention forced families to be jailers on their children. After few days of detention, minors are prosecuted in military courts which sentence the house detention, so that the child is given a certain area to move, and sometimes certain rooms within the house.
The Israeli authorities have placed iron bracelets on the hands or legs of the detainee,  connected to an electronic system monitored by the police stations and the prison administration to ensure its control over them. In addition, they imposed high fines on their families, paid in the event of any violations of the conditions of house detention. This causes many psychological and social problems of the detainees and their families. Parents live in a state of constant confusion and have a concern for the child's compliance with the conditions of house detention, fearing of the high fines.
This form of detention deprived many children of their education, where the periods of detention vary from one detainee to another and reached sometimes to two years. The sentence is renewed by a decision from the court. A case in point, a parent was forced to stay at home with his arrested child under the same conditions.
Extrajudicial execution of children
Since the beginning of 2014, the policy of field executions prevailed by the Israeli soldiers. Israeli soldiers invent new techniques in killing minors and shot them dead from a zero distance under the pretext that children hold knives and intend to commit stab attacks against Israelis. Videos proved that soldiers could arrest those children without harming them. In many cases, knives were deliberately put beside children's corpses to justify murdering them.
Israeli criminals who executed minor Palestinians were not prosecuted, but they were given the choice to behave according to the situation, and that the final decision is to the soldier in the field.
Sick minor detainees
Medical crimes against Palestinian detainees increase in general, but it is more dangerous when it comes to children, where the nature of their bodies is unable to bear this medical negligence as adults do. There tens or maybe hundreds of them who got arrested, paid a high price and held severe pains throughout their lives. The reason behind this situation is that jailers did not show any interest in their health condition when they got detained.
Statistics of the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs indicate that 50% of the diseases infected the minor detainees in Israeli jails are resulted from the inhuman and immoral detention conditions. They suffer from lack of food, Lack of hygiene, insects, overcrowding, and being held in rooms that do not have any windows or lights. Furthermore, rooms have high humidity and there is a lack in clothes and blankets. Besides, there is no contact with the outside world.
By reviewing the above, we can realize the main reason of disease outbreak. Minor detainees are deprived of health care and appropriate treatments. Most often, minors are only given painkillers for different diseases. According to their narration, the occupation authorities and prison services refuse to take them to the clinics of prisons, and if they go, they will be subjected to beating and cursing by the nurses and doctors. They intend to procrastinate in doing surgical operations to those who have illnesses that require immediate surgery, such as removing fragments or bullets out of their bodies.
Legalizing penalties and revenge against minors
The Israeli occupying state is the only state in the world that legalizes penalties and attacks against minor detainees. Extremists of ministers, army leaders and Knesset members are not shy to brag about making laws that avenge the Palestinian child. This demonstrates that the Israeli judiciary is a basic component of the occupation system, and that what happens in courts is only a play which chapters are prepared in cooperation with the occupation government, the intelligence device, commanders of the Israeli army and the prisons' administration. Moreover, the court hearings in which indictments are submitted is not official.
It is worthy to mention that more than 800 Palestinian minors are prosecuted in occupation courts every year. The Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees' Affairs estimates that from 2000 till the end of 2018, the Israeli occupation forces have arrested 11.000 minors who were prosecuted in military courts, and imposed inhuman penalties against them. Many of them were sentenced to life imprisonment and others to 20 years.
 The most prominent laws officially approved to avenge Palestinian minors:
•    The law of raising sentences against children who throw stones: the Israeli Knesset approved in the third reading in 7/21/2015 a law stipulates the possibility of imposing prison penalty of 10 years against minors who throw stones on Israelis, without proving the intent to cause harm. The law considers throwing stones a crime and has two levels: sentence to a maximum of 10 years without having to prove the intent to kill, and a sentence to a maximum of 20 years with proving the intent to kill. The Israeli government ratified this law in 11/10/2015.
•    Increasing the minimum penalty on children who throw stones in Jerusalem: in 11/2/2015, the Israeli Knesset approved a bill submitted by the Israeli minister of Justice (Eilat Shaked), stipulates to impose actual imprisonment of 2-4 years on those who throw stones, withdraw the allowances of the national insurance from the detainees of Jerusalem, force them to pay compensations for Israelis. For children from Jerusalem, the law stipulates to withdraw  child allowances from the family, education grants and other financial supplements, such as the support comes from social affairs to the family, disability allowances, widows' allowances and others. This bill allows
•    Prosecuting persons under the charge of incitement without the presence of proofs, where it is considered a violation to the freedom of expression, especially activists on social media.
•    Law of prosecuting children under the age of 14: the Knesset approved a bill in 11/25/2015 that allows prosecuting and imprisoning minors under the age of 14, and it is related to Palestinian children who are subordinate to the "Israeli Civil juvenile law". The law stipulates that the court can prosecute minors under the age of 12, but the actual imprisonment starts when they turn 14 years. The age of criminal liability is 12 and the child can be arrested and interrogated. After the conviction they are sent to a closed community home until they turn 14 years.
According to the "Association of Civil Rights" in Israel, the majority of states prohibit imprisoning children under the age of 14, and other associations prohibit the actual imprisonment of children above the age of 14. The Knesset ratified the bill of arresting minors in 11/2/2016.

Testimonies of minor detainees
1.    The Palestinian child Ahmad Manasra: he was born in 1/22/2002 in Beit Hanina/ Jerusalem. He was arrested in 10/12/2015 under the pretext of his intent to commit a stab attack in Jerusalem. At that day, he was walking with his cousin Hassan Manasra, 15 years old. The Israeli forces and settlers attacked them with beating, cursing humiliation and bullets. Hassan martyred while Ahmad was injured and moved to hospital with handcuffs. Many people thought that Ahmad was martyred, but then he appeared alive.
The Israeli forces intentionally published a video of the security investigation with Ahmad, which was full of violence and threatening for a 13-year-old child. He appeared in the video crying, in front of an arrogant interrogators saying "I am not sure" and "I can't remember", and the detective kept shouting to scare him and take confessions that support the Israeli narrative.
It is important to demonstrate that Israeli interrogators used psychological torture against Ahmad Manasra, by shouting and depriving him of his right to consult a lawyer and bring one of his parents to the interrogation session. The aim of this video is to scare children and their mothers, but Manasra defeated the interrogators and did not confess guilt, saying "I don't remember", "I don't know".
2.    The Palestinian child Milad Mousa Salah Aldeen, 16, from Jerusalem. He was sentenced to house detention by the Israeli court, which forced his mother to stay home with her child, turning the mother into a jailer.
Milad's mother said in an interview "the occupation court in Jerusalem forced me to choose either to continue the house detention or to arrest him for a year. I chose the house detention to stay with him instead of being arrested and pay a high fine, so he was deprived of his school and friends".
She added: "my son was arrested when he was returning from his school, he was subjected to cruel interrogation to force him confess that he threw stones. He was arrested for weeks and then sentenced to house detention. She added "that the occupation forces obliged me to pay a fine of 10.000 Shekels and threatened me that in case of violating house detention conditions I will pay a fine of 20.000 Shekels".
Milad's father is a psychiatrist form Kufr Aqab/ Jerusalem. He said: "house detention has fatal consequences so that the child will have negative energy and pressure that will increase his bad condition and this happens to tens of children in Jerusalem".
One day, Milad was playing with his cat. The cat ran away and he followed it. The police came after few minutes to the yard of house, because the bracelet in his hand sent a sign that he is outside the house. He got back to the house immediately after catching the cat, but the Israeli police informed him that he is not allowed to get out of the house for any reason.
3.    The Palestinian child Hassan Tamimi from Ramallah was arrested for 3 months before he turns 18. He lost his sight completely due to a medical crime. He suffered from the damage of the nerves of the eyes inside Ofer prison, due to the high proteins in the blood. He needed a daily treatment and special food, which was not provided by the prison administration. Thus, his health condition deteriorated and he lost his sight, knowing that the prison administration is very aware of his condition but did not help or provide anything.
Hassan said: "the Israeli soldiers arrested me from my house in Dair Netham village/Ramallah in 4/7/2018. They woke me up and asked me to bring the black jacket, which they claim that I was wearing, during the participation in a demonstration in the village. They beat me while taking me to Benjamen interrogation center in Ramallah. There, they showed me a picture of mine during the demonstration, but I denied that this picture belonged to me. They beat me again and prevented me from taking my medicine, where I suffer from a chronic disease. As a result of this, I lost my sight after two months of my detention".
In conclusion, I hope that I succeeded in revealing the crime committed against Palestinian minor detainees whose rights and childhood are being violated.