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Sunday, October 16, 2005


Children's Deaths, Arrests and the Apartheid Wall

The entire report, "Children Behind Bars," includes case studies, one of which is excerpted here. Five children have been killed for demonstrating against the Apartheid Wall, which cuts into huge tracts of Palestinian territory, cutting off Palestinians from agricultural lands, education, and health care.

Excerpts From Defense for Children, International:

Since the anti-wall protests started in 2003, a total of 12 Palestinians have been killed at the demonstrations, including five children.

There have been several reports of undercover Israeli special forces and intelligence agents either initiating or encouraging stone throwing and aggressive acts among the ‘shebab' or young men and boys in the crowd. It is enough for these agents to throw one stone, to instigate further stone throwing, and this then becomes a justification for Israeli strong-arm tactics against the entire crowd. Just before turning on and arresting Palestinian demonstrators close by, these undercover agents pull out hidden weapons and put on an identifying cap so that they will not be targeted by their own troops positioned further away. Such incidents have been recorded at Bil'in and at Budrus.

Case Study 1
Fifteen-year old Ahmed was arrested at a protest against the wall in Beit Sourik on 5 June 2005. There were internationals, Israelis and Palestinians at the protest. When they were more than 500 metres away from the wall, around five Arab men began to throw stones.

They were far away from the soldiers, and they were throwing the stones so as not to hit the soldiers. As they drew nearer the wall, some children began to throw stones too, encouraged by these men. Suddenly, the men pulled out guns that they'd hidden in their clothes and began arresting children. These Arabic speaking men are a part of Mustar Arabin- a special section of the Israeli Army.

Three boys, including Ahmed, were arrested and sent to the police station in Giv'at Ze'ev, where they were interrogated about stone throwing. All three boys confessed to throwing stones.
After two or three days in the police station Ahmed was sent to court to renew the arrest. A special policeman can renew the arrest for up to four days without going to court, but the court can grant a longer period of renewal. The family lawyer asked for release, and the judge believed that there was no need to hold Ahmed as he did not pose a serious threat. The prosecutor, however, went to the military appeal court, where they decided to hold Ahmed pending trial.

The prosecutor, fortunately for Ahmed, lost his file before trial. The military court has a list of the charges brought against the accused but holds no evidence relating to the trial; this is all with the prosecutor in his file. Because there was no file, an agreement was reached on the 13 July between the prosecutor and the family lawyer, for a sentence of seven weeks. If the file had been found the sentence would have been at least three months.

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