Oh, what bureaucratic officious and oleaginous prose is marshaled in the cause of child imprisonment: the press attache for the Embassy of Israel in London delegitimization by writing to The Lancet to protest an editorial that calls for certain basic protections for Palestinian minors imprisoned and often tortured for the alleged crime of throwing stones. Or a “boulder,” as Amir Ofek puts it at one point. The Lancet:
I was surprised to read the Editorial on Palestinian minors in Israeli prisons (March 16, p 876), in which there was no room given for any comment from the Israeli side. As a result, it turned out to be completely one-sided and unbalanced. Checking the facts with the Israeli authorities might have clarified that the UNICEF report in question is already being reviewed in Israel, and many changes had been put in place even before its release.My surprise was even greater at seeing that hurling rocks was dismissed as a minor offence in the Editorial—in this sense the timing is exceedingly cruel, seeing that at present 2-year-old Adele Bitton is fighting for her life in intensive care after rocks were hurled at the car in which she was travelling by five Palestinian minors. The reality is that a boulder, even when thrown by a young teenager, is a potentially deadly weapon.As a result of fighting Palestinian terror for decades, Israel has developed methods and facilities designed with adult perpetrators in mind. However, an atrocious new reality has arisen whereby Palestinian minors are frequently used to carry out attacks. For example, in January, 2012, Hamas assembled a team of three assassins whose mission was to slaughter a Jewish family in their home, while asleep. The mission was foiled by Israel’s intelligence system, and the perpetrators were detained for questioning. But Israel’s skills were not ready to cope with one important element—the accused were children, aged between 12 and 14 years.Israel has pledged to take all necessary measures to adjust its counter-terror practices accordingly. UNICEF has welcomed improvements made over the years, both in detention and in legal proceedings….Establishing juvenile tribunals with special safeguards for minors is just part of an evolving system. But it cannot happen overnight. The recent surge in the involvement of Palestinian minors in acts of terror is a result of continuing incitement in their schoolbooks and television programmes. Instead of looking up to superheroes or sports stars, they are encouraged to revere “martyrs” in explosive jackets.Israel works hard at fulfilling its commitments to improve the conditions of Palestinian minors caught carrying out terror attacks, and understands the importance of establishing better protocols for dealing with them. But the best method of improving these children’s lives would be to stop carrying out attacks on others. For that to happen, Palestinians must stop feeding their own children a relentless diet of hate and violence. Palestinian children are being denied their childhood, while attempting to deny Israel’s children their safety, security, and all too often their lives.
Here’s a past gem from Ofek.