Palestinian youth face psychological trauma and educational neglect following Israeli detention

Israel/Palestine
on 22 Comments

2014 was a harrowing and devastating year for many people living in Israel and Palestine.  Violations of human rights, racism, and hatred did not stop after the 2014 Gaza war and today are commonplace.  Presently, there is imminent concern for the increasing numbers of wrongfully detained Palestinian children from East Jerusalem and the West Bank who are subject to ongoing state violence, severe psychological trauma, and denied the basic human right to education.

Throughout 2014, increasing numbers of Palestinian youth were targets of Israeli authorities’ systematic raids, arrests, and violence.  According to DCI-Palestine, an average of 192.8 Palestinian children per month were placed in Israeli military detention facilities from January through November 2014.  However, there are likely several hundred more Palestinian minors (under age 18) from East Jerusalem under house arrest or in detention.  Many of these children have been arrested during night raids by armed Israeli forces that remove them from their homes in a terrifying and often violent manner. They are frequently handcuffed, blindfolded, beaten, and heavily disoriented when transferred to interrogation.  In most cases, the children’s parents have no knowledge of their whereabouts, and the detainees receive no legal counsel.  Minor detainees are often coerced into submitting a confession for a crime they did not commit.  Some children are placed into solitary confinement, which is not only a breach of international law, but also considered a form of torture for minors.

A 2013 UNICEF report identified the maltreatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention as “widespread, systematic, and institutionalized.”  Sadly few reforms have been made since then.  Laws continue to be violated and more children suffer.  The Israeli Military Order 1651 defines a child as a person under age 12.  Palestinian detainees ages 12 and above can be sentenced in Israeli military courts, which violate international law and Israeli juvenile law.  The sentence for stone throwing and other offenses committed by Palestinian minors can result in a maximum of 20 years.  These sentencing periods do not include jail time or house arrest prior to the trial.  Furthermore, detainees are not permitted to attend school during pre-trial detention.

Social workers providing services to detained Palestinian minors and their families following release from prison have identified widespread and pervasive trauma.  The children often suffer from separation from their families and are subject to physical and psychological violence while detained.  Children and parents alike often believe that the parents failed to protect their children.  The imprisonment of these children has harmful psychological effects which severely impair a child’s functioning after returning home as well as that of the family unit.  Parents and children alike are subject to depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

When a child is placed under house arrest by Israeli authorities, parents are required to provide supervision and act as policemen.  This shift in dynamics has a marked negative effect on the child-parent relationship.  The family frequently suffers significant financial losses because at least one parent is forced to quit their job to supervise the house arrest.   This adds to household stress, decreases parents’ abilities to parent other children in the home, increases discord and strain on the marital relationship, and can lead to domestic violence.  As for education, many children are concerned that they missed a great deal of school and can quickly fall behind.  Due to increasing academic anxieties and untreated mental health issues, many end up permanently dropping out of school.

It is important to highlight that there is concurrently an educational crisis for Palestinian children in East Jerusalem due to Israeli legislation and massive budget cuts to the local education system.  According to Ir Amim, there are over 8,100 Palestinian children in East Jerusalem not attending school because of enormous classroom shortages.  With so many Palestinian children lacking the basic human right to receive an education and/or being psychologically and emotionally traumatized in the Israeli detention system, what will become of them in adulthood?

In contrast to Palestinian minors, Israeli youth from settlements who have been arrested are given the option to attend alternative-to-prison programs.  These programs provide them with continued education, mental health treatment, and psycho-education aimed at detention prevention.

We call for the Israeli state to offer detained Palestinian youth the same protection and services given to detained Israeli minors.  This form of blatant discrimination has already proven to be devastating to Palestinians with widespread and long-term damages and violation of human rights.

We at Ossim Shalom-Social Workers for Peace and Social Welfare demand that urgent changes be made to put an end to this inhumane treatment and create alternative-to-prison-programs for detained Palestinian minors.  We call on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Education to assume immediate responsibility for this rapidly growing social crisis.  We request that a partnership be established with the aforementioned officials and ministries to create effective and preventative alternative-to-prison programs with education and mental health treatment.  As an organization, we offer our 1,400 members to volunteer their social work expertise in designing future alternative-to-prison programs for detained Palestinian youth and providing direct services.

About Leah R. Platkin

Leah R. Platkin, LMSW, is a social worker and NIF/Shatil Social Justice Fellow. She currently lives in Tel Aviv and is originally from Los Angeles. She works at Ossim Shalom-Social Workers for Peace and Social Welfare in Jerusalem and Arous Elbahar in Jaffa.

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22 Responses

  1. American
    February 5, 2015, 11:12 am

    ” Many of these children have been arrested during night raids by armed Israeli forces that remove them from their homes in a terrifying and often violent manner. They are frequently handcuffed, blindfolded, beaten, and heavily disoriented when transferred to interrogation. ”

    We have been seeing this for years and years.
    There arent any words bad enough to describe the kind of people, country, government who would do this to childen, years after years.
    I cant even say more about this because they have crossed all my red lines so many times I dont have a drop of mercy or reasonableness left for anything about Israel or my own government.

    • Bornajoo
      February 6, 2015, 8:53 am

      @American
      I have to echo your reply. I also can’t find any more words to accurately describe my feelings about this

      They don’t care because the majority of Jewish Israelis do not value Palestinian men, women or children in the same way as Jewish Israelis. They are dehumanised and treated worse than animals. There is no empathy, there are no feelings or consideration towards them at all. This is why this is happening and will get worse and worse

      “With so many Palestinian children lacking the basic human right to receive an education and/or being psychologically and emotionally traumatized in the Israeli detention system, what will become of them in adulthood?”

      Many will probably end up as dysfunctional, radicalised adults who will be prime recruitment targets for extremist groups. There aren’t many other options on the table. There is not much chance of any of them building a normal life living in awful conditions under occupation. What is their future outlook? What do they have to look forward to? There is no optimism, just bleakness and despair. It’s so f**@#ng obvious

      Thank you for your article Lead Platkin

      • Walid
        February 6, 2015, 10:05 am

        “Many will probably end up as dysfunctional, radicalised adults who will be prime recruitment targets for extremist groups.”

        Bornajoo, you just described the Zionist Master Plan to a T.

      • seafoid
        February 6, 2015, 10:33 am

        Israel actually breeds trauma- in the Palestinians as policy but also in its own people. It is probably one of the most fucked up mental spaces in the rich world , a very long way from milk and honey. .

        http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/.premium-1.610988

        “Hassan, who has worked at the mental health center since 1991, spoke a lot in our conversation about the meaning of psychological treatment during periods of unrelenting and continuing trauma. “I came to the conclusion that such treatment is not ethical,” he said. “For 23 years, I have been trying to help children living in trauma, but there is no guarantee that they will not be affected again. It’s as if I am just preparing them to deal with something worse. You cannot provide true psychological treatment when the patients have no protection, no guarantee that it won’t happen again and soon, when what causes trauma never ends,” he said.
        “What is at issue here is a lot more than individual, separate cases,” he continued. “Even when there is no war, there is no stability in the Gaza Strip, and in a situation like this, how can psychological treatment help? One political decision on Israel’s part — lifting the blockade — could do a lot more good than all of the psychological treatment performed in Gaza and all of the quantities of money invested in them. The long-standing blockade limits our field of vision, our broader outlook, our creativity. The occupation is not only of land. The blockade is not just of goods, objects. The occupation is also cognitive, of one’s will, of feelings and thoughts. The siege is also over the ability to hope.”
        “When an entire family is killed, society’s primary source of support is lost,” Hassan Ziadeh said in a phone call from Gaza. “When Israel targets entire families, it is destroying a social institution.” ”

        “Many will probably end up as dysfunctional, radicalised adults who will be prime recruitment targets for extremist groups.” -such as the IDF

        Trauma makes people do very dangerous things which is why I think Israel will go down in blood.

      • Walid
        February 6, 2015, 10:52 am

        ” Many will probably end up as dysfunctional, radicalised adults who will be prime recruitment targets for extremist groups.” -such as the IDF ”

        Seafoid, the above paragraph with the “such as the IDF” left me confused. Did Amira intend saying ISIS instead of IDF or did I misunderstand it?

    • Walid
      February 6, 2015, 10:13 am

      Remember this from a year ago as it appeared in the JPost and EI?

      “… Israel put Palestinian prisoners, including children, in outdoor cages during the severe winter storm that struck the region in the middle of last month (December 2013).

      The shocking practice was highlighted in a year-end statement by the advocacy group, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) and discussed by Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, this week.

      Also detailed in a letter from the office of Israel’s National Public Defender, the practice had been going on for months, but has now supposedly been halted.

      The 16 December letter to the head of the Israel Prison Service (IPS) says that lawyers from the public defender’s office had learned of the practice during an official visit to the Ramle prison compound where Palestinian political prisoners, including children, are often transferred from the occupied West Bank in violation of international law.

      Iron cages

      During the visit by two of its lawyers “which coincided with the fierce storm that struck the country, the attorneys met prisoners who described a shocking picture: in the middle of the night, dozens of prisoners were transferred to iron cages built outside the IPS facility in Ramle,” according to a 17 December statement from the public defender.

      “In these cages, which were exposed to the weather, they spent several hours in the freezing cold and rain, until the transport arrived to take them to court around 6am,” the statement adds.

      The statement said that the practice had been going on for months, a fact “verified during other official visits and not denied by IPS.”

      The public defender launched an emergency appeal to various official bodies, including the ministry of justice, “in order to prevent another night of such grave harm to humanity.”

      The statement notes that some of the prisoners in the cages were “minors” – children.

      The Jerusalem Post reported on 31 December that Tzipi Livni, Israel’s justice minister “immediately telephoned Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, telling him to end the practice.”

      http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israel-put-palestinian-children-outdoor-cages-during-winter-storm

  2. eljay
    February 6, 2015, 9:13 am

    Jewish supremacism in a supremacist “Jewish State” is as unjust and immoral as any other form of supremacism.

    Unfortunately, Jewish supremacists are so proud of their brand of hatefulness that they insist on exporting it outside of Israel’s / Partition borders and sharing it (in a ram-it-down-your-throat sort of way) with the rest of Palestine.

    And to top it all off, they want to hold all Jews accountable for their supremacist ideology and actions. Zio-supremacist JeffB recently made this anti-Semitic desire very clear…but none of his co-collectivists (hophmi, DaBakr, y.f., Mayhem, etc.) have condemned him for it.

    • DaBakr
      February 6, 2015, 12:46 pm

      true-I haven’t condemned any of those posts and most probably I didn’t read them either. but I doubt I would have interpreted them in the hysterical way you seem to. In fact-i think you throw the term “supremacist”, “Zio-supremacist” and “co-collectivists” around in such a bullshit way as to belittle the terms make it seem- to me (and I lot of others -in the unlikely event they would be here reading them) like a farce from a mel brooks comedy about bolsheviks and czarists. i seriously try and take most of the accusations here at face value but it remains difficult for me to keep a straight face with the absurd hyperbole and over-the-top outrage I read here regularly.

      take for example the article above. the manifest of the social worker group Ossim Shalom is fair and worthy and straight forward. the addition of the statistics by the Palestinian ngo-if you read them-which seems to be the thing sparking all the hysterical outrage and “hatred” by other regular commenters here is that in dec. 2014 there where a total of 150 or so Palestinian minors in Israeli custody and of those…. TEN were 12 to 15yrs. So that would make the other 140 [that is the equivalent of about 5 classrooms] are older teens-16 to 18 yrs old in detention which is probably a hell of a lot less %-wise then what the USA is currently holding in their own child prisons and yet i don’t hear Israelis calling the US hysterical BS names. But thats just imo . and I am not opposed to providing educational opportunities to Palestinian teens that are in detention but you honestly do not think that many of the older teens are interested in an Israeli education-or are you that naive about the situation? Or do you expect Israel to provide teens with UNRWA/fatah/hamas produced/supplied textbooks where Jews are portrayed as evil and Israel does not even exist-because that is just not happening.

      • eljay
        February 6, 2015, 1:56 pm

        >> DaBakreee: true-I haven’t condemned any of those posts and most probably I didn’t read them either. but I doubt I would have interpreted them in the hysterical way you seem to.

        Of course you didn’t, because a fellow Zio-supremacist wrote them. Had I suggested that all Jews should be responsible for the actions of Zio-supremacist Jews and/or the “Jewish State” of Israel, you would have immediately interpreted my comment in an hysterical way and labelled me an anti-Semite.

        Regarding the rest of your post:
        – How many of those detained minors were Israeli citizens (from within Israel’s / Partition borders), which Israel would have a right to arrest if they were breaking the law within Israel, and how many were non-Israeli victims of Israel’s decades-old occupation and colonization of Palestine?
        – Nothing wrong with an Israeli (but not “Jewish State”) education for Israelis. There’s no reason however, for Israel providing an Israeli education to captive or non-captive non-Israelis.

      • DaBakr
        February 8, 2015, 11:45 pm

        havn’t labeled anybody an “anti-semite” lately and as for the rest of our answer. it either makes no sense at all or just confirms what I said about you throwing around the term “zip-supremacist ” in a bullshit way which leads to absolutely no ‘engagement’ but lots of huff and bluster. as for the ‘education’ comment-i think you’d be surprised to find out we’re on the same page.lol.

      • eljay
        February 10, 2015, 7:37 am

        || DaBakreee: havn’t labeled anybody an “anti-semite” lately … ||

        That’s right. You (and your Zio-supremacist co-collectivists) haven’t said a thing about JeffB’s blatantly anti-Semitic belief that all Jews are responsible for the crimes of some Jews.

        || … and as for the rest of [y]our answer. it either makes no sense at all … ||

        Either you’re deflecting again, or you have reading comprehension issues. The rest of my answer contains a straightforward question (which you didn’t address) and a straightforward statement (part of which you seem to agree with).

        || … throwing around the term “zip-supremacist ” in a bullshit way which leads to absolutely no ‘engagement’ but lots of huff and bluster. ||

        1. Is there a better way to throw around the term Zio-supremacist? Please, do tell.

        2. If I were to stop throwing the term around, would “engagement” cause you to renounce your supremacism and begin to advocate for justice, accountability and equality in Partition-borders Israel and Palestine?

        You sure are a funny man, Mr. Huff & Bluster! :-)

  3. bintbiba
    February 6, 2015, 10:26 am

    Bornajoo… I finally locked in to MW . Laptop malfunction.
    I think in my heart of hearts that this IS the intention…to drive the young ones to insanity and that will perpetuate the “existential threat” forever. Or am I the evil one to even think that!!

    Walid,I think that ,as usual, you are right.

    Leah R. Platkin, thank you for this brave and outspoken article. Devastating!!

  4. Walid
    February 6, 2015, 10:26 am

    Out of curiosity, I Googled to see if such a thing as the SPCA existed in Zionist-Israel. And sure enough, it does and since 1927:

    Start Info: Founded on February 18, 1927

    Short Description: SPCA Israel—Tel Aviv-Yafo, is a non-profit philanthropic organization which was founded in the year 1927 and has been operating since to prevent suffering and pain from animals

    Company Overview: SPCA Israel takes in abandoned animals and tries to find adopting homes for them. We provide various services to the communi… See More

    Mission: The primary goal of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Israel is to act to prevent animals from sufferi… See More

    PhoneL +972-3-513-6500

    Email: [email protected]

    Website: http://spca.co.il/newsite/default_en.asp?lg=En

    https://www.facebook.com/SPCAIsraelonline/info?tab=page_info

    Who who have known that Zionists have compassion for animals?

  5. Neil Schipper
    February 10, 2015, 8:45 pm

    DaBakr, it is very nearly certain that Annie and Walid are smart enough to get your point.

    But appearances must be maintained.

    • Annie Robbins
      February 10, 2015, 9:48 pm

      here’s a true story neil, in fact if you can google around you can probably find it.

      during the iraq war a soldier got attached to a dog. after much ado the money was raised to bring the dog back to the US. it cost 6k. then the spca stepped in and started a program for iraqi dogs to the US. i kid you not. at 6k a pop and they fundraised on their website. this was at a time when iraqi children were getting orphaned every day.

      i’m sure you’re smart enough to get my point. but appearances must be maintained.

      • Neil Schipper
        February 10, 2015, 11:32 pm

        good story, but snark fail: I completely agree with you that (some, many) americans have frickin’ weird priorities.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 11, 2015, 10:26 am

        i wasn’t snarking

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