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Tell Congress Now: Israeli military detention is no way to treat a child

on 16 Comments

Abed was only 15 years old when he was awoken late one night by a masked Israeli soldier standing over his bed pointing a rifle at him.  “Wake up Habibi (my darling),” the soldier said, shortly before he blindfolded and handcuffed Abed tightly behind his back.  This was the start of an ordeal that this child and his family endured when he was arrested in the middle of the night, taken to an undisclosed location, harshly interrogated and imprisoned on the suspicion of stone throwing. This grim scenario is played out in hundreds of homes each year across the West Bank.

Abed’s story is one of several told in “Detaining Dreams” a new film by Amr Kawji that is premiering on Tuesday, June 2 at Busboys and Poets in Washington DC.

John and Joyce Cassel, retired school consultant and high school teacher, traveled to the West Bank this spring to gather testimonies from children who have experienced the Israeli Military Juvenile Detention system.  The Cassels worked with the staff of Defense for Children International Palestine to gather these testimonies. DCIP is committed to securing a just and viable future for Palestinian children in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

“It was heartbreaking,” said Joyce Cassel, describing the experience of sitting in a family’s living room and listening to a child and his family tell them and DCIP staff the details of his arrest, transport interrogation, and time in jail. “As each boy told his story, we began to get the picture of how destructive and traumatizing this ordeal was to him, to his entire family to the entire community.  One family we visited had three of their sons arrested, each in the fall of their junior year in high school and each for allegedly throwing stones.”

The film was made under the auspices of the No Way to Treat a Child campaign, which focuses attention on the brutal experiences Palestinian children face in the Israeli Military Detention system.  According to Defense for Children International, every year more than 700 Palestinian children experience the Israeli Military Juvenile Detention System. UNICEF in February 2015 reported that children are “being subjected to multiple violations throughout the arrest, transfer, interrogations and detention phases.”

The 2013 UNICEF report states “there is no exceptional circumstances in which torture or other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment are permitted, not even security considerations or threats of acts endangering the security of a state or its population.”  (Convention on the Rights of the Child, CAT: Convention against Torture, and other Cruel, Inhumane and Degrading Treatment or Punishment)

Tell Congress to investigate.

'No Way to Treat a Child' advocacy days logo

‘No Way to Treat a Child’ advocacy days logo

To bring attention to this horrific aspect of the Israeli occupation, the No Way to Treat a Child Campaign and the American Friends Service Committee will hold a Congressional Briefing on June 2. Sponsored by Congressman Keith Ellison (D, MN), the briefing will feature portions of the film, as well as live testimony from Tariq Abu Khdeir, the Palestinian American teenager who was arrested and brutally beaten by Israeli police in the summer of 2014. Representative Ellison will give the opening remarks and Rabbi Brant Rosen of the American Friends Service Committee, Joe Stork of Human Rights Watch and Bradley Parker of Defense for Children International-Palestine will also be testifying.

To urge your congressperson to attend this briefing, click here.  For more information on the campaign, go to

About Lynn Pollack

Lynn Pollack is a volunteer for the No Way to Treat a Child campaign.

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16 Responses

  1. JLewisDickerson
    May 26, 2015, 10:28 am

    RE: “To urge your congressperson(s) to attend this briefing, click here.” ~ Lynn Pollack

    MY COMMENT: Done!

  2. Kay24
    May 26, 2015, 11:31 am

    This is a horrible crime that our leaders have deliberately ignored. If this was say Iran, Iraq, or some other nation headed by a tyrant or leader we don’t get on with, there would be such outrage, and Congress would have been so vocal about it in their speeches. But this is a crime by those who pay for their campaigns, and that like Israel’s war crimes, land theft, and whatnot, will be ignored. How can Congress bite the hands that pay for their elections?

    It is time we made our voices louder and complained more frequently. We should urge our representative to attend this, in larger numbers.

    • michelle
      May 27, 2015, 12:56 pm

      seems like if we had ‘a’ representative we wouldn’t need to say anything for justice to be done
      Israel owns our leadership and much of the worlds leadership past present and future
      the proof is plain just look for places where justice is second to Israel
      we are all made mute ‘our’ leadership is deaf to our cries
      Israel has us all locked in its basement
      if we want freedom we must first free our leaders from the slave block where the highest bidder owns them/their vote
      G-d Bless

      • Kay24
        May 27, 2015, 4:16 pm

        I agree Michelle, and as long as we live I doubt we shall see our leaders free from the influences of lobbies and an alien nation. We are truly under an occupation.

  3. iResistDe4iAm
    May 26, 2015, 11:39 am

    The Highest Conviction Rates in the World = Israeli Apartheid

    The conviction rate for Palestinian suspects in Israeli military courts is a whopping 99.74%

    But the conviction rate for Palestinian CHILDREN in Israeli military courts is even higher at 99.88%

    However, the effective imprisonment rate for Palestinians is greater than 100% because when Israel cannot produce “evidence” to convict, it uses administrative detention to imprison Palestinians WITHOUT charge or trial (for arbitrary periods that can be renewed indefinitely).
    To add insult to injury, requests for administrative detention were approved at a rate of 98.77% (see first link above).

    • amigo
      May 26, 2015, 1:15 pm

      You have to hand it to the Israeli authorities , they sure know how to get their , “MAN”.

      And just think , Israel is the eleventh most happy nation on Earth.No accounting for taste–eh.

      • ckg
        May 26, 2015, 3:13 pm

        Israel is the eleventh most happy nation on Earth.

        And to paraphrase Frederick Douglass, judging by the slaves singing in the cotton fields, many Northerners thought Dixie was a happy place too.

  4. amigo
    May 26, 2015, 12:13 pm

    I would ordinarily sign this but it requires a zip code.As I live in Ireland , I doubt it would help to cheat.

    Thanks for highlighting this one more heinous crime by the rogue state.

  5. Bornajoo
    May 26, 2015, 4:44 pm

    I suppose it’s quite easy for them to treat children like this because in their eyes they are really ‘little snakes’ who ‘will grow up and throw molotov cocktails’.

    Thanks Lynn for everything you do. I wish I could sign but in the UK. As Amigo says, “thanks for highlighting this one more heinous crime by the rogue state”

    • Froggy
      May 27, 2015, 5:44 pm

      Bornajoo : “…because in their eyes they are really ‘little snakes’ who ‘will grow up and throw molotov cocktails’.”

      Damn any man who sympathizes with Indians! … I have come to kill Indians, and believe it is right and honorable to use any means under God’s heaven to kill Indians. … Kill and scalp all, big and little; nits make lice.
      —- Col. John Milton Chivington, Sand Creek Massacre, Colorado 1864

  6. just
    May 26, 2015, 5:48 pm

    All those living abroad can still write to your own leaders. Spread this far and wide.

    I can hear Trevor Hogan now… watch him at the link!

    “An amazing speech on the Day of Rage Saturday August 9 in Dublin. Trevor Hogan is a former rugby forward in Ireland who participated in the Gaza flotilla and has assumed a prominent role in Palestinian solidarity in his country. Here he calls out the “cowardice” of the Irish government and the members of the Israel lobby in the face of Palestinian “annihilation,” and demands that the Israeli ambassador, the “chief liar, the chief warmonger in Ireland,” to be expelled from the country” – See more at:

    Shout it, sing it, do it. LOUD. Do it like Trevor! Thank you Lynn. Thanks to John and Joyce Cassel and to Defense for Children International Palestine, and huge thanks and apologies to the children, parents, families, and friends who made this possible.

    • amigo
      May 26, 2015, 6:06 pm

      “All those living abroad can still write to your own leaders. Spread this far and wide. -just

      Believe me , I do Just . The usual refrain is , “Oh no , not him again”. I am on a first name basis at this point at the Irish Times and the Foreign affairs Dept.

      Won,t stop me though.

      Btw, I was at Trevor, wonderful speech that day , leaning on the Israeli embassy wall.Seems like a lifetime ago.Just imagine what it must be like for those people in Gaza with no homes to go to as they wait and wonder, when next their lawn will be mowed.

      • bintbiba
        May 26, 2015, 6:16 pm

        +1 , amigo !!

        OT… whatever happened to seafoid ? We miss him here on Mondoweiss !
        I hope he’s well… and listening ,as ever, to his lovely music.

  7. joemowrey
    May 26, 2015, 10:32 pm

    Seriously? This writer is suggesting that writing a letter to your Congressperson is going to make a difference. Haven’t we grown far beyond that kind of naiveté by now? If not, then we are surely doomed.

  8. Citizen
    May 27, 2015, 1:06 am


  9. brenda at fol
    May 28, 2015, 2:49 am

    And yet former PM Gordon Brown in his current position as the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, failed to mention Palestinian children as he expressed his concern for those in nine other countries:

    Brown: “This is not the year of the child but the year of fear, with 2015 already the worst year since 1945 for children being displaced, the worst year for children becoming refugees, the worst year for children seeing their schools attacked,” said Gordon Brown, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, “with rising numbers of girls and boys at risk from conflict in Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Burundi, South Soudan, northern Nigerian and from natural disasters in Nepal.”

    Refugees? Their schools being attacked? Does that not ring any bells?

    I appreciate his concern for the children at risk in those countries named (and there are no doubt others around the world). But in Palestine, every year is a year of fear for its children.

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