The world is beginning to pay attention to Israeli crimes against children. Earlier this week a photograph of a blindfolded and disoriented Palestinian boy of 16, surrounded by 20 Israeli soldiers who had arrested him, drew international outrage. The boy, Fawzi al-Junaidi, has been charged with throwing stones.
Meantime in the U.S., Congresswoman Betty McCollum and 20 others have introduced legislation to cut off U.S. funds when Israel spends them detaining children, the Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act. This week, McCollum writes in the Nation:
Children as young as 12 years old are taken from their beds at night by Israeli soldiers and police. They are bound, blindfolded, and taken to detention centers. Under Israeli military law they are denied access to lawyers during interrogation, and even the youngest children are regularly denied access to their parents during interrogations. This happens to around 500 to 700 Palestinian children every year.
Just such a thing happened three days ago to the family of a leading Hebron anti-occupation activist, Badia Dwaik.
Two of Dwaik’s brothers, Wadea and Monqaz, were on their way to the hospital on December 7 to get medication for Wadea, when occupation forces stopped them. These soldiers were in the H1 area of Hebron, the area which is supposed to be under Palestinian control according to the Hebron protocol. The Dwaik brothers explained that Wadea needed medication, but the soldiers instructed them to go back home. An argument ensued, and the soldiers attacked the two men, Badia Dwaik reports, and the younger brother, Monqaz, managed to run away, but the soldiers arrested Wadea.
A crowd of 20 Palestinians gathered to protest the arrest. It included Badia Dwaik’s 12-year-old son Abdullah. Before long the soldiers turned to Abdullah. Badia Dwaik said they beat his son and then detained him for four hours.
This is the second time that Abdullah has been detained in the last two months.
Badia Dwaik is the leader of Human Rights Defenders and lately did a tour of Europe. The group is today sponsoring a “capturing occupation camera project” to document abuses by occupying soldiers. Dwaik’s courage is evident in this encounter with an Israeli soldier, when a settler boy on a horse tried to have him run out of town.
Update. Another son of an activist is targeted, and arrested, this time the son of Iyad Burnat, the leader of resistance in Bil’in. Al-Awda New York reports:
Abdul-Khalik Burnat, 17 years old, the son of Palestinian activist Iyad Burnat, an active leader of the Nonviolent Resistance Movement in the Palestinian village of Bil’in, was kidnapped, beaten and detained on the night of December 10, 2017 while getting pizza along with his friends Hamzah Al-Khatib and Malik Rahdi.
Their whereabouts were unknown until Abdul-Khalik’s mother and father recently learned that he and his friends are in Ofer Prison near the city of Ramallah.
Thanks to Ofer Neiman.