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UN Claims Israel Mistreats PA Arab 'Children'

A United Nations agency is claiming that Israel “systematically” mistreats Palestinian Authority Arab minors.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 3/6/2013, 12:53 PM / Last Update: 3/6/2013, 2:34 PM

Young Arab terrorists  (illustrative)
Young Arab terrorists  (illustrative)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

A United Nations agency is claiming that Israel “systematically” mistreats Palestinian Authority Arab minors.

The accusation was published Wednesday in a 22-page report issued by UNICEF, entitled “Children in Israeli Military Detention.” The agency claimed in its report, “Ill treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized,” AFP reported.

The report said minors were "aggressively awakened in the middle of the night by many armed soldiers and being forcibly brought to an interrogation center." Arrests of Palestinian Authority terror suspects are usually conducted at night to avoid mob attacks on soldiers.

Authors claimed that Israeli soldiers sometimes verbally abuse underage detainees and "rarely" inform them of their rights. In most cases, teenagers' confessions are "extracted under duress," they accused.

The report noted that most minors arrested by Israel are teenaged boys. So-called PA Arab “children” detained by Israel are defined as any person under age 18, regardless of size, strength or criminal history, including those who have been actively involved in attacks on Israelis. Of the 233 "children" current incarcerated, 202 are over age 16, AFP noted.

Their attack activity has included hurling rocks, bottles, firebombs (Molotov cocktails) during riots in various locations, or at vehicles passing on the roads of Judea and Samaria. It also includes direct physical attacks, or attempts to attack Israelis by stabbing with knives, clubbing with blunt objects, or even shooting with firearms.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry said it had provided UNICEF with material used in the report and pledged to work towards implementation of its conclusions. “Israel will study the conclusions and will work to implement them through ongoing cooperation with UNICEF, whose work we value and respect,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.

In Gaza, children and adolescents are an important target population for the various terrorist organizations, and summer camps are used as a tool with which to train them as future guerrilla fighters.

In 2010 Hamas ran camps for an estimated 100,000 campers. The Islamic Jihad terrorist organization ran 51 camps, with 10,000 participating boys and girls. In addition to doctrination, the children were given paramilitary training, with slogans extolling jihad and ‘death for the sake of Allah.’

Israeli lawmakers have often called on the government to tighten conditions in the prisons, saying that PA Arab inmates enjoy unusual privileges. Most are granted three hours a day to wander the premises, where they socialize together. The prison provides ping-pong tables, basketball courts, soccer fields and backgammon sets.

Arab prisoners receive meat and fish on holidays, and are allowed to purchase up to NIS 1,200 shekels worth of food each month in the prison canteen. Many buy meat, soda, candy, cigarettes and similar items, receiving stipends to buy luxury items from the terrorist groups they represent, according to a prison source.