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Supreme Court Judge Jails Six 13 Year-Olds From Gush Katif

Boys allegedly occupy an Arab house on the beach in Gush Katif. Justice Procaccia calls it a "mass, violent incident." A local Arab invites Jews into his home, saying he supports their struggle.
First Publish: 7/4/2005, 12:18 PM / Last Update: 7/3/2005, 4:54 PM

Six 13 year-old Jewish boys who were arrested last week in Gush Katif will be held in jail at least until this Wednesday, under an order handed down by Supreme Court Justice Ayala Procaccia.

The children are accused of occupying an Arab house near the Maoz Hayam hotel near on the Gush Katif beach. They were arrested for questioning and have yet to be formerly charged with any crime.

Despite the fact that under Israeli law, the children, like other suspects who have not been convicted beyond a reasonable doubt, are presumed innocent, Justice Procaccia sounded convinced in her ruling that the children had been involved in wrongdoing.

“This was a mass, violent incident involving a group of Jews seizing a building owned by Palestinians, throwing rocks at Palestinians and injuring at least one of them, and a refusal to adhere to the orders of security forces," Procaccia wrote.

The justice’s attitude stands in sharp contrast to the opinions of some of the Arabs living in close proximity to the Jewish residents of Gush Katif, many of whom support the Jews’ struggle to stay in their homes.

One Arab, the brother of the man whose house was allegedly occupied by the youngsters, would probably be shocked by the language of the justice’s ruling. He invited some Jewish residents into his home this morning to tell them his side of the story, which according to the version reported in the media, had the youngsters lynching an Arab and almost beating him to death.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon used the media reports in order to publically berate opponents of the expulsion plan. He call the incident a “wild barabaric, and heartless act.” "What is happening in front of our eyes,” he said, “is not a battle over disengagement from Gaza, but a battle over the image of the state. This is not a situation I will allow to continue."

The Arab man said that the Arab youth who was allegedly lynched was injured only lightly and has since returned home. The man told his Israeli guests that he was not opposed to having Jewish youth occupy the house near the Gush Katif beach as an act of protest against the expulsion plan, because he himself was opposed to the plan.

The man did, however, express his displeasure over a slogan he says was scrawled on the wall of the house that read, “Mohammed is a pig.” Aside from that, he said, no other damage had been done to the property.

He also said that reports in the media of the IDF carrying out work on the structure to repair damage deliberately done by Jews were untrue. He said the only thing the army did was to seal off the entrance and stairwell in order to prevent youngsters from re-entering the house.

The Arab who invited the Gush Katif residents into his house by the beach, doesn’t seem to have much trouble with the Jewish youngsters living near his home.

That doesn’t seem to the the case with Justice Procaccia. The Justice, however, may be more interested in punishing the children’s parents than the youngsters she remanded, though she hopes the boys are thoroughly interrogated by police.

“The presence of children in detention for means of interrogation is a high price that they and their families are paying for the willingness of the initiators of the disturbances to use youths,” wrote the Justice. “The youths' parents have a heavy responsibility to rush their children from the heart of danger and place them outside the ideological struggle that they are leading, which is a matter for adults.”