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Palestinian children play near the Shati refugee camp in Gaza City on June 19, 2013. - Photo by AFP
Palestinian children play near the Shati refugee camp in Gaza City on June 19, 2013. - Photo by AFP

GENEVA/JERUSALEM: A United Nations human rights body accused Israeli forces on Thursday of mistreating Palestinian children, including by torturing those in custody and using others as human shields.

Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, captured by Israel in the 1967 war, are routinely denied registration of their birth and access to health care, decent schools and clean water, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said.

“Palestinian children arrested by (Israeli) military and police are systematically subject to degrading treatment, and often to acts of torture, are interrogated in Hebrew, a language they did not understand, and sign confessions in Hebrew in order to be released,” it said in a report.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said it had responded to a report by the UN children's agency Unicef in March on ill-treatment of Palestinian minors and questioned whether the UN committee's investigation covered new ground.

“If someone simply wants to magnify their political bias and political bashing of Israel not based on a new report, on work on the ground, but simply recycling old stuff, there is no importance in that,” spokesman Yigal Palmor said.

Kirsten Sandberg, a Norwegian expert who chairs the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, said the report was based on facts, not on the political opinions of its members.

“We look at what violations of children's rights are going on within Israeli jurisdiction,” she told Reuters.

She said Israel did not acknowledge that it had jurisdiction in the occupied territories, but the committee believed it does, meaning it has a responsibility to comply with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The report by its 18 independent experts acknowledged Israel's national security concerns and noted that children on both sides of the conflict continue to be killed and wounded, but that more casualties are Palestinian.

Most Palestinian children arrested are accused of throwing stones, which can carry a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, the committee said.

The watchdog examined Israel's record of compliance with the children's rights convention as part of its regular review of the pact from 1990 signed by 193 countries, including Israel. An Israeli delegation attended the session.

The UN committee regretted what it called Israel's persistent refusal to respond to requests for information on children in the Palestinian territories and occupied Syrian Golan Heights since the last review in 2002.


“Hundreds of Palestinian children have been killed and thousands injured over the reporting period as a result of (Israeli) military operations, especially in Gaza,” the report said.

Israel battled a Palestinian uprising during part of the 10-year period examined by the committee.

It withdrew its troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005, but still blockades the Hamas-run enclave, from where Palestinian militants have sometimes fired rockets into Israel.

During the 10-year period, an estimated 7,000 Palestinian children aged 12 to 17, but some as young as nine, had been arrested, interrogated and detained, the UN report said.

Many are brought in leg chains and shackles before military courts, while youths are held in solitary confinement, sometimes for months, the report said.

It voiced deep concern at the “continuous use of Palestinian children as human shields and informants”, saying 14 such cases had been reported between January 2010 and March 2013 alone.

Israeli soldiers had used Palestinian children to enter potentially dangerous buildings before them and to stand in front of military vehicles to deter stone-throwing, it said.

Almost all had remained unpunished or had received lenient sentences, according to the report.

Sandberg, asked about Israeli use of human shields, said: “It has been done more than they would recognise during the dialogue. They say if it happens it is sanctioned. We say it is not harsh enough.”

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Comments (23) Closed

a Jun 21, 2013 12:51am

And yet the US or the International community stays silent on this issue. In short, Palestinian blood is not as precious as anyone else's. The Palestinians are not humans according to them. Tell me something new as this has been going on for years now.

Saeed Jun 21, 2013 02:29am

This is genocide, by the zionist, crime against humanity. Finally someone has woken up and taken some notice.

Saeed Jun 21, 2013 07:23am

Why don't we care our kids first and Stop worrying about others kids right now.

DrE Jun 21, 2013 09:35am

This is Israel. It has a pass to conduct atrocities and anyone who criticizes such actions are antisemites. Torture of children is a moral conundrum that does not seem to bother the modern leaders of the Jewish state.

Jamil Ahmed Jun 21, 2013 09:55am

Racist Zionist State must cease to exist the same way as did the racist apartheid state of South Africa ceased to exist.

Tahir Jun 21, 2013 10:09am

I am Surprised no one commented on this Post ???

Iqbal Jun 21, 2013 04:05pm

are we back in history 5,000 years ago?

Salim Akbani Jun 21, 2013 06:15pm

@Saeed: They are not doing anything different that what Muslims do. They are both guilty of such crimes against children.

Salim Akbani Jun 21, 2013 06:21pm

@a: Their blood will always be cheap as long as Arabs and Muslims keep bowing to the US and do their bidding. These Arab states and their leaders treat their own people poorly, denying them human dignity and honor.

Maddy Jun 21, 2013 07:49pm

@ Saeed. - Why don't we care our kids first and Stop worrying about others kids right now.

Cuz we have a heart and we love and care about these kids too.

wajahat Jun 21, 2013 09:48pm

@Saeed: Really ? Jew, Christien, Muslim no matter what religion a children belong to , He/ she should not be treated like this. And i know we cant help but at least we can speak

MohammedCohen Jun 21, 2013 11:35pm

Tit for tat... Let the Americans and the Arab countries take some of Israeli children and treat them the same way Israel treats Palestinian children to let them taste their own medicine! Israel is a war criminal society and its people are equally responsible for the atrocities Israel commits in the name of their fake national security from stone throwing kids on their American tanks and planes. What a load of crap. Since America is turning into Israeli police state its about time that we American start keeping tabs on each and every Jew in America so they can feel the disgrace and inhumane feelings what the Arabs in particular and the Muslims in general feel!

MohammedCohen Jun 21, 2013 11:41pm

@Saeed: How do you propose we should "take care of our kids'? Can you stop your child for not using his phone or the video game? Can you stop your child not to watch the trash tv by the Zio cabal so successful in transforming our children into working class mentality through total control of our education, entertianment, media etc etc? Dream on!!!!

eskay Jun 22, 2013 12:05am

So sad....... Whether these kids are palestians pakistanis, afghani or from any country in the west, this is nothing but brutality. I can not look up to any country for justice except Allah. May Allah help every innocent in this world and take revenge from the ones who are responsible for these atrocities, just the same way as Allah s.w.t took care of Hitler. Ameen

Shahid Khan Jun 22, 2013 03:35am

We must stop blaming others, we first fix our own corrupted leadership, learn how to stand on our own feet, and quit depending on others e.g. USA. May Allah Tallah fix all corrupted Muslims. Ameen

Tao Jun 22, 2013 11:45am

Another one sided anti-Israel piece with no real facts to back it up by the worthless UN. 14 supposed cases in 3 years?
Maybe they should be more concerned about the Palastinian children who are brainwashed and trained to blow themselves up to kill Israelis. Or doesn't that count as abuse? Israel protects their citizens....always has, always will.

NasreenTufail Jun 22, 2013 11:45am

Look at the world everywhere Muslims are targeted; even now Muslim children. It is against every national Law. Children can

sal Jun 22, 2013 06:46pm

As Goyam, these kids have no right and are considered "monkeys" and "dogs" by the Talmud. As far a Israeli's go they are doing nothing wrong. In fact they consider it a bit soft that the kids aren't shot on sight.

Vikki Jun 22, 2013 07:05pm

@DrE: Exactly like Pak Sunnis, no difference............... Please check out your own home first, before creeping out in others'........

Khan Jun 22, 2013 10:14pm

Western Media Keep Tight Lid On Report Like This.

binte islam Jun 23, 2013 12:23am

Allah does not burden a soul more than it's endurance .The best way to deal with any calamity is to repent and ask for forgiveness . As Muslims we should never lose hope in Allah and should constantly seek Allah's help to make our life easier especially in these turbulent times.

alfe Jun 23, 2013 05:06am

This article is from REUTERS. Sounds like another conspiracy from the west. Please keep your consistency about believing news from the infidels. For all the people commented to this column, you astound me!!!

Asfandyar Jun 23, 2013 11:25am

@Saeed: Let's worry about the genocide against Shia in the country, the use of "kill and dump" operations against Balochi men, and the use of blasphemy laws to intimidate non-Muslims here in Pakistan before we start judging other countries (no matter how barbaric they might be).