Gideon Levy: otto anni, con la tuta di Topolino ,arrestato dall’IDF (Hebron)

SABATO 30MARZO 2013

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Sintesi personale

Il detenuto era un ragazzino  di 8  anni  di  seconda elementare. Quando lo abbiamo incontrato questa settimana indossava una felpa rossa decorata con l’immagine di Mickey Mouse e aveva un sorriso timido. Otto anni, Ahmed Abu Rimaileh non è  il più giovane dei bambini , zaini in spalla, che i  soldati delle Forze di Difesa di Israele hanno  preso in custodia Mercoledì scorso: Il suo amico, Abdel Rahim,  arrestato con lui, aveva solo 7  ed era in  prima elementare.Ventisette bambini palestinesi non sono mai arrivati ​​a scuola in quel giorno particolare. Soldati israeliani  erano in agguato per loro dalle prime ore del mattino per le strade dei quartieri di Hebron  sotto il controllo dell’esercito  e li hanno arrestati indiscriminatamente. Solo dopo che erano detenuti  le forze di sicurezza israeliane hanno esaminato   il filmato  in loro possesso per vedere quale dei ragazzi avesse  gettato pietre al  Checkpoint che separa il quartiere  palestinese dal quartiere dei coloni della città. E ‘stato qui, poche settimane fa, che i soldati dell’IDF hanno  ucciso un adolescente, Mohammed Suleima.
La maggior parte dei bambini sono stati rilasciati nel giro di poche ore. I più anziani sono stati tenuti in detenzione per alcuni giorni, prima di essere rilasciati  su cauzione. Un adulto che ha cercato con forza di  evitare l’arresto del figlio di un collega  è stato portato in tribunale questa settimana.Il fatto che 18 dei bambini fossero  di età inferiore ai 12 anni  , l’età della responsabilità penale ai sensi della legge 1971per i  giovani israeliani , era apparentemente di nessun interesse per l’IDF, per la polizia israeliana o per  la polizia di frontiera. Né lo era  la relazione  emessa appena due settimane prima dall’Unicef che ha condannato Israele perl’arresto di   circa 7.000 bambini palestinesi negli ultimi dieci anni.”Maltrattamento di bambini palestinesi nel sistema israeliano di detenzione militare risulta essere molto diffuso, sistematico e istituzionalizzato”, evidenzia il  rapporto UNICEF La legge vieta l’arresto  di  bambini di età inferiore ai 12 anni .Sembra che la disposizione di legge per cui  i bambini  più grandi non devono essere interrogati  senza la presenza dei loro genitori e del  loro avvocato non si applichi  ai bambini palestinesi.
Un volontario dell’International Solidarity Movement, un pro-palestinese gruppo di attivisti, che ha documentato con una videocamera l’arresto , ha consegnato  le immagini a  B’Tselem: Il Centro Informazioni israeliana per i diritti umani nei Territori Occupati, B’Tselem lo  ha dato a noi. (. Il video può essere visto sul sito B’Tselem e su YouTube)  Il fotografo dilettante dal ISM è stato espulso da Israele  lo stesso giorno, dopo che ha avuto anche il coraggio di partecipare a una manifestazione a Hebron contro la visita del presidente Barack Obama.In effetti, l’arresto di massa dei giovani si è svolta il 20 marzo, il giorno in cui  Obama è arrivato in Israele,  il giorno prima aveva  fatto le sue osservazioni sui bambini palestinesi a Gerusalemme. “Immedesimatevi con la situazione palestinese  “, il presidente aveva detto  agli  israeliani.In  quella stessa mattina  i residenti palestinesi di Hebron hanno  notato decine di soldati israeliani occupare  posizioni per le strade e sui tetti del quartiere. Un residente spaventato ha  chiamato B’Tselem per chiedere cosa stava succedendo.
Ahmed Abu Rimaileh si è  svegliato alle 7 la mattina e, con il NIS 2  ricevuto da sua madre come paghetta, si è recato  a scuola.  Frequenta la Scuola Elementare Hadija in fondo alla strada.Adiacente ad essa ci  sono tre altre scuole che fanno parte di un complesso educativo che si trova a poche centinaia di metri dal posto di blocco.Suo padre, Yakub, è un operaio edile. Sua madre, Hala, è ora seduta con noi nella propria  casa. Racconta  Ahmed  di essersi fermato  al negozio alimentare all’angolo  dove  ha comprato un pacchetto di biscotti . Mentre   stava per lasciare il negozio sette o otto  bambini improvvisamente sono arrivati di corsa  . I  soldati  hanno arrestato tutti i bambini nel negozio.Un soldatlolo  ha afferrato   per la spalla e trascinato verso il posto di blocco. Ahmed dice che era molto spaventato. Ammette di aver gridato , anche se solo un po ‘. Al posto di blocco  lui e tutti gli altri giovani detenuti sono stati spinti in un veicolo militare :  27 bambini parte seduti, parte in piedi.C’erano  tre soldati con loro nel veicolo. Alcuni bambini piangevano  e i soldati hanno detto loro di tacere. Un bambino è stato colpito, dice Ahmed. Sono stati tutti portati alla vicina  stazione di polizia israeliana , accanto alla Tomba dei Patriarchi, dove è stato intimato    loro di sedersi per terra.  I bambini al di sopra dei 12 anni sono stati separati da quelli più giovani e portati alla stazione di polizia di Kiryat Arba e poi al carcere di Ofer, a nord di Gerusalemme.Burkan Ahmed, 13 anni, non è stato rilasciato fino a sera. Malik Srahana, anche lui di 13 anni ,  è stato tenuto in custodia per tre giorni nella prigione di Ofer, prima di essere rilasciato su cauzione NIS 2000. Musa Abu Hashhash,membro di B’Tselem ,lo  ha incontrato subito dopo la sua liberazione  e afferma di aver riscontrato in lui  segni di trauma.Secondo una relazione trasmessa dalla Croce Rossa Internazionale a B’Tselem, 18 dei bambini detenuti erano sotto i 12 anni. Sono stati tenuti in cortile  con un poliziotto a guardia di loro per quasi due ore. Nessuno ha offerto loro cibo o acqua.I bambini hanno  chiesto di andare in bagno, ma gli è stato proibito , ricorda Ahmed. Il poliziotto ha chiesto chi tra loro aveva gettato pietre, ma nessuno ha confessato. Hanno quindi separati i più grandi dai più piccoli  Dopo un po ‘tre jeep sono arrivate e  hanno portato  il gruppo dei più giovani al posto  di controllo 56, vicino al quartiere di Tel Rumeida. Qui i bambini sono stati raggiunti da tre palestinesi del  coordinamento di polizia , che li hanno  portati alla loro stazione di polizia. La polizia palestinese ha dato loro cibo e ha chiesto  di alzare le mani chi aveva lanciato  i sassi . Tutte le mani si sono alzate .I genitori sono stati convocati per   prendere i bambini. I  genitori di Ahmed  e quelli di altri quattro giovani non si sono fatti vedere . Quei cinque bambini sono stati condotti  a casa in una macchina del Ministero Palestinese dell’Educazione. I loro genitori preoccupati li stavano aspettando.Hala dice che non è arrabbiato con suo figlio. Ha solo chiesto di non piangere la prossima volta che sarà  arrestato dai soldati.
L’ufficio del portavoce dell’IDF ha fornito la seguente dichiarazione in risposta ad una interpellanza  da Haaretz: “Lo scorso Mercoledì, 20 Marzo 2013, i minori palestinesi hanno lanciato pietre contro militari al  checkpoint di Hebron . L’IDF li ha arrestati  e sette di loro,  al di sopra dei 12 anni, sono stati presi per essere interrogati dalla polizia israeliana, quindi ,le domande  circa la non presenza di un genitore e di un  avvocato durante l’interrogatorio devono essere indirizzate  alla polizia. “Il giorno dopo l’incidente, Ahmed non voleva andare a scuola, ma è stato convinto dai suoi genitori a farlo. Per un giorno è stato  un eroe tra i bambini. Non è entrato  in classe quel giorno, rimanendo invece nell’ufficio del preside. Vuole essere un medico quando sarà grande.  Sua madre afferma  che è un bravo studente e un bravo ragazzo.Ahmed ha sette fratelli e sorelle. I cinque ragazzi dormono  in una stanza a due letti e sui materassi sul pavimento. C’è un vecchio computer in camera, che è spento, non si dispone di una connessione a Internet.  Dopo la scuola il ragazzo vende Halabi, una pasta  fatta in casa per mezzo siclo.

27 Palestinian children never made it to school this week; IDF troops lay in ambush for them on the streets of Hebron.

Aged eight, wearing a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt, and placed in Israeli custody

Ahmed Abu Rimaileh. The 8-year-old admits he cried when he was arrested.

We couldn’t help ourselves: The sight of the young, newly released detainee drove us into a paroxysm of laughter. But the laughter quickly morphed into sad embarrassment. The detainee was a boy of 8, in second grade. When we met him this week, on the streets of Hebron, he was on his way to his grandfather’s home. He wore a red sweatshirt emblazoned with an image of Mickey Mouse, and he had a shy smile. His mom had sent him to take something to Grandpa. Eight-year-old Ahmed Abu Rimaileh was not the youngest of the children, schoolbags on their backs, that Israel Defense Forces soldiers took into custody early on Wednesday, last week: His friend, Abdel Rahim, who was arrested with him, is only 7, and in first grade.

Twenty-seven Palestinian children never made it to school on that particular day. IDF troops lay in ambush for them from the early morning hours on the streets of the Hebron neighborhoods that are under the army’s control, and arrested them indiscriminately. Only after they were in custody did the Israeli security forces examine the video footage they had in their possession, to see which of the youngsters had thrown stones at Checkpoint No. 160 earlier that morning, which separates their neighborhood from the settlers’ quarter of the city. It was here, a few weeks ago, that IDF soldiers shot and killed a teenager, Mohammed Suleima, who was holding a pistol-shaped lighter.
Most of the young children were released within a few hours. The older ones were kept in detention for a few days, before being released on bail. One adult, who tried forcefully to prevent the arrest of a colleague’s son, was brought to trial this week.
The fact that 18 of the children were under the age of 12, the age of criminal responsibility according to the 1971 Israeli Youth Law (Adjudication, Punishment and Methods of Treatment ), was apparently of no interest to the IDF, the Israel Police or the Border Police. Nor was the severe report issued just two weeks earlier by the United Nations Children’s Fund, which condemned Israel for arresting some 7,000 Palestinian children in the past decade.
“Ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized,” the UNICEF report stated, and added, “In no other country are children systematically tried by juvenile military courts.”
The Youth Law forbids the arrest of children under the age of 12. It also appears that the provision stipulating that older children must not be interrogated without the presence of their parents and their lawyer does not apply to Palestinian children.
A volunteer from the International Solidarity Movement, a pro-Palestinian activist group, who documented with a video camera the operation in which the children were arrested, forwarded the footage to B’Tselem: The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, and B’Tselem gave it to us. (The video can be viewed on the B’Tselem website and on YouTube.) One soldier is seen spitting crudely on the ground, another actually carries the schoolbag of his little detainee – as though he were a babysitter who had come to escort the child home from school. The amateur photographer from the ISM was deported from Israel that same day, after she also had the temerity to take part in a demonstration in Hebron against the visit of President Barack Obama.
Indeed, the mass arrest of the youngsters took place on March 20, the day Obama arrived in Israel, and the day before he made his remarks about Palestinian children in Jerusalem. “Put yourselves in the Palestinians’ shoes,” the president told the Israelis.
From early that same morning, Palestinian residents of Hebron noticed dozens of Israeli soldiers taking up positions in the streets and on rooftops in the neighborhood. One frightened resident called B’Tselem fieldworker Manal al-Jaabari, to ask what was going on.
Divided by age 
For his part, Ahmed Abu Rimaileh woke up at 7 that morning and, with the NIS 2 he received from his mother as pocket money, set out for school; sometimes he gets NIS 1.5, sometimes 2. He attends the Hadija Elementary School down the street. Adjacent to it are three other schools that are part of an educational complex, which is located a few hundred meters from the checkpoint.
His father, Yakub, is a construction worker. His mother, Hala, is now sitting with us in their home. On the way to school, Ahmed says he stopped at the corner grocery store and bought a packet of cookies for NIS 1, and kept the other shekel for recess. As he was about to leave the store, he relates, seven or eight other children suddenly came running in, some his age, some older. Hard on their heels were soldiers, who arrested all the children in the store.
One soldier ordered Ahmed to put the cookies in his schoolbag before grabbing him by the shoulder and hauling him toward the checkpoint. Ahmed says he was very scared. He also admits that he cried, though only a little. At the checkpoint, he and all the other detained youngsters were thrust into an army vehicle – 27 children in one vehicle, some sitting, some standing, according to Ahmed’s description.
There were three soldiers with them in the vehicle. Some of the children were crying, and the soldiers told them to be quiet. One child was hit, Ahmed says. They were all taken to the nearby Israeli police station, next to the Tomb of the Patriarchs, where they were told to sit on the ground, in a closed courtyard. The children above age 12 were separated from the younger ones and taken to the police station in Kiryat Arba and afterward to Ofer Prison, north of Jerusalem.
Ahmed Burkan, 13, was not released until the evening. Malik Srahana, also 13, was held in custody for three days at Ofer Prison before being released on NIS 2,000 bail. B’Tselem fieldworker Musa Abu Hashhash, who met with him immediately after his release, says the teenager showed signs of trauma.
According to a report transmitted by the International Red Cross to B’Tselem, 18 of the detained children were under the age of 12. They were kept in the courtyard, with a policeman guarding them for almost two hours. No one offered them food or water.
Children asked to go to the bathroom but were forbidden to do so, Ahmed recalls. The policeman asked who among them had thrown stones, but no one confessed. He then asked if they knew which children had thrown the stones and they named two of the older ones, who had been arrested and separated from them.
After a time, three jeeps arrived and took the younger group to Checkpoint 56, next to the settler neighborhood of Tel Rumeida. There the children were met by three Palestinian police “security coordination” jeeps, which took them to their police station. The Palestinian police gave them food and asked all those who had thrown stones to raise their hand. All the hands went up.
The parents were called to come to the station to collect the children. Ahmed’s parents and those of four other youngsters did not show up. Those five children were driven home in a car of the Palestinian Ministry of Education. Their worried parents were waiting for them.
Hala says she is not angry at her son. She only asked him not to cry the next time he is arrested by soldiers. “We are used to it,” she says, adding that her son had a dream about the arrest that night.
The IDF Spokesman’s Office provided the following statement in response to a query from Haaretz: “Last Wednesday, March 20, 2013, Palestinian minors threw stones at a force that was manning the checkpoint in Hebron. An IDF force that waited in ambush close to the site caught the stone-throwers in action. The Palestinian minors were detained on the spot, and seven of them, who are above the age of 12, were taken for interrogation by the Israel Police. As the Israel Police interrogated the minors, the question about the non-presence of a parent/lawyer during the interrogation should be addressed to them.”
The day after the incident, Ahmed did not want to go to school, but was persuaded by his parents to do so. For one day he was a hero among the children: Ahmed, the released detainee. He did not enter the classroom that day, staying instead in the principal’s office. He wants to be a doctor when he grows up, like a few others in his extended family, he tells us. His mother says he is a good student and a good boy.
Ahmed has seven brothers and sisters. The five boys sleep in one room, on two beds and on mattresses on the floor. There is an old computer in the room, which is turned off; they do not have an Internet connection. Out in the street a young peddler, of the same age as Ahmed, can be heard hawking his wares. After school the boy sells halabi, a sweet homemade pastry oozing with oil, for half a shekel.

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The IDF must stop arresting children

THE UNBEARABLE EASE WITH WHICH THE IDF, POLICE AND BORDER POLICE ARREST SMALL CHILDREN SHOWS THAT ISRAEL IS BLATANTLY FLOUTING BOTH UNICEF’S REPORT AND ITS OWN LAW

TWENTY -SEVEN PALESTINIAN CHILDREN WERE AMBUSHED AND ARRESTED BY ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES SOLDIERS IN HEBRON ON MARCH 20. EIGHTEEN OF THEM WERE LESS THAN 12 YEARS OLD, THE MINIMUM AGE AT WHICH THEY CAN LEGALLY BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR A CRIME.

This large-scale roundup was arbitrary. Soldiers arrested every child they saw on the street − including first- and second-graders no older than 7 or 8 − on suspicion of throwing stones at roadblock 160, which separates Palestinians from settlers.
Among them was 8-year-old Ahmed Abu Remeila, who was quoted by Gideon Levy in Haaretz on Friday as saying he was abducted by soldiers on his way to school from the grocery store, where he had bought himself a biscuit, and that he was held at the police station for almost two hours.
All 18 children under the age of 12 were eventually released, but their arrest was nevertheless utterly reprehensible. Under Israeli law, they should not have been arrested at all. In fact, the law forbid authorities from interrogating the older children as well, unless their parents and attorneys were present. This was not the case.
The arrests in Hebron were carried out some two weeks after the United Nations Children’s Fund released a report severely castigating Israel for the ways it arrests and detains Palestinian children.
UNICEF, which cannot in any way be accused of being anti-Israel, determined that the mistreatment of Palestinian minors detained by Israel is “widespread, systematic and institutionalized.”
“In no other country are children systematically tried by juvenile military courts that, by definition, fall short of providing the necessary guarantees to ensure respect for their rights,” it declared.
According to UNICEF’s report, Israel has, in the past decade, arrested no fewer than 7,000 Palestinian children − some 700 a year. They are usually arrested in the middle of the night, after their homes are violently broken into, taken from their beds, torn from their families and thrown into prison in extremely harsh conditions, in violation of international treaties signed by Israel.
The unbearable ease with which the IDF, police and Border Police arrest small children shows that Israel is blatantly flouting both UNICEF’s report and its own laws.
Even if the problem of stone-throwing in the West Bank is getting worse, the IDF’s chief of staff must put an immediate stop to this illegal, ignominious procedure.

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