Posts Tagged ‘children’
Special report by Harriet Sherwood in The Guardian: Israel’s military justice system is accused of mistreating Palestinian children arrested for throwing stones
The room is barely wider than the thin, dirty mattress that covers the floor. Behind a low concrete wall is a squat toilet, the stench from which has no escape in the windowless room. The rough concrete walls deter idle leaning; the constant overhead light inhibits sleep. The delivery of food through a low slit in the door is the only way of marking time, dividing day from night.
This is Cell 36, deep within Al Jalame prison in northern Israel. It is one of a handful of cells where Palestinian children are locked in solitary confinement for days or even weeks. One 16-year-old claimed that he had been kept in Cell 36 for 65 days.
The only escape is to the interrogation room where children are shackled, by hands and feet, to a chair while being questioned, sometimes for hours.
Most are accused of throwing stones at soldiers or settlers; some, of flinging molotov cocktails; a few, of more serious offences such as links to militant organisations or using weapons. They are also pumped for information about the activities and sympathies of their classmates, relatives and neighbours.
At the beginning, nearly all deny the accusations. Most say they are threatened; some report physical violence. Verbal abuse – “You’re a dog, a son of a whore” – is common. Many are exhausted from sleep deprivation. Day after day they are fettered to the chair, then returned to solitary confinement. In the end, many sign confessions that they later say were coerced.
Israel’s war on Gaza almost two years ago killed at least 1,400 Palestinians – including more than 300 children according to human rights groups. Many of the children who witnessed the violence now suffer ongoing psychological damage. Al Jazeera’s Nadim Baba reports on how residents are trying to restore some normality to the children of Gaza.
Israeli High Schoolers Assist The Razing Of A Bedouin Town
AL-ARAKIB, ISRAEL — On July 26, Israeli police demolished 45 buildings in the unrecognized Bedouin village of al-Arakib, razing the entire village to the ground to make way for a Jewish National Fund forest. The destruction was part of a larger project to force the Bedouin community of the Negev away from their ancestral lands and into seven Indian reservation-style communities the Israeli government has constructed for them. The land will then be open for Jewish settlers, including young couples in the army and those who may someday be evacuated from the West Bank after a peace treaty is signed. For now, the Israeli government intends to uproot as many villages as possible and erase them from the map by establishing “facts on the ground” in the form of JNF forests.
One of the most troubling aspects of the destruction of al-Arakib was a report by CNN that the hundreds of Israeli riot police who stormed the village were accompanied by “busloads of cheering civilians.” Who were these civilians and why didn’t CNN or any outlet investigate further?
Video of the demolition
A six-year-old boy has attracted much attention in Gaza by being the youngest potter in the area.
He started learning when he was four and spends most of his school holidays working on the potter’s wheel. Mahmoud, who is determined to carry on his family’s craft tradition.
Today, as part of UNRWA‘s Gaza Summer Games programme, 7,500 Gazan children broke the World Record for the number of basketballs bounced simultaneously!
Thousands of children in the Gaza Strip will attempt to smash the world record for the number of basketballs bounced simultaneously in one of the more novel activities that are part of an annual sporting event organized by the United Nations agency assisting Palestinian refugees.
Tomorrow [July 22], at the Summer Games, these children will seek to break the current world record, which was set in the United States in September 2007. The number of balls dribbled then was just over 3,000, a figure they hope to double.
“I have total confidence that the kids of Gaza will break this world record,” said John Ging, the Director in Gaza for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East, in a press release issued by UNRWA. “With their extraordinary determination and capacity to rise to a challenge, the children here can do anything.”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also expressed his support in a video message. “I want to congratulate the children of Gaza for taking part in this great event. You are showing the world that if you are given the opportunity… you can be number one!”
Later this week, the children are expected to set a separate world record for the number of kites flown simultaneously – a record they themselves set during the Games last year.
“Two world records in a week is surely another world record in itself,” said Mr. Ging, “and I invite children everywhere to go to our blog and send support.” He was referrring to a Facebook page set up by UNRWA where, for the past month, bloggers from around the world have been invited to send messages of support and hope to the children of Gaza.
UNRWA’s Summer Games, now in their fourth year, engage more than a quarter of a million refugee children across Gaza in such activities as sports, arts and crafts, theatre and drama. As the largest recreation programme for Gaza’s children, it is providing 1,200 summer camps for the duration of the Games, which run from 12 June through 5 August this year.
Send your messages of support: http://www.facebook.com/unrwa
Last year children attending UNRWA summer camps shattered the world record for simultaneous kite flying, sending some 5,000 kites aloft over the Gaza seashore – this is the record they hope to break tomorrow:
Following Reading PSC’s January exhibition of Gazan Children’s Art at Reading library, the exhibition continued around the UK. Here’s a report from Elizabeth Morley at Aberstwyth PSC after their recent show:
An exhibition of Gazan children’s art compiled by Rod Cox was on display in the Officers Club Gallery, Aberystwyth, 12-17 July.
On Friday evening Rod gave a talk about the pictures, which communicate the children’s experience of death and destruction, the loss of their childhood.
The continuous bombardment (from 27th December 2008 to 18th January 2009) of this narrow strip of land, where 1.5 million people live caged in by barbed wire, was devastating. Of the 1,400 killed almost 300 were children. Those who didn’t die will bear the physical and psychological scars for the rest of their lives.
When we hear of people suffering our hearts go out to them; we reach into our pockets and we want to help. When the victims are Palestinian, we find obstacles to giving aid, and what is worse, even to voicing our compassion. What, asked Rod, are Palestinians to make of it that when they are injured the world seems to look the other way?
That the tide may at last be turning could be inferred from remarks made by the two guest speakers. Cross-party co-operation at the National Assembly on the issue of Palestine was referred to by Elin Jones AM. Although foreign policy, she pointed out, wasn’t devolved to Wales, that didn’t deter her colleagues from discussing the situation in Gaza, for example. Raising awareness was important, she said.The role of education was emphasized also by Mark Williams MP. Teachers here, he said, could help children understand that children in Palestine long for a sign of recognition and friendship even more than aid. He hoped that schools in Wales would be encouraged to twin with schools in Palestine.
Thanks to UNWRA and charitable organisations, Rod explained, laptops and computers are available to schools in Gaza and the West Bank. Language isn’t a problem, either, as many teachers know enough English to enable the children to exchange simple emails. He mentioned the Britain-Palestine Twinning Network, which is there to help schools make the link.
For anyone who missed the exhibition here, it will be in Bangor Cathedral from 18-23 July before it goes on up to Manchester Cathedral from 24 July to 7 August.
Read about Aber PSC and see more photos from the event on their “Get 2 Know a PSC” page.
Reading PSC has been invited to hold a stall with RISC at the Big Day Out Music & Performing Arts Festival at Bracknell’s South Hill Park on Saturday July 10, 2010 from 1-11.30pm.
There will be all kinds of performances and food from Egypt, India, Indonesia, France & Ice cream!
Check out the Schedule for a full list of performances/activities & download the programme here…
Big Day Out Festival has survived 4 continuous years as a celebration of all that’s good in new music and the performing arts. The festival often feels like a summary of everything you’ve not heard about or got excited about but is definitely worth seeing and if the great outdoors is where you’re at, then Big Day Out Festival is bound to have something for you.
There’s a strong family focus to the event, especially during daylight hours and Big Day Out in 2010 will be no different, with the festival’s day-time activities climaxing in a Children’s parade at 5.30pm. After this, Big Day Out takes on a stronger adult appeal with all kinds of events going on under canvas and outdoors too.
Entry costs £3 in advance or £5 on the door – under 18s FREE!
For tickets and more details, call the box office on (01344) 484123 or visit: bigdayout2010.webs.com
We will be there for the full day – so don’t forget to stop by and say hello!
It is estimated that around 9,000 Palestinians are detained every year by Israel.
According to human-rights groups, up to 700 teenagers and children were detained last year alone.
More than 270 Palestinians, who are under the age of 18, are currently held in Israeli prisons.
Little is known about the long-term effect of detention on Palestinian teenagers. But with over 760,000 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel since 1967, experts say detention is a source of trans-generational trauma in Palestine; one that is passed on and bound to repeat so long as the occupation persists.
Prisoners tend to have symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome, experts say, and they warn that young detainees suffer more than adults from this experience, even if they are not tortured.
Child prisoners account for almost 20 percent of patients at Palestines only torture victim centre.
Al Jazeera’s Nour Odeh:
Reporting on the death of children is never an easy task. It challenges your sense of professionalism and puts you face to face with the strongest of emotions; a mother’s inconsolable grief at the loss of her child.
On Sunday, I went through this unforgettable experience – four times.
UPDATE – AJE has new audio proof:
… children have began to move on as best they can and try to put the memories of the war behind them but their daily life is filled with constant reminders. Much of Gaza still lies in a pile of sand and rubble. The winter rains have meant leaks and floods for Omsyatte and Amal’s families and the blockade means that many goods are hard to come by. Currently in Gaza there is a shortage of cooking gas. Power cuts are also commonplace making it very difficult to study at night… – Read more at Channel 4…
To donate to the children in the film, and for information on how to help them and others, please visit this website: