Does Israel violate children’s rights?

People around the world are currently protesting against the arrest of a 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi after she assaulted an IDF member. She is over 14 years of age and according to the Israeli and Palestinian law can be prosecuted by the Israeli military or civilian courts for her crime. These protests are such baseless attempts to single out Israel for her lawful actions. The international media and some Israeli newspapers are busy defaming Israel whenever they see any news that mentions the Palestinians.

They highlight news if the Israel Defence Force (IDF) personnel arrest teenage Palestinians, their photos and that news can be expected to go viral in international and social media. They portray Israel as a barbaric country ruled by a dictatorship. I can understand the international media’s bias against Israel, but I do not understand the hateful bias by some Israeli media and NGO organisations. They do not seem (or wish) to understand that supporting the Palestinian cause but singling out Israel as its cause are two completely different phenomena.

I can still remember, when I hated Israel most and did not miss any opportunity to defame Israel, I used to share any Haaretz news stories and articles that criticised Israel and her policies towards Palestinians. I also shared news that supported the Palestinians cause. Plus, I was also a fan of B’Tselem. I was not the only one; there were thousands of anti-Israel individuals who were keen to share Haaretz news stories with everyone they could around the world that showed Israel as a cruel country filled with evil Jews and that even Israel’s own media did not support its brutal image inside Israel.

I still like, read and share Haaretz articles and stories that are based on positive information, peace process and promote Israel’s better image in the world. But I do not agree with the newspaper policy when they heavily promote the negative side of Israel so widely.

Of course, as a democratic country with a completely free media, Israel has allowed the publication of all sides of the social and equally political environment, from positive to negative, just as my country the UK and the US do.  While it is not wrong to legitimately question a policy, I feel that it’s better that we should promote a generally positive image of our countries, not a constant stream of negativity.

The Israeli media knows very well that the international media and the Islamic media are very much interested in finding any news that smells of defamation of Israel. In this situation, I believe the Israeli media should take a careful and considerable step in highlighting the news that leaves a constructive image of Israel.

Here I mention the news in a recent issue of Haaretz that really disappointed me, Detained, Arrested and Harassed: The Life of Palestinian Teens in East Jerusalem (Dina Kraft, Jan 11, 2018). The percentages of detained and supposedly mistreated children they quoted came from the anti-Israel group B’Tselem, not from an unbiased third-party group. That, in itself is sloppy investigating.

Some Israeli newspapers spend their days and nights looking for any story that defames the image of Israel, specifically those which bring up a story where the IDF arrests or detains Palestinian teens or children. The concern is this, how were these teens classified as children under the lawful definition of children in Israel or Palestine? This question is very significant to understand whether or not the IDF actually breached the law in regards to children and/or the Palestinian Authority respectively. Does Haaretz highlight the abuse of children and civilians in the areas come under the Palestine Authority (PA)?

The Palestine Authority classified teens as children that have been arrested or detained by the IDF relating to the crimes of throwing rocks and stones (many of which weigh as much as 15 to 20 pounds (7-9 kilos) at civilians walking or driving by in cars.

These objects are big enough to cause serious or even lethal damage when they strike the target. This hypocritical attitude of PA is normal. They generally show two faces in their statements, one for local Palestinians and other for the international community.

According to The Status of the Rights of Palestinian Children 2014, conducted by the Palestine Central Bureau of Statics:

1.2: Definition of the child, according the Palestinian child law 2004. ……. 12 years is a minimum age of criminal responsibility and eligibility to go to court……

According to the Child Rights International Network:

Children under the Palestinian criminal law can be held criminally responsible from the age of 12. [Palestinian Child Law, Article 67 as amended]

If the IDF arrests a 12-17-year-old Palestinian child for committing a crime according to the Israeli law (i.e., throwing stones and rocks), the international media, some Israeli media, including Haaretz and the Palestinian media start bashing Israel for violation of the child’s human rights even though the Palestinian Authority (PA) itself considers 12 years old child responsible for his/her actions for the crime and eligible to present before the court to face the charges.

Here we can see the percentage of the minimum age of Palestinian children that were accused or persecuted and classified as juvenile offenders under the Palestine Authority Law.

“In the year of 2014, there were 92 Palestinian children in the age of up to12 and 594 children between the age of 13-15 classified as Juvenile offenders in the Palestinian Authority.” (The Status of the Rights of Palestinian Children 2014: Accused Juvenile Offenders)

It would be good journalism if all the Israeli media reported the news in a balanced capacity and provide fair and accurate information to the world.

 

For all too much of the media, social, print and visual, that is not happening. It is simply not straight and fair reporting that on the one hand shows only an extremely negative image of Israel and on the other hand completely denies that the Palestinian side ever violates human rights.

The Israeli media should also report the percentage of criminals who were persecuted for their crimes in the West Bank only. Has anyone ever looked at those Palestinians committing acts of terrorism against Israeli citizens? Who knows whether or not some of them also might be habitual offenders in the areas rules by the PA. Here are the numbers of offences committed by Palestinians in the West Bank in the year of 2014.

According to the Criminal Offences in the West Bank record:

  1. 208 Murders
  2. 178 Kidnaping/attempt
  3. 104 Rape/Attempt
  4. 8223 Assaults
  5. 2148 Assault on private and public property
  6. 5558 Harming \ Immoral Offences
  7. 1044 Using or Trading Narcotic Drugs
  8. 1114 Threats\Assault Government Employees
  9. 561 Forgery \ Fraud
  10. 233 Arson

Unsurprisingly, there was no listing of the crime of terrorism mentioned in the record of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statics because they call it martyrism. By calling it martyrism, they try to make it into a religious act so they can promote it and reward it. Here they show the some of the data regarding martyrs who committed the acts of terrorism from the year of 2000 to 2016 and they call it Martyrs of Al-Aqsa.

 (Killed Palestinians (Martyrs) in Al-Aqsa Uprising (Intifada), by Year 2000- 2016)

Even though this means the record of murders is not correct and though it never will, the PA should highlight their human rights abuses against their own civilians. I will disclose their human rights crimes in my coming article.

This is a list of some western and democratic countries that classified age 7 to 12 for responsible for their crimes and punishment can be given up to 14 years.

  • Pakistan: Age 7
  • India: age 7
  • UK: age 8-10

Countries that use the age of 14 as being able to be held accountable for crimes committed include Austria, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Viet Nam. Canada and the US use the age of 12 but rarely charge children as adults. Why is the world not condemning them and yet condemning Israel?

About the Author
Noor Dahri is a director of Pakistan Israel Alliance (PIA) and Editor in Chief of the Newspaper Pak Israel News (PIN). He is an independent researcher based in London, UK. He has studied Counter Terrorism from International Institute for Counter Terrorism ICT- Herzliya - Israel. He is a honorary member of the ZF-UK.
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