Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Palestinian children and their status in society
by Itamar Marcus and Maurice Hirsch, “Palestinian Media Watch”
For almost a decade, the Palestinian NGO Defence for Children International - Palestine (DCI-P) has unjustifiably been accusing Israel of breaching the rights of Palestinian minors who are arrested on suspicion of committing terror attacks. Most recently, DCI-P launched a campaign in the US and in Canada under the title "No Way to Treat a Child", whose goal is "to challenge and end Israel's prolonged military occupation of Palestinians by exposing widespread and systematic ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system."
Among other baseless claims, DCI-P argues that the Palestinian minors are arrested, interrogated in breach of all of their rights, prosecuted and sentenced to prison terms.
A recent interview with DCI-P's Accountability Program Director Ayed Abu Qteish on official PA TV, shows that the claims made by his own organization are false. Abu Qteish explained that Palestinian minors do in fact commit terror attacks, and they do it, not necessarily because they want to attack Israelis, but in order to enhance or maintain their status in Palestinian society.
Ayed Abu Qteish: "There are children who, when they were in prison, told the lawyer: 'I want to be imprisoned.' The first time [the child] was imprisoned, he didn't confess, and they released him because there was no evidence to convict him in the Israeli military court. The second time, there was no evidence either. The third time, he wanted to be imprisoned so that his image won't be hurt in the eyes of his friends, even though he is actually innocent... In several cases [Palestinian children] carried out stabbing operations because of the way the public looks at them. They realized 'the best way to clear myself of this image [of helping Israel] is to participate in resistance operations.'"
[Official PA TV, Personal Encounter, Oct. 11, 2017]
This statement by the DCI-P official is important for a number of reasons.
Firstly, in stark contrast to the claims of DCI-P in its campaign, it demonstrates that when Palestinian minors are arrested but the investigation ends without finding sufficient evidence, the suspect is released.
Secondly, it demonstrates that, in several cases, the motivation for Palestinian children to carry out terrorist attacks is their own perception of how their own society views them and has nothing to do with Israel.
Significantly, when discussing the motivations of Palestinian children to carry out terrorist attacks, the DCI-P representative completely ignores other real and equally relevant factors that explain their participation in terror attacks, such as:
1) the incessant Palestinian incitement to hatred and violence that is promoted in the PA media;
2) the incitement to hatred and violence that is taught to children in PA schools;
3) the PA glorification of terrorists that is an integral part of Palestinian society and even in sporting events for youth.