Human Rights Watch (HRW) has slammed the Tel Aviv regime over “abusive arrests” of Palestinian children by Israeli forces.
In a report released on Monday, the New York-based rights group said Palestinian children as young as 11 years of age had been detained by Israeli forces in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) and the occupied West Bank during the final few weeks of 2014.
“Israeli security forces have used unnecessary force to arrest or detain Palestinian children,” the HRW said.
The report added that Israeli authorities had also failed to notify the children’s parents of their arrests or whereabouts.
“Forces have choked children, thrown stun grenades at them, beaten them in custody, threatened and interrogated them without the presence of parents or lawyers, and failed to let their parents know their whereabouts.”
A number of the children said after being threatened, and and even “punched and kicked” during interrogations, Israeli authorities had forced them to sign confessions in Hebrew, a language they do not speak or write.
The HRW explained in the report that in November last year, for instance, Israeli forces covered the head of an 11-year-old Palestinian child when arresting him, kicked him and verbally abused him in Arabic.
Malak al-Khatib, a 14-year-old Palestinian girl, was another victim of Israeli abuse in the West Bank. She, according to her mother, was beaten by four Israelis “with something like a baton” until she lost consciousness, and, “While on the ground, they (Israeli forces) kicked her and one soldier stepped on her neck,” the HRW report stated.
The rights group called on the United States, “as Israel’s largest military donor,” to put pressure on Tel Aviv to end its “abusive practices.”
The rights body submitted its preliminary findings to Israeli authorities, who in response, failed to address allegations and instead insisted that Israeli forces had adhered to the law in all cases.
The findings of HRW are consistent with information from other organizations, including the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which have previously reported the ill-treatment of children becoming involved in the Israeli military detention system.
Figures released earlier this year by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem showed that there were 164 Palestinian minors being held in Israeli prisons.