UK lawyers timidly criticise Israel’s treatment of children



A group of some of Britain’s top lawyers has issued a report critical of the way Israel treats Palestinian children.

It says the Israeli forces

  • force Palestinian children to make false confessions
  • make them sign statements in Hebrew
  • hold them for eight times as long as Israeli children before bringing them to court
  • hold them for forty-five times as long before allowing them access to a lawyer
  • hold them five times as long (188 days) before charging them
  • sentence younger children to custodial sentences
  • do night-time arrests
  • use blindfolds and painful plastic wrist ties
  • commit physical and/or verbal abuse
  • fail to inform children of the right to silence or to see a lawyer
  • use solitary confinement and self-incrimination
  • allow extremely restricted access to families
  • break the United Nations convention on the rights of the child in six different ways

These lawyers are backed by Britain’s Foreign Office, not an organization known for militant anti-Zionism. The above statements err on the side of caution.

Israel claims to be a state committed to the rule of law and international standards. To make good that claim, it must formulate a legal structure for all Palestinian children in compliance with the convention of the rights of the child and international law. Further steps must be taken to close the gaps between the treatment of Israeli and Palestinian children…

whine the lawyers.

These lawyers are clever people. They know as well as I do that Israel is not committed to the same standards as the other Western countries – it’s an overtly racist state. They know that is the reason it mistreats Palestinians – its very existence is premised on ethnically cleansing them. They know that the mistreatment of non-Jewish children is part of the essence of the Jewish state.

Working for the UK government, they can’t really say that. So they confine themselves to half-truths and ineffectual pleading:

The prohibition on violent, threatening or coercive conduct towards children should be strictly observed…

they say, as if Israel is going to listen.

Whom do they think they’re kidding?

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