(Salon) – During the first Intifada in Israel-Palestine, one of the most controversial aspects of the Israeli reaction to the uprising in 1987 was Yitzhak Rabin’s reputed policy of ordering soldiers to break the bones of those throwing rocks, as shown in this video. While Rabin denied having soldiers break the bones of demonstrators, he did admit to ordering the extra-judicial application of ”force, might and beatings” upon civilians. Since that time, whether it be an official policy or not, such practices–emphatically illegal under international human rights law–continue unabated. What has recently been brought into the public eye is that such illegal beatings and other acts of violence continue to be aimed not only at adults, but also at Palestinian children, some as young as 11 years old.
Reports from international human rights organizations, from the United Nations, and from the U.S. State Department are presenting a set of mutually confirming data that shines a bright light on the physical and psychological harm the Israeli state has perpetrated upon Palestinian children, in the vast majority of cases in violation of international human rights law, covenants and conventions. For anyone concerned about the welfare of children, especially children who stand defenseless against the actions of a powerful state that the U.S. has pledged its allegiance to and to which we contribute more than $3 billion of our tax dollars to annually, it is well worth considering some of the key findings of these reports.
First, Human Rights Watch has just issued a report on the systemic abuse of Palestinian children by Israeli security forces, finding widespread practices of chokeholds, beatings and coercive interrogations: