update from Defence of Children International-Palestine
on the status of their lawyer, Daoud Dirawi is not
good. He was due to be released on September 2nd,
2003 but was informed that his administrative detention
would be renewed for another 6 months.
Israel has democratic laws on its statutes, but Dirawi
has no charges against him and did not go before a
court of law. His administrative detention was renewed
via the military. Surrealistically this scene can
be played over and over again indefinitely. He was
first arrested February 21, 2003. Between then and
now he has been abused; his jaw was dislocated and
he was left without medical attention; in pain and
without the ability to eat.
Because of mainstream media's continued limited perspective
concerning Israel and the Occupied Territories, initial
reaction from the public at large may be to wonder
and speculate about a connection to terrorism. Daoud
Dirawi was taken into custody while attempting to
purchase medicine for his two-year-old daughter in
Jerusalem. However, he has, indeed, a direct connection
and a special association with those who are terrorized.
Daoud Dirawi is a coordinator for the Juvenile Justice
Program, funded by UNICEF. As a lawyer for the Defence
of Children International (DCI) his job involved going
from prison to prison, checking on the Palestinian
children kept in Israeli prisons and taking their
statements and testimonies. The children who are held
captive in Israeli prisons come directly from the
constant open terror where they live inside the Occupied
Territories to the confined horrors and terrors of
prison life. Many of them, like their lawyer, are
imprisoned under illegal administrative detentions.
Many have been remanded in collective round-ups. No
charges are filed and they can be held like this indefinitely
and without legal recourse. They are children who
have disappeared from their families, as Daoud has
disappeared from his wife and small daughter.
he was detained, abused and imprisoned, Daoud traveled
on this different kind of Road Map. It was a journey
that led him to places where children are traumatized
on a daily basis. Some of the horror that they face
in abuse is equivalent to what adults in Israeli prisons
are subjected to and suffer: beatings, shabeh (positional
torture), verbal abuse in the form of shouting of
threats and abuse; blindfolding and hands tied; sleep
and toilet deprivations. And of course, combine this
with the standard lack of medical treatment, extremes
in temperature, over-crowding, inadequate nutrition.
the youngest child suffering in this form of captivity
is 13 years old.
Last month there were false hopes for the families
of child prisoners; followed by a sad sense of shallowness
and insincerity prompted by Israel's so-called gesture
of goodwill that released some political prisoners.
It was soon discovered that most of these selected
prisoners were about to be released in another month
or two anyway. There were 13 children out of the 443
being held who were released. Almost all of them were
due to be released. One can be glad for their sooner
than later, while at the same time frustrated, angered
and deeply saddened by all the other children belonging
to families that were optimistic about seeing their
political prisoners being held under administrative
detentions are actually in worse precarious standing
than before the ceasefire. After each individual act
of terrorism, massive and collective punishments that
include children, take place in the Occupied Territories.
Do not presume that these prisons where children are
detained house only Islamic terrorists. There are
those prisoners who are charged and linked to terrorism
and there is the normal criminal element who are being
punished for an assortment of criminal charges, but
also consider that administrative detainment has been
used widely against the very men and women Israel
claims to desire in Palestinian leadership; men and
women of good conscience who choose to exercise their
right of protest in non-violent forms. It seems insanely
ironic for the IDF to deliver non-violent protesters
to prisons when Israel needs to feel safe from violent
protesters before further Peace negotiations. Wouldn't
those be the very men and women of greatest import
to a more peaceful clime in Palestine?
August and the most recent suicide bombings, the IDF
has embarked upon widespread mass retaliations against
groups of civilians at large. Can one imagine how
a Palestinian parent must rationalize the cruelty
and harshness of separation in the form of a child's
detainment in prison relative to the present statistic
on the children being shot and killed on their way
brings up a further important question and issue:
Who do you think is more afraid, the Israeli in the
nightclub? or the Palestinian child on their way to
only difference is, one is vulnerable to a terrorist
who wears a uniform and represents a government, while
another is vulnerable to one who stalks and recruits
those deranged enough to wear a bomb. Opinion of who
has a greater right to existence seems acutely reflected
in media coverage.
1st a small girl named Aya Fayad, age 8 was shot and
killed in the Occupied Territories while riding her
bicycle. Most of the world did not hear or read about
her "routine" shooting. She was but one
child; but one who was precious.
Who are these uniformed carriers of terror and why
did we not hear about them?
to DCI, there has been a steady and continuous rise
in IDF violence against Palestinian children. Today,
while I was writing this, I received a report that
Jenin was once again invaded and 5 children shot.
I have yet to read about this in the news medias.
the Israeli government awaits the rebuilding of the
infrastructure that they rather purposefully destroyed,
in order for Palestine to be "responsible"
for individual acts of terrorism, the Palestinian
children in Israeli prisons receive an education from
the Israeli government. It is not a humanitarian education
and it is not an education that will serve peace.
may wonder, do they stand next to actual terrorists?
Do they sit and have meals with pacifists or non-violent
protesters and do they shower with the regular criminal
element of thieves and offenders? We do not know much
about them and with their lawyer gone it is more difficult
to find out. But one can fairly surmise that the prison
experience for a Palestinian child will not be a positive
reinforcement that will lead them towards being better
and stronger individuals in a civil society.
first writing about Daoud Dirawi's illegal administrative
detainment and the situation about the children in
Israel's prisons, I attended the United Nations International
Conference of Civil Society In Support Of the Palestinian
People. While there was much discussion and meaningful
dialogue with regards to awareness and actions, there
were also audience participants intent upon discussing
such Talmudic topics as zionism vs. anti-zionism.
Another audience member felt the need to defend Israel's
right to nationalism.
one had expressed any interest in zionism nor asserted
any denials concerning Israel's right to nationalism.
The word "anti-Semitism" was predictably
thrown about more than once, but not in context with
how Semites in the Occupied Territories suffer racism,
hatred and abuse; included with Palestinians are also
Bedouins and Arab-Israelis.
is it? whenever anyone ever criticizes the country
of Israel, they are accused of anti-Semitism? If I
criticize Italy, am I anti-Italian? Will the Pope
send his intelligence officers to investigate me because
I pose a threat in criticizing him? If I condemn a
dictator in a South American country, am I hailed
as anti-hispanic even though my mother was born in
Honduras? And if that country is primarily Catholic,
am I anti-Catholic?
If I criticize my government's involvement in funding
Israel' s illegal disregard for International and
Humanitarian Laws, am I now anti-American?
write to you as a sincere and dedicated American who
urges all in America AND around the world to take
a long and critical look into Israel's illegal practices
especially with regards to children and the great
hindrance this creates towards embarking upon a path
towards meaningful and lasting peace in the Middle
issues we need and must address are clear and demand
our immediate attention. That is: International and
Humanitarian Laws are Non-Negotiable
While Israel demands that Palestine take responsibility
for attacks by individual suicide bombers, we must
demand that Israel be responsible for its attacks
upon civilian populations that include international
peace workers and children. We must condemn Israel's
blatant disregard of International and Humanitarian
Laws. Americans, in particular, must demand that representatives
confront these issues and investigate American dollar
support that helps fund terrorism perpetrated against
an entire generation of Palestinian children.
The International and Humanitarian Laws are clear
and well defined. If the Israeli government has nothing
to hide, it should welcome closer scrutiny that will
prove its respect and compliance with International
and Humanitarian Laws. American tax dollars used to
support offensives against children and civilian populations
in the Occupied Territories is counter productive
to peace and morally and ethically wrong. In writing
about all of this and educating a public about these
issues, I am made poignantly aware of other situations
that have involved fascism, apartheid and ethnic cleansings.
I would remind my readers who either deny or who suggest
an exaggeration of truth: that it is YOUR moral obligation
to discover the truth and to discover why it is so
often misrepresented by the mainstream medias.
One person who asks can inspire another and another
and another and until adequate answers are provided,
we must all keep asking.
For further information about the
Please refer to the DCI web site at www.dci-pal.org
or call +972 (0)2 240 7530 and ask for: George Abu
al-Zuluf, Director, or Annelien Groten, International
Advocacy Officer, or mail firstname.lastname@example.org
For further statistics and definitions of administrative
detentions and political prisoners in general see:
"No child shall be subjected to torture or
other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment
without possibility of release shall be imposed
for offences committed by persons below eighteen
years of age" (Article 37, UN Convention on
the Rights of the Child)
Mary La Rosa is an artist and librarian living
close to New York City.
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