Monday, March 16, 2009

Israeli justice: arrest young boys for toy guns and unfounded allegations of “stone throwing”

Kristen Ess for Palestine News Network
The author expresses her thanks to IWPS for copious information provided for this article

The report comes three days after the arrests of several children, but is of no less import as invasions are on the rise in Hares as IWPS told PNN Sunday.

The unfortunate events of this particular night illustrate a very precise example of what is meant when PNN reports news flashes such as: “Israeli forces arrest four Palestinians during pre-dawn invasions of the West Bank.”

It was Thursday/Friday night (12-13 March) in the northern West Bank’s Hares. Israeli forces hit the area near the village old mosque. Residents report the time of the invasion as being between 1:30 and 3:00 am. Incursions are becoming alarmingly more frequent in the town according to the international women’s house that keeps a 24 hour presence in the town.

Israeli soldiers broke into a sleeping home, assaulted a family, and arrested a child who suffers from kidney malfunction, as IWPS tells PNN.

According to the family’s report, “the army came to their house at around 2:10 am, threw sound bombs at the veranda behind the kitchen, and then forced their way into the house, breaking down the door.”

The elder brother of the 17 year old who was arrested from that family was also assaulted: thrown on the floor. It was the middle of the night and the family, naturally, had been sleeping. Israeli soldiers also beat the mother.

The family of 14, including a three month old baby and pregnant woman, were then forced at gunpoint into the street. Israeli soldiers made them sit on the road in the cold, dead of night, while continuing to lob concussion grenades.

Soldiers threw a sound bomb at the pregnant women who doctors confirm luckily suffered only bruising.

The soldiers were “searching for something” amidst the belongings of this family living in their own home in the northern West Bank village of Hares.

Israeli forces took identification from all of the brothers in the family and also stole away with what the family referred to as an “important document.”

These soldiers claimed that the 17 year old boy had a weapon, but after tearing apart the house and its surroundings they found nothing more threatening than a toy gun.

The soldiers then changed their tactic and claimed that the boy had “thrown stones.”

However, on the dates that the Israelis claim the boy was out throwing stones he was in fact at work in Ramallah and Biddya, facts that are confirmed.
This is the third time this year that Israeli forces have attacked this particular family’s home: the first time was in January, the second again in February. The boy, who is 17 years old and in Israeli interrogation, had never before been arrested by the military.

IWPS volunteers told PNN that they visited the house and witnessed the contents as being “turned upside down.”

The following day, Friday, IWPS interviewed other families from which boys were arrested that night.

“A 13 year old was taken but released two hours later after being driven around during that time by the army,” said an international volunteer. He was dumped from a military jeep miles from home but managed, at 13 years old, to hitchhike back to his family. He arrived at 10:00 am that morning, several hours after his nighttime arrest.

A 15 year old boy was also arrested and taken to the Israeli military prison of Huwara, built on the lands of Nablus, also in the northern West Bank.

On the same night, still Thursday, a 14 year old boy was arrested for the second time in his short life. The international volunteers at the IWPS house told PPN, “He was the first of the four boys to get arrested and was driven in a jeep around the village while the army was arresting the rest of the boys. He was taken that night to Ofar Prison [built on Ramallah lands].”

He had been released from the Israeli prison, infamous for torture, just a month ago after his family came up with 2,000 NIS (400 euros) to garner his release after two months under interrogation.

Palestinian children are among the political prisoner population of 11,000 currently held by the Israelis.