Laura Clarke is an International Relations graduate living in London. She enjoys writing, talking and, thankfully, quite likes rain too.
Israel’s Cell 36
Human Rights – Accusations are emerging that the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) has been keeping Palestinian children in solitary confinement. The notorious Cell 36, in the heart of Israel’s Al Jalame prison, has allegedly been playing host to youths accused of a range of offences, most typically of throwing stones. A reprieve from their windowless cells comes only at times of interrogation, when the children are pushed to give-up information on their classmates and connections.
The human rights organisation, Defence for Children International (DCI), has been collecting statements from Palestinian minors detained in Israel and revealing a pattern of mistreatment. Arrests typically occur at night with parents uninformed of where their child is being taken. The right to a lawyer is usually neglected during the initial interrogation.
Investigations into the treatment of Palestinian minors under arrest in Israel have been conducted in the past. In 2011, a report was given to the UK’s House of Lords, in which Alf Dubs described a child hearing in Israel: “we saw a 14-year-old and a 15-year-old, one of them in tears, both looking absolutely bewildered…I do not believe this process of humiliation represents justice.”
Accusations such as those laid out by DCI and other human rights NGOs represent a fundamental obstacle to the ability of Israel and Palestine to pursue peaceful relations. While crimes have undoubtedly been committed on both sides, the detainment of minors in such brutal conditions represents a broader point; it illustrates an attitude of disregard for the dignity owed to all human beings. The entrenched view in both Israel and Palestine is one of “us versus them” and nothing proves this point as effectively as the manner in which the obligation to protect the vulnerable is dismissed.
Read more at the Guardian.