Adnan Amir, a fifth-grader, was assaulted by an Israeli soldier while returning home from school. (Photo: Amir family)
Ramallah, November 12, 2016—An Israeli settler pepper-sprayed and physically assaulted 10-year-old Adnan Amir while he was taking a short-cut home from school in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on October 30.
Adnan told Defense for Children International - Palestine that the Israeli settler approached him on a motorcycle and knocked him to the ground before he could escape. The man doused his eyes with pepper spray and hit his leg with a large rock, before dragging Adnan to his house. Instead of intervening on his behalf, Israeli police detained Adnan, interrogating him without the presence of a parent or lawyer.
"Palestinian children living in close proximity to Israeli settlers are more vulnerable to violence," said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program director at DCIP. “When a settler physically assaults and detains a child, and the Israeli forces’ response is to investigate the child, instead of his assailant, the targeting of Palestinian children with impunity could not be more clear.”
Israeli police officers arrived at the settler’s house, where Adnan was being held against his will, and handcuffed him without offering him first aid care.
“They were carrying black guns. One of them handcuffed me behind my back. I asked him to wipe off the gas on my face, but he refused. I was hurting badly and felt my face was on fire. I was screaming,” Adnan told DCIP.
Although his mother had arrived on the scene, police prevented her from approaching Adnan. They transported him to Jabal Abu Ghnaim police station and interrogated him alone, without informing him of his rights. He signed a statement in Hebrew, a language he does not speak.
It was only after his release, approximately four hours after the assault, that Adnan was able to receive first aid treatment for eye swelling and bruises on his arm and leg. Israeli police also summoned Adnan for further questioning the next day.
Including Adnan's case, DCIP has documented six cases of settler violence against Palestinian children in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, between January and October 2016.
Israeli settlers are increasingly moving into Palestinian areas of Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, heightening the risks of physical violence, arrest, and displacement for children. Israeli forces offer protection to these settlers, turning a blind eye to abuses against Palestinian children and their families.
In September of 2016, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that Israeli forces forcibly removed two children and their families from their East Jerusalem residence, which they had rented since the 1930’s, displacing them. Israeli authorities transfered property rights to the residence to Ateret Cohanim, an Israeli settler organization that reportedly purchased the property in the 1980’s. Israeli settlers have occupied eight out of nine apartment in the same complex since July 2010, displacing seven households.
“In recent decades, Israeli settler organizations have intensified their efforts to take control of properties within Palestinian neighborhoods in the so-called ‘Holy Basin’ area of East Jerusalem, ” an OCHA humanitarian bulletin from June 2016 stated. “This practice, which has taken place with the support of the Israeli authorities, has led to restrictions on public space, residential growth and freedom of movement in the areas affected. “