Ramallah, June 29, 2015—Defense for Children International Palestine filed complaints on behalf of two children to the Israeli Military Police Criminal Investigations Division last week.
Both Abdel-Rahman S., 15, and Anwar M., 17, endured excessive violence at the hands of Israeli soldiers during their arrests last month. DCIP demands Israel initiate prompt, transparent and impartial investigations of each incident.
On May 24 at 10 a.m. in Tulkarem, four soldiers severely beat Abdel-Rahman after they bound him, according to a sworn testimony from Abdel-Rahman to DCIP. Abdel-Rahman was leaving school when Israeli soldiers spotted him. A soldier got out of the jeep, twisted Abdel-Rahman's arms behind his back and tied his hands tightly with a single plastic cord. He then hit Abdel-Rahman with the stock of his rifle knocking him to the ground. The blow opened an old wound in his stomach. The three other soldiers joined, and they punched and kicked Abdel-Rahman for 10 minutes. His head and right arm were injured.
As the soldiers drove him to the interrogation center, they slapped and kicked him. They shouted insults and abuse. At the center, they kept him out in the sun, blindfolded, without food, water or the use of the bathroom for six hours. He did not receive medical attention until two days later, after his interrogation, when he arrived at the children's section of Megiddo prison.
On May 15 at 6 a.m. in Nablus, a group of Israeli soldiers beat Anwar while he was walking to work, according to Anwar's sworn testimony to DCIP. Anwar was heading to work at the local vegetable market when he saw a clash between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian protesters. He changed directions to avoid the conflict; however, protesters fleeing the scene quickly surrounded him. He began to run with them, but stumbled and fell.
The Israeli soldiers who were pursuing the crowd caught up with Anwar. They kicked him and struck him with the stocks of their rifles. A soldier stomped on his leg until it bled. Eventually, the soldiers bound his hands tightly, blindfolded him, and led him to a military jeep. The soldier took Anwar to the police station. He waited over 10 hours before his interrogation. He did not receive medical attention or food until the next morning when he arrived at the prison.
The experience of these two boys is not exceptional. Children suffered physical violence in 76 percent of arrests in the West Bank, as documented by DCIP in 2014.
“The entire process is set up to prevent an impartial investigation as the military police investigate the soldiers,” said Iyad Misk, attorney at DCIP. “This is the only recourse for the Palestinians. Most families have become discouraged by the culture of impunity that they decide not to waste their time submitting complaints.”
DCIP filed nine complaints last year. One investigation was closed without charge, and eight remain pending. According to Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights group, only 7.4 percent of complaints submitted to the Military Police Criminal Investigations Division lead to an indictment.