Thursday, July 10, 2014

Beating of U.S. Teen Underscores Zionists' Crimes Against the Youth

TML Daily -- July 10, 2014

Fifteen-year-old U.S.-born Palestinian-American Tariq Abu Khdeir was brutally beaten by masked Israeli police on the evening of July 3 in the Shuafat neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem. His 16-year-old cousin Mohammed Abu Khdeir was lynched by Zionist extremists the day before in that area. Israeli authorities claim Tariq was arrested for participating in a demonstration against the killing of Mohammed. Video of the attack shows Tariq being brutally beaten into unconsciousness.

On July 6, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki reported that on July 5, two days after the brutal attack, a consular officer visited Tariq. She stated that "the State Department is profoundly troubled by reports that he was severely beaten while in police custody and strongly condemn any excessive use of force. [TML emphasis]. We are calling for a speedy, transparent and credible investigation and full accountability for any excessive use of force."The video and photos of Tariq after the beating make clear there is no doubt that he was beaten by Israeli police. Furthermore, nothing was said about the fact that he remained in custody (now house arrest) nor that he has at no point been charged with any crime. It is only a matter of the use of "excessive force," while the fact that he is in detention at all is not questioned. The family has requested that the youth be returned to the U.S. to receive medical treatment for his injuries. The State Department's response underscores the U.S. government's support for Zionist crimes, as surely had this been any other government in the region as well as an American of some nationality other than Palestinian, a massive hue and cry would have been raised by the U.S.

The killing of Mohammed Abu Khdeir and the brutal beating of Tariq Abu Khdeir underscores the Zionists' crimes against Palestinian youth in particular. Prisoner rights organization Addameer reports that Tariq is one of eleven Palestinians who were beaten and arrested in Shuafat on July 3, many of whom were minors. "The continued state-sanctioned violence against children is unlawful and unacceptable," Addameer stated in an appeal for protests against Tariq's treatment.

"Addameer urges immediate action and calls on the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United States consulate and all regional embassies and consulates, human rights organizations and journalists to attend Tariq Abu Khdeir's hearing on Sunday 6 July to investigate the intensified aggression against Palestinian children," the group added.

Furthermore, a report issued June 30 by the NGO Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights, documents that Palestinian children are at much greater, ongoing risk from Israeli forces. According to the report, Israel seized an estimated 2,500 Palestinian children and youth between January 2010 and June 2014. Of these approximately 400 were just 12-15 years old.

"The Israeli police or military typically break into homes in the middle of the night or take youth right off the streets without telling them what they are charged with or informing their parents, as required by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights," says Ihsan Adel, a legal officer at Euro-Mid. "How is that different from the reported kidnapping of the Israeli students? And yet it is occurring every day, every year. Where is the international outrage?"

The report documents continuing abductions of Palestinian youth and children, as well as numerous human rights violations such as torture and coerced confessions during detention, in violation of international laws. The Euro-Mid findings echo earlier conclusions by other international bodies. In a February 2013 report, UNICEF concluded that "ill-treatment of children who come into contact with the Israeli military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process."

Euro-Mid is calling for equal coverage of the plight of Palestinian children by the international media, and for the signatory states of the Geneva Conventions and other international stakeholders to bring all pressure at their disposal (including denial of financial pacts and assistance) on Israel to immediately halt violations of their human rights.

"The disappearance or ill treatment of any child is tragic and should outrage all humans with consciences," says Sandra Owen, a policy officer at the Euro-Mid. "Are not the lives and liberties of Palestinian children worth as much?"

(News Agencies, Euro-Mid)