Israel slammed a United Nations report from Geneva that claimed the IDF tortures
Palestinian children, arbitrarily arrests them and has at times used them as
“This report was not written in good faith,” said Foreign
Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor on Thursday.
“It is not a report that
aims to promote any real improvement, but only to grab headlines,” Palmor
The 21-page report by the Committee on the Rights of the Child
(CRC) made public on Thursday, looked at children’s rights on both sides of the
But it included a general condemnation of Israeli
actions, including land confiscation, settlement building and the security
The section of the report which dealt with the treatment of
Palestinian minors in Israeli jails, was harsher than a report on the same
subject, issued in March by UNICEF.
Unlike the UNICEF report, the CRC
report did not take into account Israeli actions to improve the
“If someone simply wants to magnify their political bias and
political bashing of Israel not based on a new report, on work on the ground,
but simply recycling old stuff, there is no importance in that,” Palmor
Kirsten Sandberg, a Norwegian who chairs the UN Committee on the
Rights of the Child, said the report was based on facts, not on the political
opinions of its members.
“We look at what violations of children’s rights
are going on within Israeli jurisdiction,” she told Reuters.
Israel did not acknowledge that it had jurisdiction in the territories, but the
committee believed it does, meaning it has a responsibility to comply with the
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The report Israel submitted to
the CRC did not deal with the Palestinians or issues related to the West Bank
The CRC periodically reviews Israel, along with the other 192
UN member states, so that it can monitor its compliance with the Convention on
the Rights of the Child.
It last reviewed Israel in 2002. This latest
report was conducted by an 18-member CRC made up of representatives from Ghana,
Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Ecuador, Monaco, Hungry, Russia, Tunisia, Egypt,
Ethiopia, Brazil, Italy, Norway, Sri Lanka and Austria.
In the report the
CRC took issues with Israeli arrest and treatment of Palestinian
It explained that the IDF had arrested, interrogated and detained
an estimated 7,000 Palestinian children aged 12 to 17 years, but sometimes as
young as nine, over the reporting period.
This means that an average of
two children per day were arrested, the CRC said. It added that the number of
Palestinian minors who were arrested increased by 73 percent since September
Many of the Palestinian minors were arrested on an arbitrary basis,
the CRC said.
There are currently 236 Palestinian minors detained for
alleged security reasons, the CRC said. It added that the minors could be held
for four days before being brought to a judge, and they were rarely informed of
their rights to have their parents or an attorney present.
minors are often arrested in the middle of the night, blindfolded and their
hands are tied behind their backs, the CRC said.
arrested by the state party military and police are systematically subjected to
degrading treatment and often to acts of torture, are interrogated in Hebrew a
language they do not understand and sign confessions in Hebrew in order to be
released,” the CRC said.
“Children are brought in leg chains and
shackles, wearing prison uniforms before military courts where confessions
obtained from them under duress re used for main evidence,” the CRC
The CRC called on Israel to remove all Palestinian minors from
solitary confinement. It also called for an independent investigation into
alleged cases of torture and ill treatment of Palestinian minors.
addition, it said, it was deeply concerned about reports that Israel had used
Palestinian children as human shields and informants. The CRC said that 14 such
cases had been reported from January 2010 to March 2013.
those using children as human shield and informants have remained unpunished and
the soldiers convicted of having forced at gunpoint a nine-year-old child to
search bags suspected of containing explosives only received a suspended
sentence of thee months and were demoted,” the CRC said.
On a separate
note, it said that it was worried about the increased number of Palestinian
children in the West Bank harmed from settler attacks.
With respect to
Gaza, the CRC charged that Israel disregarded the principles of proportionality
and distinction in its military attacks against the strip. It added that it was
concerned by the number of Palestinian children killed in Israel’s Gaza military
actions in the last decade.
UN Watch’s Executive Director Hillel Neuer
said the committee was composed of countries with problematic human rights
“About half the members of the UN Committee on the Rights of the
Child come from non-democracies, many of whom take unfriendly or hostile
positions against Israel at the UN, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Tunisia,
Egypt, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Russia,” Neuer said.
“What the UN forgot
to mention today is that the vice-chair of the committee accusing Israel of
violating children’s rights works for the Saudi government and has a despicable
record of apologetics for her country’s misogyny,” he added.
contributed to this report.