The only plus for children in the West Bank…

DCIP research shows that children arrive at Israeli interrogation centers blindfolded, bound and sleep deprived. More than three-quarters of child detainees endure some form of physical violence between the period of their arrest and interrogation, with half of them also strip searched.

Almost all children confess regardless of guilt to stop further abuse. In more than a quarter of the 2014 cases, children signed statements in Hebrew, a language they do not understand.

“The Israeli military detention system subjects Palestinian children to several days of prolonged interrogation and isolation with the apparent goal of obtaining a confession at all costs,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program director at DCIP. “The military courts admit these coerced confessions as evidence to convict these children in a complete mockery of due process and fair trial standards.”

Israel is the only state to automatically and systematically prosecute children in military courts that lack basic standards of due process. Around 500 to 700 Palestinian children, some as young as 12, are arrested, detained and prosecuted in the Israeli military detention system each year. The majority of Palestinian child detainees are charged with throwing stones. No Israeli children come into contact with the military court system.

– Defence for Children International – Palestine (10 February, 2015)


… is that they’re not in Gaza:

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[T]he compounded effects of the continuing blockade and the closure of smuggling tunnels with Egypt, the Gaza economy was already collapsing before the conflict. The unemployment rate surged to 44.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2014, up from 27.9 per cent in the same quarter of 2013, and the refugee unemployment rate reached 45.5 per cent, the highest level ever reported in UNRWA’s PCBS-based records. More than half of the unemployed are between 15 and 24 years old. It should also be noted that PCBS unemployment statistics do not capture under-employment in Gaza. For example, a person working one hour per week is considered employed in the PCBS data.

– UNRWA (5 February 2015)

There was an informative article published recently in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health by Manduca, Naim, and Signoriello. It reported a study on the association between metals delivered by IDF weaponry during Cast Lead and birth defects in Gazan newborns born 20-25 months after the attack. The investigators compared the metal content of the hair of 48 newborns with birth defects to the hair of 12 newborns without birth defects, and found significantly higher levels of selenium, mercury, and tin in most of the babies with birth defects compared to the normal controls. That’s not surprising, but what was unexpected is that newborns with birth defects whose parents were directly exposed to attacks during Cast Lead (meaning they were in a building that was attacked, next to a building that was attacked, or they searched through rubble immediately after an attack) did not have significantly different levels of mercury, selenium or tin than newborns with birth defects whose parents were not directly exposed. Furthermore, newborns with birth defects whose parents were not directly exposed to attacks had significantly higher levels of mercury, selenium, and tin than normal newborns.

What all of that means is that toxic and teratogenic metals delivered by IDF weaponry contaminated large parts of Gaza: even mothers who weren’t directly exposed to Israeli bombings during Cast Lead gave birth to newborns with birth defects and with the same elevated levels of selenium, mercury, and tin as mothers who were directly exposed. There is the very real possibility that Cast Lead (and no doubt the following attacks) contaminated large parts of Gaza with teratogenic and toxic metals, and that Gazan children will be born with birth defects at higher rates well into the future. (Source)

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