Israel said the UN only recycled ‘old stuff.’
A United Nations, UN, report condemned the mistreatment of Palestinian children by Israeli forces after a human rights review that found children were often tortured and used as human shields.
The report, which the Committee on the Rights of the Children, produced as part of a periodic review of the situation in Israel, found that Palestinian children were subjected to not only discrimination but also violence that amounted to human rights abuse.
“The committee expresses its deepest concern about the reported practice of torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian children arrested, prosecuted and detained by the military and the police,’’ the report said.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry questioned whether the UN committee’s investigation covered new grounds.
Spokesman Tigal Palmor told the International Business Times news website the report recycled “old stuff” as a way of attacking Israel.
According to the report, the children detained often experience “physical and verbal violence, humiliation, painful restraints … (were) threatened with death, physical violence, and sexual assault against themselves or members of their family.”
The UN report calls for a review and reform of the Israeli juvenile justice system, which it said allowed Palestinian children to be sentenced to 20 years in prison for throwing stones.
Children living in what the UN defined as Occupied Palestinian Territory also experience attacks from Israeli settlers, who enjoy full impunity from Israeli police, the report noted.
The UN also found that children have been used as human shields and informants and documented 14 such cases between January 2010 and March 2013 alone.
“Israeli soldiers have used Palestinian children to enter potentially dangerous buildings ahead of them and to stand in front of military vehicles in order to stop the throwing of stones against those vehicles,” the report said.
The UN expressed grave concern over the general well-being of Palestinian children, noting that they suffer from increasing levels of malnutrition and receive worse health care services than their Jewish counterparts.
Arab adolescents in the region also have high rates of suicide, yet there aren’t enough resources to provide counselling, especially in a way that honours a child’s right to choose their religious and cultural identity.
The report reiterated the UN’s view that Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territory is illegal and the expansion of settlements should be stopped immediately.