Palestinian boys narrate how Israeli occupation forces broke into their homes, terrified them and their families and detained them while they were sleeping in beds and led them blindfolded and chainlegged to prisons.
N H, 15 from the village of Nahhalin, said: “I was arrested at home at 3:00 am. I was asleep. I heard loud knocking on the front door. I woke up and went out of my room to see what was going on. I saw a lot of soldiers in the house. One of them was talking to my father.
“They said I was causing trouble and that they wanted to arrest me. They didn’t say where they were taking me. I didn’t get any summons to come to interrogation before that. If they had summoned me, I would have gone.
“I have two sisters and two brothers. Two of them are young – one and three years old. The little ones started crying. They were scared. The soldiers put the whole family in one room. They shut them in. I heard the little ones crying.”
The boy described how soldiers abused him after he was blindfolded. “At first, two of them held me from behind. At some point, they left me to walk alone. They tripped me up and I couldn’t see. I kept falling down and getting up… I found myself bumping into a pole. The left side of my forehead was injured… They laughed the whole way as if they were making a game out of it, having fun knocking me over and tripping me up.”
A S 16 from al-Jalazun Refugee Camp said: “The whole way, the soldiers who were walking with me kept hitting me with their hands, feet and rifle butts, especially in my back. They hit me in the arms and legs, too. I didn’t know where all the punches were coming from. The blows to my back were extremely painful.
“They kept up the beating until we got to Beit El. There was an inspection at the entrance to Beit El. The doctor saw the marks from the beating and asked how I got them. I said it was from the soldiers. The soldier who was there started shouting and saying it wasn’t true. I argued with him.
“The doctor tried to attack me. I was scared. I said, ‘okay, it’s not you guys’. I was really afraid of him. The doctor just watched and didn’t protect me.”
This week, HaMoked filed a petition to Israel’s High Court of Justice against the widespread practice of night arrests of Palestinian minors in the West Bank, which violates international law.
The petition demands that a summons via their parents be the first recourse to bring minors to interrogation and that the military apply the same protections afforded by the Israeli Youth Law, based on the principle of the child’s best interest.
Jessica Montell, HaMoked’s Executive Director, said: “We expect the High Court to put an end to the use of night arrests as the military’s primary, and even exclusive method of bringing Palestinian teenagers to interrogation.
“The military must exhaust all alternatives before it gets to the point of invading homes in the middle of the night, traumatising entire families and dragging teenage boys from their beds.”
Palestine Post 24