Donald Macintyre: Nothing resonates like the mistreatment of minors

Share
Related Topics

The charge that Israel violates international law in its treatment of Palestinian prisoners in general and child prisoners in particular is hardly new.

What makes this critique so devastating, beside the fact that its authors include lawyers as eminent as Sir Stephen Sedley, and that the study was funded and facilitated by a government essentially friendly to Israel, is the lucidity with which the violations are pinpointed.

At the heart of it is the conclusion that the military rulers in the occupied West Bank are as bound by the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child as their civilian counterparts in Israel itself. And that the Convention would still be serially breached even if Israel was right to claim that the detentions were properly conducted – in the face of a harrowing body of testimony about night-time arrests and interrogations, coercion, physical and verbal intimidation, solitary confinement and other abuses.

For all its measured language, it exposes a gulf between the admirable standards applied to Israeli child detainees on the one hand, and Palestinian ones on the other. This includes the routine detention of Palestinian minors, their relative lack of access to lawyers and their families, the use of shackles and the neglect of the Convention's requirement to act in the child's "best interests".

It argues that whether or not the children are guilty – usually of throwing stones – their right to equitable treatment cannot be made conditional on the security environment, pointing out that "a major cause of future unrest may well be the resentment of continuing injustice".

And it ringingly reaffirms that the transfer of prisoners from occupied territory to prisons in Israel violates the Fourth Geneva Convention. The international community has not been vocal about this in the past, perhaps because of its own record of transnational prisoner transfers. It will harder for it to ignore it now.

Which brings us to the future. The report will not magically inject a new humanity into the treatment of Palestinian child detainees, even if, as it says, its recommendations are highly capable of implementation by the Israeli military.

The report has no enforceability. But its political impact may be greater. Many aspects of the occupation contravene international law. But none resonate, as Israel well knows, like the treatment of children.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron faces the press as he arrives in Brussels for the EU leaders summit on Thursday reuters  

On the Tusk of a dilemma: Cameron's latest EU renegotiation foe

Andrew Grice
John Profumo and his wife Valerie Robson in 1959  

Stephen Ward’s trial was disgraceful. There can be no justification for it

Geoffrey Robertson QC
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas