21st April 2013 | International Solidarity Movement, Urif, Occupied Palestine
By Team Nablus
An innocent 16-year-old boy was abused and arrested on Tuesday April 16th in Urif, despite his grandfather and uncle rushing to show documents that he is seeking medical attention for a possible cancer diagnosis. He was wrongfully accused of stone-throwing as he was leaving his uncle’s home.
Twelve soldiers had arrived in the village at around noon and were forcefully entering houses and shooting rubber-coated steel bullets down two main streets in Urif. They entered five different houses and in the fifth house, randomly attempted to take a boy in his last year of high school. His family protested and the soldiers moved on.
Stones were thrown in protest at the Israeli jeep invading the village, and the 16-year-old boy, who had been visiting his uncle and whose illness causes him to walk slowly, was taken in retribution for the stone-throwers. The boy’s hands and legs were bound, he was blindfolded and soldiers ignored his uncle and grandfather hurriedly showing medical documents about his diagnosis.
Stone-throwing resumed in protest as the jeep drove away with the ill 16-year-old. The boy reported that for every stone thrown at the jeep, he was kicked by the Israeli soldiers who were yelling at him in Hebrew. He was then taken to the Huwwara military compound, where again his uncle and grandfather followed with medical documents, trying to inform the Israeli military that there were serious concerns for the boy’s health.The boy nonetheless spent the night in the compound and the next day was driven four hours to Salem prison, north of Jenin in the West Bank. He stated that he was put in a room full of arrested children, all between the ages of 12 and 17. He was released at around 6 pm and returned to his family in Urif.
Urif is a village in the Nablus governorate that regularly faces attacks from the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Yitzhar, widely considered to be one of the most radical. While solidarity activists were visiting after the arrest, settlers could be seen at the top of the mountain and were said to be disturbing a local school. In addition, a tree planting event held on Saturday, April 13 was met by six Israeli jeeps and farmers were harassed during the action.
Furthermore, in the past ten years, 7000 Palestinian minors between the ages of 12-17 have been arrested by Israeli military forces according to a February 2013 UNICEF report. The same report says that Israeli detention of children regularly violates the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child and the UN Convention Against Torture. Among these violations are that children are almost never informed of their rights, are held in isolation for days, and banned from seeing their families as required under the Geneva Conventions. Another report from April 2012 by Defense for Children International states that 75% of 12-17-year-old Palestinian detainees by Israel suffered from mistreatment during arrest, interrogation and detention, based on 311 testimonials between 2008 and 2012.