Jerusalem: Israeli police were accused of
"flagrant violations" of the law on Thursday over their harsh and at
times violent treatment of Palestinian children suspected of
stone-throwing in east Jerusalem.
The allegations were detailed in a letter sent to
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by a group of 60 Israeli
professionals, among them experts in medicine, psychology,
education, social work and law -- all of whom work with
The letter expresses concern about the growing number
of testimonies submitted by Palestinian minors who have been
arrested by police in occupied and annexed east Jerusalem,
notably in the flashpoint neighbourhood of Silwan.
"We are writing ... to express our deep concerns about
the physical and emotional welfare and proper development of
children and young people in east Jerusalem in the light of
police behaviour during the investigation and arrest of minors
in this area," it said.
"Over the last few months, there has been a growing
number of testimonies of minors and their families which point
to flagrant violations of the rights of detained minors, and
of the use of violence during the investigation of children
and young people who are suspected of throwing stones in
Youngsters have testified how they were dragged out of
bed in the dead of the night, cuffed and taken for
investigation without being accompanied by their parents --
and sometimes without their family even being informed, it
During the investigation, "they suffered threats and
humiliation at the hand of the investigators... which
sometimes involved substantial physical violence," it said,
noting with concern that even children under the age of 12
were being detained.
The crumbling neighbourhood of Silwan, which lies just
south of Jerusalem`s Old City, is the focal point of regular
clashes between locals and hardline Jewish settlers, with
police frequently arresting youngsters on charges of
The Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of
their promised state and oppose any attempts to extend
Israel`s control over the part of the city that was captured
in the 1967 Six-Day War.
Israel considers all of Jerusalem to be its "eternal
and indivisible" capital, a status not recognised by the