21 February 2009
Palestinian researcher, specializing in detainees' affairs, Awni Farawna, stated that the Zionist gangs have kidnapped a total of 7600 Palestinian children, males and females, since the year 2000; 246 children are still behind bars, International Middle East Media Center reported.
At least 200 of the kidnapped children were detained under administrative detention, without charges or trial. Some of the children were as young as 12 years old.
One detainee is now 13 months old as he was born behind bars. His mother, Fatima Al Zoq, was kidnapped while pregnant, and gave birth in prison while she was handcuffed and her legs were tied to the hospital bed.
Farawna stated that Israel's targeting of children is a policy that targets childhood and a healthy growth, and expressed concern over the fate of the detained children as they are subjected to different sorts of violations, including torture and isolation, which affects their growth, physical and psychological conditions, in addition to affecting their education.
Hundreds of children were cut off schools due to being imprisoned; hundreds of detainees were kidnapped when they were children and grew up behind bars. Many of them have spent more years behind bars than with their families.
Several detained children were sexually abused and violated by interrogators and soldiers, while a number of Israeli prisoners, held for criminal violations, also attacked them.
Farawna stated that international law and treaties regarding children forbid barring children from their freedom, forbid torturing and violating them.
Many children were arrested more than one time before they reached the age of 18; others were kidnapped as children, and grew up to be young men and women while they were in prison.
Several children who grew up in prison and were released later on are having difficulties in coping with the outside world; some became violent and tend to seek vengeance.
Farawna demanded international human rights groups to intervene and put pressure on Israel in order to oblige Israel to comply with international law and the fourth Geneva Convention.