Most of the arrests carried out by Israeli soldiers are done during raid campaigns carried out by the forces. During these raids, the detainee and his family are exposed to harassment from the first moment that the occupation forces raid the house.
During these raids, the forces conduct partial and sometimes full body search on the children, which is a violation of the children’s rights and privacy, and they are exposed to harassment and physical assaults.
This type of assault usually starts at the moment when the forces raid the children’s houses and conduct a strip inspection of family members in front of the children. Additionally the forces sometimes pressure on the detainee through threats that they will harm their mother or sisters.
In information reported by detained children, some of the detainees reported that they were subjected to harassment attempts and were often forced to undress during the arrest; the Israeli soldiers also forced the children to take off their clothes while conducting raids from one house to another.
Exposure of children to such events only adds to the psychological toll of being arrested several times, and many of the children display symptoms related to sexual assault. Some of the most prominent indicators of mental and emotional symptoms resulting from such assaults are:
· Disruption of self-image and lack of self-confidence: The loss of self-esteem and faith in one’s self often result from such attacks.
· Feelings of guilt: As result of the child’s inability to stop the attack, the child often starts blaming himself and feels as if he was part of the attack.
· Feelings of weakness and helplessness: The child often loses the sense of being able to protect himself from attacks, as well as losing control of his body and fear of recurrence of such practices.
· Various sleeping problems (sleeping disorder): These include nightmares, interrupted sleeping, refusal to sleep alone, losing confidence in others, feelings of sadness, fear, frustration and other symptoms of depression.
The conditions experienced by the detainee child may cause him to move from a familiar stage to stage that he is not prepared for, destabilizing the balance of the child. It also creates psychological harm, and the loss of coping mechanisms, the inability to deal with problems, and feelings of fear and nervousness that affects the child’s reactions and his ability to think logically.
Salah Bakri – the actor from the photo:
In my country, I have seen children who walk, move and speak as if they are adults
However they are also unlike most adults: there is something confrontational
In their presence and in their tone
As if they are constantly being challenged.
I am amazed by these children’s innate intelligence,
I am astonished by their capacity for refusal and stubbornness.
He who conducts searches on them is afraid:
Looking for the secret of courage in their small pockets.
He who arrests them is afraid:
Encountering their freedom, a freedom which he and his spoiled children
in the Ma’aleh Adumim Settlement have lost.
The occupation forces shut down a children’s theatre festival in the El Hakawati Theatre where we took this picture.
According to the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1996, with respect to the powers of inspection, physical inspections must be conducted only in the particular cases in which there exists a legal basis for the suspicion of offense or crime, and in which there is exists a convincing connection between such an inspection and the criminal investigation itself. In addition, the law specifies a number of general principles for the implementation of such an inspection, including the approval of the suspect and mandatory efforts to preserve the dignity, privacy and health of the suspect during the inspection process.
Regarding the inspection of minors, the law requires, in addition to the aforementioned, written consent from the minor’s parent prior to the inspection process, and the presence of the minor’s parent during the inspection process itself, except for in extreme cases.
It is worth mentioning that two years ago, a proposal was made by the Ministry of Justice to enact a law that would “regulate” all the dilemmas raised by physical inspection, including acceptable types of inspections, conditions during inspections and all additional matters relating to the inspection of minors.However, the Ministry of Justice has not formally ratified the proposal, meaning that none of its recommendations have been adopted to date.
According to the principles above, full body inspection must be conducted only in very exceptional cases, and with extreme care to comply with the standards prescribed by the law. Investigators must prove the presence of compelling reasons for the implementation of full body inspection on minors, and must not adopt it as a routine part of investigation or arrest. In the case in which such inspections are carried out in the absence of a convincing legal justification, investigators can be convicted of child abuse.
On the ground, we see that body inspections are conducted in almost all arrests of minors, even in cases of children under the age of 12, who are too young to be indicted. In doing this, the investigators both disregard and break the law.
Most of the time, full body inspection is used as a means of pressure,aimed to intimidate the the arrested/detained child on one hand , and to humiliate him and his family on the other hand. Such practices have serious psychological effects on the child. It is absolutely necessary to stop these violations, and to follow up with each violation on all the available levels in order to prevent their recurrence.