by Rosie Alfatlawi
An Israeli teen who attacked a rabbi with a knife has been let off with just 150 hours of community service.
The disparity between this case and the treatment of young Palestinians accused of stabbing attacks has been highlighted as an example of Israeli “injustice and hypocrisy” on social media.
Injustice and hypocrisy. Would expect nothing less from war urinals and child abusers. pic.twitter.com/6tFIUUvfsm— leith aitchison (@aitchisonleith) December 18, 2017
“If he was Palestinian, he would have been killed, and his family home torn down. Apartheid state.” tweeted musician Gareth Icke.
Since a wave of attempted stabbings of Israeli soldiers began in 2015, hundreds of Palestinians have been shot dead by security forces.
Among those are dozens of “apparently unlawful killings,” according to Amnesty International, amounting in some cases to “extrajudicial executions.”
Those alleged assailants who survive are subjected to harsh treatment by the Israeli judicial system, regardless of age.
In November 2016, for instance, 14-year-old Ahmed Manasra was convicted to 12 years in prison for his role in the wounding of two Israeli soldiers. His 15-year-old cousin, who carried out the attack, was shot dead by an Israeli passerby.
Meanwhile, the Israeli settler who was filmed attacking peace activist Arik Ascherman at knifepoint in October 2015, was given just a slap on the wrist in a verdict Sunday.
Ascherman had been accompanying Palestinian villagers to their fields near Nablus.
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The judge took into account the fact he was aged 17 at the time of the attack, and therefore legally a minor. No such concern is shown for Palestinian children.
For one, his name was not released “in keeping with laws protecting minors,” according to the Times of Israel.
@Inclinepress pointed out the contrast when a 10-year-old Palestinian, who had been summoned for interrogation, was named in the media soon after this verdict.
Didn't I just read that the 17-year old Israeli settler who stabbed the rabbi could not be named due to laws protecting minors? https://t.co/ltUynfkg89— Graham Moss (@Inclinepress) December 18, 2017
Equally, the Times of Israel report indicated that “in her ruling, Justice Sharon Halevi said she took into account the fact that the defendant was 17-years-old at the time of the attack.”
While Israelis aged 18 or younger are defined as minors, Palestinians aged 16 and older were tried and sentenced in Israeli military courts as adults until six years ago.
According to prisoner rights NGO Addameer, a 2011 amendment has been insufficient to ensure fair treatment of Palestinian minors.
It says “there are no special interrogation procedures for children detained by the Israeli military, nor are there provisions for an attorney or even a family member to be present when a child is questioned.”
Added to that, a 2015 law has allowed Palestinian children as young as 12 to be put on trial and imprisoned for "nationalistic-motivated" violent offences.
Settler 17 year old gets community service for attacking civilian with a knife - if this was a Palestinian he would be lucky to be alive plus would be sentenced as an adult https://t.co/DQYepGYDjo— Chris Doyle (@Doylech) December 18, 2017
The light punishment in this case was also influenced, the judge said, by a concern not to prevent the young Israeli taking part in military service, a justification that raised eyebrows on social media.
In just the last three months of 2015, Israeli security forces shot dead 25 Palestinian accused of stabbing attempts. At the time, UNICEF raised “serious concerns” about the killings.
Among them, a 17-year-old girl who was shot five times despite witnesses stating that she posed no threat at the time, and was shouting that she did not have a knife.
This ruling comes just two days after a 19-year-old Palestinian was shot and critically injured in Hebron after having stabbed an Israeli security official.
Reports suggested that forces continued to shoot after he had been incapacitated, in what some witnesses suggested was an attempt to prevent medics from reaching him.
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