Israeli police arrest 14-year-old Palestinian girl

Published December 5th, 2014 - 10:38 GMT

Israeli Occupation Forces arrested a 14-year-old Palestinian girl at Qalandiya checkpoint on Thursday evening after allegedly wielding a knife at border police.

Yathrib Salah Rayyan, 14, from Beit Duqqu village northwest of Jerusalem, was overpowered by Israeli forces as she walked in the car lane leading to the military checkpoint.

An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma'an that a "female Palestinian suspect" allegedly approached a "civilian security guard" at Qalandiya “carrying a knife.”

Israeli border police fired shots in the air and then detained the girl, she said, adding that the 14-year-old is being interrogated.

Witnesses at the scene rejected claims that Rayyan attempted to stab a soldier.

Video footage published by The Jerusalem Post showed Israeli Occupation Forces using what appears to be pepper-spray to overpower the girl. She was then wrestled to the ground by several border police officers.

The incident came one day after Israeli forces detained an eight-year-old Palestinian in the Silwan neighborhood of annexed East Jerusalem, and two days after another 12-year-old Palestinian boy was detained in the city.

Unrest has gripped Jerusalem and the West Bank on an almost daily basis for the past five months, flaring up after a group of Zionist settlers kidnapped and burned a young Palestinian to death because of his ethnicity.

More than 10,000 Palestinian minors in the occupied West Bank and annexed Jerusalem have been held by the Israeli army for varying periods since 2000, a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official said last month.

At least 600 Palestinian children have been arrested in annexed Jerusalem alone since last June.

According to a recent report by the Palestinian Prisoners Club (PPC), nearly 40 percent of these children have been subjected to sexual abuse during arrest or investigation by the Israeli authorities.

The PPC, an independent Palestinian organization set up in 1993, said the "daily arrest campaigns" inflicted on young Palestinians living in Jerusalem are a "collective punishment against Palestinian residents of Jerusalem."

Last week, executive director of the Palestinian Prisoner's Society (PPS) Abdullah al-Zaghari said Israeli forces detained nine-month-old Balqis Ghawadra and two-year-old Baraa Ghawadra during a visit to see their jailed father. The two children were released the following day.

In 2013, the UN children's fund (UNICEF) reported that Israel was the only country in the world where children were "systematically tried" in military courts and gave evidence of practices it said were "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment."

Over the past decade, UNICEF noted that Israel has detained "an average of two children each day."

Palestinian children as young as five years old have also been detained in the past.

A report by Defense for Children International (DCI) published in May 2014 revealed that Israel jails 20 percent of Palestinian children it detains in solitary confinement.

DCI said that minors held in solitary confinement spent an average of 10 days in isolation. The longest period of confinement documented in a single case was 29 days in 2012, and 28 days in 2013.

According to a report by The Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights, dozens of video recorded testimonies of children arrested during the first months of 2014, pointing out that 75 percent of the detained children are subjected to physical torture and 25 percent faced military trials.

Israeli forces detained at least four Palestinian children, aged 13 to 16, last month for allegedly throwing stones at Israeli cars, and attempted to detain two Palestinian children, a two-year-old and a nine-year old, on suspicion of throwing stones.

The Israeli cabinet approved early November a new legislation which will be added to the Israeli penal code and would allow the imposition of a prison sentence up to 20 years for those convicted of throwing stones or other objects at Israeli vehicles.

Meanwhile, a Palestinian youth was shot with live fire in the lower extremities during clashes west of Ramallah on Thursday.

Israeli forces opened fire in Beitillu village after residents protested the closure of the village for the past week.


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