Citizen Action Monitor

Harper silent on Israel caging Palestinian children in snowy outdoors, yet cancelled Sri Lanka visit over human rights

Is our evangelical Christian PM shamed by his double standard? Apparently not. But then a sense of shame only comes to those with a conscience

No 943 Posted by fw, January 1, 2014

In my opinion, Mr Harper deserves to be shamed, for he commits such shameful acts. Consider just two particularly egregious examples: not only does he turn a blind eye to Israel’s relentless persecution of vulnerable Palestinians, especially the children, Canada’s CO2 emissions, unleashed by Harper’s unconscionable tar sands policies, have contributed to the deaths of countless innocents here and abroad, most recently to the deaths of more than 6,000 Filipinos. Or are Canadians prepared to hold their PM to a lower ethical and moral standard than they would hold themselves? (Check out two “SEE ALSO” stories at the end of this post).

But this post is not about the shaming of our morally challenged PM; it is about the suffering of Palestinian children held by Israelis in outdoor iron cages during a winter storm.

To read the original account, click on the following linked title. Or read a reposting of it below, along with two confirming reports from Israeli sources. In fact, the original Electronic Intifada piece credits an Israeli source for the story. And these Israeli human rights groups are to be commended for their principled actions.

Israel put Palestinian children in outdoor cages during winter storm by Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, January 1, 2014

Israel put Palestinian prisoners, including children, in outdoor cages during the severe winter storm that struck the region in the middle of last month.

The shocking practice was highlighted in a year-end statement by the advocacy group, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) and discussed by Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, this week.

Also detailed in a letter from the office of Israel’s National Public Defender, the practice had been going on for months, but has now supposedly been halted.

The 16 December letter to the head of the Israel Prison Service (IPS) says that lawyers from the public defender’s office had learned of the practice during an official visit to the Ramle prison compound where Palestinian political prisoners, including children, are often transferred from the occupied West Bank in violation of international law.

Iron cages

During the visit by two of its lawyers “which coincided with the fierce storm that struck the country, the attorneys met prisoners who described a shocking picture: in the middle of the night, dozens of prisoners were transferred to iron cages built outside the IPS facility in Ramle,” according to a 17 December statement from the public defender.

“In these cages, which were exposed to the weather, they spent several hours in the freezing cold and rain, until the transport arrived to take them to court around 6am,” the statement adds.

The statement said that the practice had been going on for months, a fact “verified during other official visits and not denied by IPS.”

The public defender launched an emergency appeal to various official bodies, including the ministry of justice, “in order to prevent another night of such grave harm to humanity.”

The statement notes that some of the prisoners in the cages were “minors” – children.

The Jerusalem Post reported on 31 December that Tzipi Livni, Israel’s justice minister “immediately telephoned Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, telling him to end the practice.”

The matter was also discussed Tuesday in the Israeli parliament’s public petitions committee where, according to the Post, “the Knesset committee said that the manner of arrest and detention conditions of Palestinian children was violating Israeli law for dealing with children.”


PCATI’s statement notes “with increasing alarm and condemnation Israel’s failure to protect Palestinian children from direct and indirect torture and ill treatment.”

It says it has received “dozens of complaints of torture and ill treatment from children in the last 10 years” and is currently working on cases “concerning children’s complaints of torture and ill treatment at the hands of Israeli soldiers and interrogators.”

PCATI cites reports from numerous other groups including Psychoactive, Military Court Watch, Breaking the SilenceDefence for Children International–Palestine Section (DCI-PS)B’Tselem and the public defender’s office, among others, documenting widespread and systematic “torture and ill treatment of children which included caging prisoners in iron cages (including children), abusive interrogations, detentions and arrests.”

Last year B’Tselem reported that Palestinian children are systematically subjected to torture and violence, including threats of rape, by Israeli interrogators, in order to force them to confess to stone-throwing.

In 2012 alone, DCI-PS collected dozens of cases corroborating the “widespread and systematic ill-treatment” of Palestinian children in Israeli detention.

As of October, 159 Palestinian children were imprisoned and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system, according to the most recent bulletin from DCI-PS.

These included 15 children between the ages of 12 and 15.

Public relations

In light of the years of systematic and unrelenting abuses, the move by Livni to end the practice of caging prisoners outdoors should be seen as no more than a cosmetic effort to improve the image of what is in effect a colonial court system in which an oppressor and occupier judges, controls and persecutes natives.

Public discussion and acknowledgment of torture and abuse of Palestinians has coexisted for decades in Israel with the unabated continuation of these practices.

Thus it has only served to boost Israel’s image as a self-critical “democracy” while changing nothing in reality.

“Going wild”

Livni herself is no friend of human rights or dignity. She has to exercise caution traveling abroad for fear of arrest on suspicion of involvement in war crimes, particularly Israel’s three-week-long assault on Gaza five years ago which killed 1,400 Palestinians, hundreds of them children.

During the massacre, as the UN-commissioned Goldstone report notes (PDF), Livni, then foreign minister, justified the attacks as necessary retaliation.

Israel, she said, “is a country that when you fire on its citizens it responds by going wild – and this is a good thing.”

There’s little reason to believe, as the new year starts, that Israel has any intention to stop “going wild” against Palestinian children.


Two confirming reports of “outdoor cages” story from Israeli sources

Note: these reports, written in Hebrew, were automatically translated into English, The translation is rough in parts and no attempt was made to correct the grammatical errors.

Story 1

Following an urgent request of the Public Defender, immediately suspended the holding of prisoners in iron cages outside exposed to the elements December 16, 2013

National Public Defender addressed an urgent appeal commissioner of the – Prison Incarceration cages respect of detainees in Ramle Prison compound. Urgent letter was written following an official visit conducted by Attorney Rachel Danieli and glial Attorney Public Defender budding national facility to house arrest – County Court Blvd. During our visit, held during a fierce storm hit the state, attorneys met detainees who described to them a shocking picture: middle of the night dozens of detainees were transferred to the external iron cages built outside the IPS transition facility in Ramla. These cages, exposed to the weather, they spent several hours freezing cold and rain, until it reached a post that is supposed to take them to court, around 6 am. turns out that this procedure under which prisoners waiting outside there cages Post IPS for several months, and is verified in other official visitors, and not denied by the IPS.

Immediately after it was brought to the attention of the national public defender, convened an urgent consultation followed Hhuhlt get serious and urgent report focused on this issue, before making a formal response of the IPS (according to a procedure permitting a public defender to do so in emergency cases). Urgent report sent to all officials including the Minister of Justice, Minister of Public Security, Attorney General and Commissioner for IPS. Their report was an urgent letter and phone calls with the Office of the Minister of Justice and Deputy Attorney General, designed to attempt to prevent another night of such grave harm humanity. It was clarified to the official bodies beyond insult to the dignity of man, it is also the effect due process in the legal system, since the detainees, some minor way, led after the experiences cages their cases.

That evening, the Justice Minister has consulted with the Minister of Public Security, ordered to freeze the use of


Story 2

Public Defender’s Office report unusual severity: boys handcuffs were kept in cages  Uri Israel Paz, December 18, 2013

Detainees, including children, are held in cramped cages hours outside of the building, chained and exposed to bitter cold outside prison walls. Hard data reveals an extraordinary report of the urgent national defense submitted to the Justice Minister Livni. Immediately upon receiving the report Livni spoke with Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitz IPS instructed his part to stop the procedure immediately

Report unusual severity passed the national defense, Dr. Yoav Sapir, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni reveals that the detainees are held for hours in sub – conditions, chained and sleeping engines, before transferring to the courts. National defense counsel sought the immediate intervention of the Minister Livni, who spoke immediately after receipt of the request with the Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitz. IPS Commissioner minister ordered to stop the use of cages.

Preliminary report and the exceptional severity of the national defense was yesterday (Monday, 16:12) to the Justice Minister, the Minister of Public Security, the Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and IPS Commissioner. The report, written after a visit made on 12 December detention facility in Lod District Court, where detainees stay pending legal proceedings.

The report suggests that severe detainees were brought before the court detention facility, dedicated iron cages were established by the Prison Service in the transit Ramla, pending post “to take them to the various courts.

This is a relatively new procedure of IPS, under which detainees were not done collecting the cells in which they are staying, but they are taken at night, handcuffed hands and feet, the outer iron cages, where waiting for a ride. Report states that this severe deficiencies and exceptions, notably Injury human dignity and a grave risk to the health of detainees, including minors, held in iron cages outside and exposed to the bitter cold for hours. Another report stated that these cages conditions unbearable, and besides exposure to harsh weather conditions and no cages Services density unbearable.

Flagrant violation of the law

National defense counsel, Dr. Yoav Sapir, turned to the Justice Minister to request the intercession immediate issue, especially given the harsh weather conditions prevailing these days. Severe initial report indicates that detainees held in the cells do not get warm clothing, and there have been some concern arises as a result of their.In addition, as a result of its holding cages come in many detainees in court hearings when they are exhausted, and unable to understand what was happening in the courtroom. In addition, it was found that the physical conditions of transport mobility of IPS are extremely difficult.

According to Dr. Sapir, “There is no doubt that this is a violation of the law and the most serious violation of human dignity, which must not be with them.” He added that the serious due process, since those detainees arriving after this ordeal crucial matter for discussion.

It should be noted that the report was that the senior officials of law enforcement agencies before the submitted reference IPS audit in accordance with the procedure allows it in urgent cases. However, the main points were transferred to the unit. Also, sent a separate letter on the subject head of the IPS, multi – Gondar Aharon Franco.


  • Make Harper pay for his environmental crimes by Yves Engler, November 18, 2013 — Will Supertyphoon Haiyan serve as a wake-up call for Canadians? Can environmental activists connect the dots between Harper’s climate crimes and the death and destruction caused by the most powerful storm ever recorded?
FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog, Citizen Action Monitor, may contain copyrighted material that may not have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I claim no ownership of such materials. Such material, published without profit, is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues. It is published in accordance with the provisions of the 2004 Supreme Court of Canada ruling and its six principle criteria for evaluating fair dealing.

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