Date : 17 Oct 2021
An urgent communication to take serious action against the escalation of settler crimes against Palestinian children.
The International Commission to Support Palestinians’ Rights “ICSPR” – a local human rights organization – hopes that this letter finds you in good health and wellness. With reference to the above subject, we place before you this urgent communication, which carries shocking data about the escalation of settlers’ crimes in the Israeli occupation state against Palestinian civilians, including innocent children, as settlers attack Palestinians and their property in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem on daily basis, the latest of which was the brutal attack on the 15-year-old child “Tariq Al-Zubaidi” in Jenin. This settlement attack is the “tenth” on Palestinians, including children, since the beginning of 2021. Various evidence and documentation indicate that settlers’ violence against Palestinians is often carried out with the participation and protection of the Israeli occupation soldiers, as it has become part of the Israeli occupation policy in the West Bank, and an integral part of the occupation’s routine, with the aim of restricting Palestinians and stripping them of their lands in favor of projects of Judaization, annexation and forced displacement, in contravention of the minimum covenants of human rights, international humanitarian law and resolutions of legitimacy.
Data from the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem reveal horrific details regarding the kidnapping of 15-year-old Palestinian Tariq al-Zubaidi by Israeli settlers and brutally torturing him with fire.
The organization said that the boy was kidnapped while hiking with (5) of his friends, near their village “Silat al-Dahr” in the city of Jenin in the northern West Bank.
Settlers from the Homesh settlement were riding in cars and carrying stones and sticks. This prompted the Palestinian children to flee quickly from the place, especially as the settlers started throwing stones at them. (4) children managed to escape and return to their homes. Unfortunately, the aforementioned child, Tariq, failed to catch up and run away with his friends.
In his testimony to B’Tselem, he said: “The settlers came towards me and ran me with their car, and I fell to the ground. The car stopped and four settlers got out of it, some of them were carrying sticks, they attacked me and hit me on my shoulder, legs and back before they tie my hands and my feet with chains and take me to Homesh settlement.
He added: When I arrived at the mentioned settlement, a number of settlers gathered around me, kicked me, sprayed me with pepper and spit on my face, and all that time they were cursing me with insulting and degrading words in Arabic and Hebrew. Then they carried him and hung him on a tree to “burn his feet”.
I was left hanging on the tree for about five minutes, my eyes were blindfolded, and during these moments I felt that they were cutting and rubbing the skin of my left foot with a sharp object, which caused me severe pain that I could not bear. Suddenly I felt severe burns in my right foot, and I think they lit a flame under my feet that lasted for a moment, I screamed and cried in pain and fear, then they hit me on the head with a stick after which I lost consciousness.
According to him: he regained consciousness while he was lying on the floor of a military jeep that had arrived at the mentioned settlement, and the soldiers threatened to arrest him before releasing him while he was in a pitiful condition.
As a result, he was taken by his family in a Palestinian ambulance to a hospital. It was found that he suffers from deep bruises and wounds on his shoulders, back and legs, in addition to wounds and burns in his feet. The child “Tariq” says: I got out of the hospital, but the pain remains, and I can’t walk because of the cuts and burns in my feet.
The escalating crimes of the settlers against innocent Palestinian children under the protection and guarding of the occupation soldiers, constituted a grave and flagrant violation of the rules of human rights law and international humanitarian law, which the Israeli occupation has always evaded in the context of its dealings with Palestinian civilians, and therefore it bears full responsibility for its continued perpetration of this policy and the continued targeting of Palestinian civilians and children, especially since its above-mentioned practices amount to a war crime described in accordance with the Rome Statute that established the Permanent International Criminal Court, which immediately requires a firm international position and an effective effort from the international community and its institutions to pressure the occupation authorities to oblige them to stop their crimes against civilians, including providing protection for Palestinian civilians in the occupied territories, to put an end to the crimes of the occupation, in a way that restores victims’ trust in the international law system and its effectiveness, which criminalized these types of violations.
Finally, we hope that you will adopt this communication and act accordingly, whether individually or / collectively, as the threat against Palestinian children continues, and with every moment, new innocent lives are claimed, do not allow the case of child “Tariq” to be repeated with other innocent children.