Burden begins by explaining that he is going to talk about "children," who are really 14-17 but because under Israeli law they are still "children" that is what he is going to call them. I'm glad to see that unlike some other Palestinian supporters he is willing to tell at least part of the truth before he waves the "poor Palestinian children" flag yet again. Jumping right into it:
"The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child requires member states to uphold standards of judicial behaviour in respect of children, including only using imprisonment as a last resort. According to Defence for Children International (DCI), however, even after Sunday, 106 Palestinian children still remain in Israeli detention."This is one of those statements that sounds damning but when you stop and think about it it becomes less so. Is Burden saying that those 106 teenagers are not being held as a last resort? If he thinks that Israel has some alternative way of upholding judicial behavior, can he provide more information about it? What is the status of these children? What crimes are they accused of? Unfortunately he provides no information and he doesn't even have a link to the DCI for us to find out for ourselves. Maybe it's because he doesn't want us to dig too deep. As I believe I have said before, I would be happy to criticize Israel if they did something wrong, but not for something they didn't actually do.
Finally we get to the meat of MP Burden's argument, the horrible tortures inflicted upon Palestinian children:
"Children are frequently taken from their homes in the middle of the night, without telling their parents why they are being arrested or where they are being taken. Painful hand ties and blindfolds are used for extended periods of time. Prior to interrogation, children are often not informed of their right to silence or allowed to meet with a lawyer. Rarely are they even allowed to speak to their parents....Threats and physical and mental abuse during arrest, transfer and interrogation are widespread, making prosecutions based on evidence regularly extracted from confessions more than worrying."The bolded section is my modification, not Burden's, highlighted because this is a very common tactic among Arabists: Make a huge claim like this one (abuses on a wide scale) and then "forget" to back it up with links. Maybe what Burden is saying is on the up and up, but given the extremely long history of Palestinian lying, he's going to need something to convince me that what he is saying is true. As for the non bolded section, really? Is that really the best he has to say? Because considering the Palestinians' treatment of their own children, let alone Israeli children, that's pretty weak. And the weakness continues:
"It's shocking when you hear about these things. It's worse still when you see them for yourself and meet some of the young people who have been through it. I'll certainly never forget the sight of 13-year-old boys being led into Israel's military courtrooms at Ofer prison in leg shackles and handcuffs. The leg shackles stayed on throughout the hearing."This kind of thing continues throughout the entire article. Apparently Burden finds it quite shocking that felons are shackled. Maybe this is a culture thing, since he is from Britain, but here in America prisoners are shackled a lot, for all sorts of crimes:
standing trial in another article from a newspaper in Britain:
Oh the humanity! Where is Richard Burden's article about this?
Unfortunately for Burden, this is where the accusations against Israel end, so he has to repeat them. He talks about meeting other Palestinians who were shackled, shackled in a bus, shackled here, shackled there, and so on and so forth. He can probably fool his amen corner, but those of us who pay attention know that children can commit crimes and when they do they are arrested. Here's another picture just to make my point:
"That is why DCI calls for Palestinian children to have the same rights as Israeli children to recognised standards of juvenile justice rather than military courts. It is why they say all children should be accompanied by a lawyer and parent during questioning, and all interrogations of children should be audio-visually recorded as a means of independent oversight....And it is why - as we approach a new year in the 21st Century - Israel's shackling of child prisoners must stop."Ha! What a freaking joke. Yeah, I'll expect Israel to treat Palestinians the same way. Just as soon as Al Qaeda gets treated the same way as those kids in Florida and the Taliban get access to lawyers too. This is not just hopelessly naive on the part of Burden, it's edging close to lawfare (or something like it). Don't get me wrong, I don't think the IDF should have free reign to do whatever they like, people can't be trusted with that kind of unchecked power. But I am also realistic enough not to expect them to baby potential terrorists just because they are young. The Palestinians grow terrorists young and Israel has to be ready to stop them. Demanding equality between your own people and the enemy is ridiculous, though it is a very common Palestinian tactic. I hope they keep doing trying it though because it won't get them anywhere.
And finally, the demand to "stop shackling" is a joke. You wouldn't ask that of any other country on earth, let alone Britain, so don't ask it of Israel. If these people behave like criminals they should be treated like criminals. I say that of every other country on earth, and I won't hold Israel to a higher standard. Maybe Richard Burden, and the Huffington Post, should try the same thing.