Friday, August 10, 2012

Gerald Horton Weeps for the (Palestinian) Children

The Huffington Post has recruited a brand new blogger Gerard Horton, who is a lawyer for Defense for Children International. What a fascinating organization! Perhaps he'll write about Kony and the child soldiers of Africa. Or all of the Syrian children killed in the recent civil war. Maybe the Pakistani children killed in drone strikes. 

No, no, of course not. He's more concerned about Palestinian children jailed by mean old Israel.

Mr. Horton basically just parrots a report released by an UK NGO about the poor suffering Palestinian children, as well as a couple of others. The complaints are the typical ones: it's so unfair that Israel jails Palestinian kids, tries them in military courts, threatens them, etc. Let's all cry tears for the Palestinian victims. But after a while, Horton starts to get political:
"Similarly in 2011, the Israeli organization B'Tselem released a report -- No Minor Matter -- which considered the cases of 800 Palestinian children prosecuted in Israeli military courts for throwing stones...The response from the Israeli authorities to these complaints is that throwing stones is dangerous, and sometimes lethal, implying that death is commonplace. Although any loss of life is a tragedy to be avoided, evidence collected by B'Tselem indicates that in the past 11 years, four people, including one Palestinian, have been killed by stones thrown at vehicles traveling in the West Bank. No one argues that offenses should not be punished, but we should all be able to agree that children accused of the same crime must be treated with equality under the law. Why then is a child accused of throwing stones in the West Bank prosecuted in a military court just because he is Palestinian, whereas an Israeli settler child accused of the same offense is processed in a civilian juvenile justice system, with all the added protections and safeguards this implies?"
 First of all, I'll ask the question I always ask. How many people would have to be killed by thrown stones before they become wrong? 10? 100? 1,000?

Second, we don't all agree that "children accused of the same crime must be treated with equality under the law." Israeli and Palestinian children are not the same and don't have the same rights under Israeli courts. If this is "apartheid," then every country in the world is apartheid because every country in the world treats non-citizens differently than citizens, especially non-citizens whose nation that country just happens to be at war with.

A Palestinian child is not prosecuted in a military court "just for being Palestinian." He or she is being prosecuted in a military court because he is participating in a military conflict. Mr. Horton is being completely dishonest when he whitewashes this reality.

Then Mr. Horton gets to his big finale:
"Since June 1967, approximately 730,000 Palestinian men, women and children have been held in military detention. To suggest that nearly three-quarters of a million people are "terrorists," as is often implied, is both simplistic and unhelpful. Labeling an entire population as "potential terrorists" fails to acknowledge the part illegal Israeli settlement construction plays in raising tensions in the region, while leaving many frustrated that Israeli violations of international law go unchallenged. In few other situations would the international community tolerate an entire civilian population being held under military rule for 45 years, or the systematic abuse and military detention of children as young as 12. Until a bona fide attempt is made to right this institutionalized injustice, can anyone realistically expect the situation on the ground to improve?"
First, I'm glad he was able to throw in a shot at Israel's "illegal" settlement construction. Suddenly he cares about the law, something he forgot about earlier when discussing stone throwing.

Second, we see the real goal of this article: Yet another excuse about why the Palestinians can't make peace. Another whining, pathetic article about mean old Israel being so cruel to the innocent Palestinians, how can anyone expect the situation to improve? Please, no one suggest something as simple as the Palestinians not instructing their kids to go out and throw stones (an act, Mr. Horton, which is also "illegal"). Better to attack Israel's entire justice system and set up strawman arguments like every person held by Israel since 1967 (!) is a terrorist.

So those are the facts presented by Mr. Horton in his article. I'd like to present some facts of my own.

In the United States, there are 2,200 juveniles in prison for life and children as young as thirteen have been tried as adults.

The UK imprisons children as young as 10 and 30 children have died in custody since 1990.

In Syria, children are tortured. And that's real torture, not being tied too tightly or lying on the floor of a vehicle (which Mr. Horton whined about in the article).

And children are being executed all over the world.

The point of these facts is not to deflect or justify Israel's treatment of Palestinian children. It is to simply point out Mr. Horton's and the rest of the Israel haters' lack of perspective. Children are being mistreated all over the world, millions are a lot worse off than Palestinians. So why the special treatment? Why do the Palestinians get UK reports and articles by Mr. Horton? Mr. Horton himself wrote, "we should all be able to agree that children accused of the same crime must be treated with equality under the law." So why does a Palestinian children imprisoned for throwing stones get an article written about him by Mr. Horton, but a Nigerian child sentenced to death for armed robbery does not?

Those are questions no Israel hater can answer.


  1. Gerald has been pedaling this BS for a while, here’s Honest Reporting reply.

  2. If the "palestinian" teenagers who try to murder Jews by throwing stones would behave themselves, they wouldn't have to go to jail. In the real world, actions have consequences. Just because in the arab world Muslims can behave however badly with impunity if they harass or attempt to murder the Untermenschen does not mean that in normal places they won't have to answer for their crimes.


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