A United Nations human rights body released a report Thursday accusing Israeli forces of mistreating Palestinian children, including by torturing those in custody and using others as human shields.
“Palestinian children arrested by (Israeli) military and police are systematically subject to degrading treatment, and often to acts of torture, are interrogated in Hebrew, a language they did not understand, and sign confessions in Hebrew in order to be released,” the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said in its report.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said the report sounded dubious and redundant.
“Unfortunately this will be used by Israel’s enemies as a nice headline, but I think we all know that Israel doesn’t go around torturing children,” he told The Algemeiner.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry told Reuters it had responded to a report by the UN children’s agency UNICEF in March on ill-treatment of Palestinian minors, and dismissed the new report.
“If someone simply wants to magnify their political bias and political bashing of Israel not based on a new report, on work on the ground, but simply recycling old stuff, there is no importance in that,” spokesman Yigal Palmor said.
The report which claimed that children are often arrested arbitrarily by Israeli security forces voiced concern at the “continuous use of Palestinian children as human shields and informants,” saying 14 such cases had been reported in the last three years alone.
In March, Palmor had said that Israeli officials had cooperated with UNICEF in its work on the report, with the goal of improving the treatment of Palestinian minors in custody.
“Israel will study the conclusions and will work to implement them through ongoing cooperation with UNICEF, whose work we value and respect,” he said.