The Guardian saw fit to publish eight letters in response to accusations of Israeli mistreatment of Palestinian child detainees. Only one of those (January’s Letter of the Month) sided with Israel. The Guardian has, however, given the press attache for the Israeli Embassy in London, Amir Ofek, the opportunity to respond, which we republish in full here:
Your special report looks at allegations that Israel’s military justice system mistreats Palestinian children who have been arrested for throwing stones.
“Many are exhausted from sleep deprivation. Day after day they are fettered to the chair, then returned to solitary confinement. In the end, many sign confessions that they later say were coerced,” you state. But you omit the horrific nature of the atrocities that minors, some as young as 12, can be arrested for.
Hakim Awad, 17, is a minor. Last March he and his 18-year-old cousin, Amjad, brutally murdered the Fogel family while they slept. No mercy was shown to three-month-old Hadas, her two brothers (aged four and 11) and their parents. The scene of the crime, including the severed head of a toddler, left even the most experienced of police officers devastated. The duo proudly confessed to their killings, and they have shown no subsequent remorse.
Between 2000-04, 292 minors took part in terrorist activities. Shocking images of Palestinian infants dressed in explosive vests are only the tip of the hate industry that Palestinian children are exposed to. Ismail Tsabaj, 12, Azi Mostafa, 13, and Yousuf Basam, 14, were sent by Hamas on a mission chillingly similar to the one involving the Fogels, aiming to penetrate a Jewish home at night and slaughter a family in their beds. In this case, the IDF fortunately stopped them in time.