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 children and woman being strip searched by Israeli soldiers

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Sister Fadia

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Registration date : 2007-03-07

PostSubject: children and woman being strip searched by Israeli soldiers   Wed Mar 21, 2007 12:01 pm

Wilayah News Network

By: Sajida
Fadlullah

Although the
practice has been used by Israeli officials against Palestinian children, even
girls, for decades, If Americans Knew was the only rights group among all those
who are concerned about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to uncover the
brutality and the extent of humiliation Palestinian children suffer as a result
of being strip-searched almost daily at Israeli checkpoints.

The rights group If
Americans Knew interviewed women in the United States, Israel, the West Bank and
Gaza, and learned that Israeli border officials systematically force females of
all ages, whether Christian or Muslim, take off their clothes as part of their
searches. And in many cases, If Americans Knew said, Palestinian girls as young
as seven and below are also strip-searched by Israeli officials, without regard
to the negative psychological impact that would have on them.
According to an article
published recently on Counterpunch written by Alison Weir, executive director of
If Americans Knew, Israeli officials in many cases strip search mothers and
children together, while in some other cases girls are taken from their parents
and strip-searched alone.
• “Remove sanitary
napkins”

Israelis order women to
remove sanitary napkins, while their small daughters are standing near, and in
some cases in the presence of their sons.
The report comes to only
add a new episode to a long series of Israeli violations of human rights,
international law that requires it protect civilians of the nation it occupies,
as well as Geneva Conventions.
It’s been recently
discovered that Israeli soldiers used Palestinian civilians, particularly in a
recent raid on the Old City of Nablus, as human shields to help them “safely”
search apartments for Palestinian fighters.
Testimonies gathered by
the Israeli human rights organization, B'Tselem, on February 25, on the first
day of Israel's military operation in the Old City of Nablus, showed that
Israeli soldiers forced two Palestinians, 'Amid and Samah Amirah, ages 15 and
24, to walk at gun point and enter “suspects’” houses ahead of them to make sure
that there’re no bombs threatening their lives, or that suspects are carrying
guns.
“Amid described how the
Israel Occupation Forces (IOF) used him at his own house at a time when the IOF
apparently believed one or more suspects might be inside, as suggested by the
fact that soldiers fired shots during the search: "They aimed their weapons at
me. One of them pushed me so that I would go into the house first. I went in
first, and then the soldiers entered. One of them pushed me to a corner of the
room, and then fired into the house. They fired 5-6 shots inside the house. They
told me to go into the rooms and then they came in behind me."
According to International
humanitarian law, a party to a conflict is prohibited from using the civilian
population or individual civilians in order to attempt to shield military
operations.
Joe Saunders, deputy
program director at Human Rights Watch said that "the soldiers' actions fly in
the face of the Geneva Conventions, an Israeli high court decision, and the
IOF’s own prior commitments,"
"Israel should put an
immediate end to this wholly illegal practice which deliberately abuses the
immunity to which civilians are guaranteed under international law."
• Deep feelings of
humiliation

If Americans Knew added
that people it interviewed spoke about the deep feelings of humiliation as a
result of being strip searched by Israeli soldiers, with many describing
incidents where they wept at the degradation they felt.
Even parents can’t protect
their children from being strip-searched by the Israelis.
"I remember crying and
pleading with my mother," Gaza journalist Laila El-Haddad said describing an
incident when she was 12-years-old, and Israeli officials asked her to take off
her undershirt.
"They had machine guns,"
she added.
"We just had to submit."
El-Haddad, who holds a Masters degree in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy
School of Government, added.
Strip searching is being
applied on Palestinian children, Christians and Muslims. It also targets those
who carry foreign citizenship, including native-born Americans.
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