Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Arlene Kushner On Protecting Children During Evacuation From Mitzpe Avichai

From Arlene Kushner:

January 16, 2012

"The Rights of the Child"

We're still dealing with Mitzpe Avichai.  As my readers are well aware, I have focused on mistreatment of the infants and children forced out of their homes during the evacuation of this neighborhood.  What I have now learned is precisely how much attention has been paid to this issue in relevant forums over a period of time:

As far back as August of 2009, a document had been drawn up by mental health professionals, who took into consideration lessons from previous evacuations of "outposts," regarding the rights of the child in these circumstances.  This document made minimal recommendations, and stated that children must be prepared in advance for an evacuation of their homes, and should not be present when the evacuation and destruction are taking place.

At that time, the Knesset Committee for the Rights of the Child called upon the Minister of Defense to adopt this document.  Should no document be in place, the Committee recommended that the chief of police hold a hearing with professionals prior to an evacuation with regard to protecting the rights of the children involved in the projected action.

This past December, the Committee for the Rights of the Child revisited this issue, declaring that even political battles cannot justify injury to children.  If procedures are not set in place prior to the evacuation and destruction of homes, then adequate protection of the child will not be possible.


Following the evacuation and destruction at Mitzpe Avichai, the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel drafted a letter that went to MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi), Chair, Knesset Committee on the Rights of the Child; Yohanan Danino, Commissioner of Police; and Major General Avi Mizrahi, head of IDF Central Command. 

Additionally, copies were sent to Yitzhak Aharonovitch (Yisrael Beitenu), Minister of Internal Security; Ehud Barak (Ha'atzmaut), Minister of Defense; Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, IDF Chief of Staff; and Nitzav Amos Ya'akov, Judea and Samaria District Police Commander.  


This letter minced no words:

What we are seeing is the repeated occurrences of the evacuation of children in such a way that there is a serious breach of their rights. Most recently now has this happened again with the destruction of Mitzpe Avichai, where the rights of children were violated.

This took place in spite of the fact that in December the Committee on the Rights of the Child had addressed breaches in children's rights, and it was made clear that what was needed was a crystallization of procedures to stop injuries to children.  The Committee adopted as policy the call for an interim procedure until all final arrangements could be worked out.

In spite of this, the evacuation was executed in the middle of the night, accompanied by break-ins into houses with screaming.  Pregnant women and women with babies and young children were prevented by the security forces from using their private cars -- they had to move on foot from the hill where they were located to Kiryat Arba.  This gross and brutal breach of the rights of the children is without justification.     
It is doubtful that there was any prior discussion regarding concern for the children during the evacuation. If there was such a discussion, it was not a reasonable decision that was arrived at.  It is difficult to find a genuine reason that would justify the serious damage done to the mental and physical health of the children.  The police and army are responsible.

In light of the repetition of this phenomenon, and the increasingly degrading attitude of security forces with regard to the rights of the Jewish children of Yesha, it is requested that significant steps be taken to safeguard the children.

MK Orlev is requested to interact with law enforcement agencies to actively promote the adoption of the document that has been drafted on the matter.

Law enforcement agencies are requested to adopt interim procedures without delay.  As long as there are no concretized procedures in place, there should be no additional evacuations. 


OK folks, now it's your turn.  Pressure truly will help here.  And help is needed.

Contact the prime minister, the defense minister and the minister of internal security (details below).  I am focusing on the political figures because it is within the political sphere that decisions are made.

Say that you are aware of the shameful way that the evacuation at Mitzpe Avichai was done, with total disregard for the rights of the children involved.  Tell them that you know there is a document that has been drafted by mental health professionals addressing the needs of the children in cases of evacuation and destruction of their homes.  What is more, you are aware of the repeated requests of the Knesset Committee for the Rights of the Child regarding the need for at least interim procedures to be set in place immediately.  Without proper procedures established clearly before an evacuation, the children will not be protected. 

Politics does not justify what has been done at Mitzpe Avichai.  It must never happen this way again. Demand that appropriate action be taken immediately on behalf of the children, as befits the Jewish state.  And let them know that you will be watching.

Write as well to MK Orlev and let him know that you are supporting his committee's efforts to protect the rights of the child during evacuations.


In all instances, from US: 011-972 and drop the 0 before 2 or 3.
Binyamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister
Fax: 02-670-5369 
E-mailMemshala@pmo.gov.il and also pm_eng2@it.pmo.gov.il (underscore after pm) use both addresses


Ehud Barak, Minister of Defense (IDF matters)
Phone: 03-697-5436  This will get you to his secretary.  
Fax in the Knesset: 02-649-6117  

Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Minister of Internal Security (police matters)
Phone: 02-530-0999 
Fax at office of Director of Ministry:  02-541-8070   Fax at the Knesset: 02-649-6188;

MK Zevulun Orlev, Chair, Knesset Committee on the Rights of the Child
Phone: 02-640-8054 or 02-640- 8454
Fax: 02-675-3709

My friends, I thank you for your efforts here.  I am promoting this action first out of concern for children, but also out of love for Israel.  She must be all that she is intended to be, and dealing with these issues is painful.


One more related piece of information, and then all else will be tabled until the next posting:
Yesterday, my contact in Kiryat Arba told me that there were Sudanese as well as Arabs on the scene moving out the belongings from the houses that were to be destroyed.  I now learned how this came to be the case: they were the employees of the company that had been contracted by the Civil Administration to destroy the outpost.  This is from Rabbi Shimon Ben-Zion, a former member of the Kiryat Arba local council, who reported to Arutz Sheva.


© Arlene KushnerThis material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced onlywith proper attribution.
See my website at Arlene From Israel. Contact Arlene at akushner@netvision.net.il

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