Before Trump, Israel Put Palestinian Children In Cages

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Israel has long separated families and held Palestinian children in cages. Now that Trump does it, activists are asking why critics have never shown outrage before.

Immigrant children have been mistreated and abused for years in the United States. But so have Palestinian youth, who Israeli officials caged outside in the cold. In light of recent news, this practice is now being compared to how President Donald Trump’s administration is treating minors separated from their parents at the border.

The Associated Press reported this week that “hundreds of children” are held in cages in an old warehouse in South Texas. 

In 2014, under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli officials held Palestinian prisoners in outdoor cages at night and during a severe winter storm. These cages also held children.

The shocking revelation wasn’t widely circulated then until the human rights advocacy group Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) discussed the practice in a statement.

At the time, Israel’s National Public Defender’s office detailed the incident and explained that it had happened for months. After the backlash, however, officials stopped.

Public defenders learned Israeli officials were detaining children in outside cages after an official visit, and they reminded officials that the practice is in violation of international law. Attorneys went on to say that complaints showed prisoners were subject to “torture and ill treatment of children.”

Earlier, however, reports showed that Israel’s restrictions on Palestinian movement were also forcing families to be ripped apart systematically. It's another example of how the state of Israel often serves as inspiration to American officials.

The difference is that Trump made Israel's old practice of separating families into a policy, hoping that it would further punish migrant adults trying to cross into the United States while fleeing gang and domestic violence in Central America, and that it would eventually serve as a deterrent. But before him, immigration officials were already putting immigrant children through hell.

According to The Associated Press, immigration agencies were being accused of taking part in violent incidents involving migrant teens as early as 2015. Children as young as 14 said they were beaten and locked up in the nude inside solitary confinement cells in a Virginia facility. At the time, a 17-year-old Mexican boy who suffered torture at the hands of officials at the center claimed he was apprehended at the border after he ran from drug-related gang violence and an abusive father.

Now in 2018, teens and young children fleeing the same type of violence are held in metal cages where large foil sheets are used as blankets. Toddlers and babies are held in "tender age" facilities. All the while, their parents are taken from them by immigration authority goons.

On Twitter, users shared images of Palestinian children being held in similar conditions, a painful reminder that the United States has long relied on Israeli military tactics here at home. 

Shame and nothing but shame is what this horrific chapter of American history represents. Unfortunately, America’s close relationship with Israel will remain officially unchallenged, even while Israel continues to target and mistreat Palestinian children.

Thumbnail/Banner Credit: Reuters  Reuters

 

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