September 28, 2005

An Important Message From Women in Green

My sincerest apologies. This should have been posted last week. I asked for permission to post this here, but didn't see it when it arrived.

Eleven more dissident children jailed in Israel

You remember the last crop of teenaged disengagement opponents who were thrown into jail, a few weeks ago. You're about to hear about a fresh crop of arrested preteen political dissidents here in Israel, but first let's backtrack:

A few of the girls arrested for several WEEKS (not days), last month, were as young as 13 and 14. They were locked into real jails, intended for adults -- really and truly. But eventually they were released, due to an outcry throughout the world about the way Sharon's Israel is treating such young dissidents. Other countries do not even treat very young criminals this way. Please help us create the same outcry today -- see below.

By the way, perhaps you don't believe that young children aged 15 or 12 or 9 can think, feel and act like real, fiery dissidents. "Their parents are to blame -- they must be putting them up to it!", I can hear you thinking. But no. These dissident children's bitter opposition is definitely their own and not their parents'. Many of them come from small communities which have suffered multiple catastrophes at the hands of the Palestinians who Premier Sharon is trying to appease yet again. Take the community of Itamar, for example. In a community of about 90 families -- less than one small city street here in my town -- three fathers were shot to death by Palestinians in three separate incidents only months apart, a few years back. Next, Palestinian gunmen slipped into the community and succeeded in shooting three teenagers to death. Finally, in yet another attack on the 90 families of Itamar, some time later, more terrorists succeeded in penetrating a house. The father and some older sons were not home. By the time the terrorists were overcome, the mother and three of her younger children were dead. An incredibly brave and selfless neighbor immediately realized what had happened, and tried his best to rescue them, but he was shot to death too. Leaving yet another family of orphans in Itamar.

I will never forget the newspaper picture of a neighbor lugging one of the remaining children, with difficulty, through the gun-sprayed house. The terrorists had left this child, who looked about 8 or 10 years old, with only one leg. No mother - three dead siblings - and only one leg. If this is the lasting impression that one newspaper picture of this kid left on me -- I cannot imagine, even after my two academic degrees in psychology, the effect that these events must have on the children of Itamar and other, similar communities. After all, the classmates of this crippled child see him every single day.

Back to the present. This week, 11 dissident girls, aged 12 to 15, managed to visit the ruins of the erstwhile Jewish village of Sa-Nur. Last month Sharon gave orders for Sa-Nur's peaceful Jewish inhabitants to be dragged out and their homes razed, to make more room -- even more room -- for the Arab nation. Of course, the Israeli police -- too understaffed to adequately control traffic accidents, drug abuse and organized crime -- promptly arrested these girls for making this visit.

Just for comparison, a delinquent boy here in Rehovot, home of the Weizmann Institute of Science, where I live, was recently NOT arrested by the police although the police caught him red-handed, performing a robbery and armed with a knife. He was drunk, and high on drugs, but the police released him. They did not even dream of releasing those (politically) dangerous girls who walked into Sa-Nur, but him they released right away. This released drunk delinquent boy drug-addict found a 15 year old girl to prey on, right here in Rehovot, only a couple of hours after he was released. He killed her. Not long ago I asked our Rehovot police force about that case, because I was shocked that dissidents were being arrested whereas criminals caught red-handed were not being arrested. The Rehovot policemen furiously retorted that their handling of the case had been excellent. "As soon as we heard that a girl was dead -- we came to the scene," they told me with pride.

So, we need to protest the jailing of these very young dissident girls. But the story is not over. These girls were brought in a paddy wagon (wagon for transporting arrested criminals) to the court and ordered to descend and enter the courthouse. The girls refused. Obviously!! They are dissidents, so not surprisingly they do not choose to recognize any court's authority to judge a Jew for merely walking around in the Land of Israel. These 12 to 15 year old girls barred the door of the arrest wagon so that the police would not drag them out violently.

The police could have asked the judge to conduct the girls' hearing in absentia. Instead they did something disgraceful, illegal and dangerous: They tried to squelch these girls by turning off the ventilator in the sealed paddy wagon -- leaving 11 girls to roast in a tiny, sealed, unventilated area in the heat of the Israeli summer.

Is it necessary to explain how dangerous that is? It is unnecessary to explain it to any Israeli, policeman or otherwise. All of us Israelis remember, and certainly any Israeli policeman must remember, the headlines not long ago when a 6 year old girl from Rishon LeZion was left (accidentally) in a locked bus and rapidly suffocated to death. The policemen could easily have killed those girls. The girls could have suffocated to death or suffered brain damage. The police must have known this.

And one more thing. The above incident occurred in the late afternoon. One of the things the hostile judge did manage to find out, was that the 11 girls had been given nothing -- nothing -- to eat, all that day. No lunch, no snack, no breakfast -- absolutely nothing, was given to this group of eleven girls aged 12 to 15. Can you imagine what would have happened if -- Heaven forfend -- a Palestinian had been mistreated in this way? Every "humanitarian" (sic) organization in this country would have beaten a path to the door of the High Court of Justice. But for these girls, not a single "humanitarian" organization has taken action.

"What can I do?" I can hear you saying. You can do a great deal, to help us protest:
* the incarceration of these young girls,
* their being starved for an entire day and
* the suffocation incident.

Your protest could be as drafted as you please, or you could simply write:
"Re: Complaint about the State of Israel's treatment of the eleven preteen girls"
"I hereby protest the jailing of 11 preteen girls who did nothing except walk peacefully through their own land -- the Land of Israel. I also protest the criminal suffocation of these young girls in the "zinzana" (paddy wagon) and ask that the responsible policeman be criminally indicted for intentionally endangering the lives of 11 minors. Finally I protest the inhumane starvation of these girls for an entire day. I DEMAND THAT THE PERSONNEL WHO PERPETRATED THESE ACTS AND THEIR COMMANDING OFFICERS BE RELIEVED OF THEIR DUTIES IMMEDIATELY AND INDICTED SUBSEQUENTLY. I ASK THAT YOU RESPOND TO THIS LETTER BY PROVIDING ME ALL THE RELEVANT INFORMATION AS TO WHY THIS HAPPENED AND WHAT YOU PERSONALLY INTEND TO DO ABOUT IT. WHEN WILL THESE GIRLS BE RELEASED??? (Signed:)

* Please call, or send the above letter or one of your own to your local Israeli embassy, if you live abroad. Build consciousness in your community by writing a letter to your local Jewish newspaper explaining what you wrote to the embassy and publicly urging the embassy to respond.
* Please write to Dr. Yizhak Kadman,, who runs Israel's children's rights organization. Urge him to take immediate action on behalf of these girls! Dr. Kadman does not share your political opinions and mine which is why he needs to be reminded -- by you -- to take action.
* Please contact the Minister of Justice Zippy Livni ( and the Minister of Police Gidon Ezra ( and ask them what is going on. Send reminders until you get answers. These two ministers are about to stand for re-election, so you may find them more responsive than usual.
* And please -- keep us posted. Keep all your friends and relatives posted as well.

Thank you so much for your assistance.

Susie Dym, spokeperson
Mattot Arim
an Israeli grassroots organization working toward peace for peace since 1992

PS Some of you have asked in the past why official complaints are not being filed for this type of event. The answer is that complaints are definitely filed, by the legal aid fund Honenu and its close associate Zchuyot Adam beYesha, but only to the extent that Honenu's fantastically dedicated volunteers and few paid attorneys can handle the torrent of events. Please therefore promote the efforts of Honenu ( to expand their tiny legal staff, in any way you can. Thank you.

Update: Four of the girls have been released from jail, mostly because they are very young -- sixth graders. Those aged 13 and up are still in jail and will be there for at least another week. In direct contradiction to regulations and to a court order dated last week, they are not being permitted to call their parents, read, study schoolwork, or even wash their clothing. YOU can create the public outcry that will help these girls by sending YOUR protest letters NOW. Thank you so much.

Jerusalem, September 23, 2005 Ruth and Nadia Matar

Women For Israel's Tomorrow (Women in Green)
POB 7352, Jerusalem 91072, Israel
Tel: 972-2-624-9887 Fax: 972-2-624-5380

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Posted by Rachel Ann at September 28, 2005 07:35 PM | TrackBack

Some of it is out of date. Many of the kids are out of jail.

Posted by: muse at September 28, 2005 07:46 PM

Wild they were put in there in the first place. Sheesh. Don't they have bigger fish to fry?

Posted by: esther at September 28, 2005 11:21 PM

Isn't it becoming (obviously there and here too) the worst crime is to disobey or go against whatever craziness govt. comes up with next?? It is getting to the point that they will not even allow verbal disagreement! They want all "checks and balances" History class we were taught that was one of the functions desired by how our govt WAS set up...WAS, as in past tense. I homeschooled my kids and had them go through the Govt. book as assigned, but told them, not so much of it was true anymore... so sad, but again, when we refuse to learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it!! And so we are...all democracies always end in dictatorship (one reason our forefathers set up a republic; does anyone even know what that is?)...we are on the verge of martial law it comes....

Posted by: Elizabeth at September 29, 2005 05:42 PM
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