Ahmed Manasra: Terrorist or Victim?

Ahmed Manasra Handcuffed to His Hospital Bed

The Israeli Physicians for Human Rights organisation has condemned the release of the above photo of Mansara, a minor, in the hospital at Hadassah University Medical Centre at Ein Karem in Jerusalem. “The fact that it is a photo of a minor in custody who was photographed without his parents’ permission” is a violation of juvenile law and privacy laws and the fact that the picture was taken at a medical facility “apparently with the approval of its management,” was a violation of medical ethics requiring maintenance of the confidentiality of medical information and respect for the patient. “Even more disturbing, is that reportedly the instructions [to publish the photo] came directly from the office of the health minister [Yaakov Litzman] and that the picture itself was distributed by the Prime Minister’s Office.”

“In addition, Physicians for Human Rights takes a grave view of the fact that the public has been briefed with details of [Mansara’s] condition while his parents are prevented from visiting him and have not been provided medical information on the condition of their son. Furthermore, one can see from the picture that Ahmed is bound to his bed, in violation of juvenile law, which bars [such] constraints on a minor” The group also alleged that this was done with the cooperation of medical staff “either through their consent or their silence,” and warned against a “dangerous erosion of the rules of professionalism and medical ethics,” particularly during times of confrontation, it would be expected that the heads of the medical system would withstand political and public pressures.

On November 20, 1989, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a landmark for human rights. Here for the first time was a treaty that sought to address the particular needs of children and to set minimum standards for the protection of their rights. It is the first international treaty to guarantee civil and political rights as well as economic, social, and cultural rights. It comes as no surprise therefore that the United States is one of the few nations that have refused to ratify the Convention, and that Israel ― with its usual arrogance and hallmark contempt for international law including human rights ― deliberately targets Palestinian children who are systematically detained by the military and police who subject them to violent physical and verbal abuse, humiliation, painful restraints, hooding, threats with death, physical violence, sexual assault, and denial of access to food, water, and toilet facilities. Such barbarity against children has been well documented by human rights organisations such as Defence for Children International Palestine.

“The room is barely wider than the thin, dirty mattress that covers the floor. Behind a low concrete wall is a squat toilet, the stench from which has no escape in the windowless room. The rough concrete walls deter idle leaning; the constant overhead light inhibits sleep. The delivery of food through a low slit in the door is the only way of marking time, dividing day from night. This is Cell 36, deep within Al Jalame prison in northern Israel. It is one of a handful of cells where Palestinian children are locked in solitary confinement for days or even weeks. One 16-year-old claimed that he had been kept in Cell 36 for 65 days. The only escape is to the interrogation room where children are shackled, by hands and feet, to a chair while being questioned, sometimes for hours.” (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/jan/22/palestinian-children-detained-jail-israel)

Which one is the real terrorist?

In the case 13-year-old of Ahmed Manasra ― Whose trial began on November 10 for allegedly stabbing two Jewish settlers whose own savage crimes against Palestinians go unpunished ― it has to be asked whether Manasra is a dangerous terrorist or a victim of an “Apartheid” about which Noam Chomsky said “In the Occupied Territories, what Israel is doing is much worse than apartheid . . . To call it apartheid is a gift to Israel, at least if by ‘apartheid’ you mean South African-style apartheid . . . What is happening in the Occupied Territories is much worse. There is a crucial difference. The South African Nationalists needed the black population. That was their workforce . . . The Israeli relationship to the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories is totally different. They just do not want them. They want them out, or at least in prison.” Is it just possible that growing up in such an environment drives children to rebel with acts of violence? Are they not entitled to retaliate against the illegal occupation of their land and the barbaric persecution of themselves and their families? Are they to accept being driven from their homes and being ethnically cleansed without objection or resistance? And will the child, Ahmed Manasra ― a victim of Zionism’s Master Plan for a “Greater Israel” ― receive a fair trial? I think not. Israelis are not renowned for either humanity or justice.


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