JERUSALEM (Web Desk) – In a bid to squeeze Palestine further, Israeli legislators have legalised the imprisonment of Palestinian minors as young as 12 in case they are accused of grave crimes such as acts of terrorism against the state of Israel.
The “Youth bill” approved by 32 against 16 members would allow imprisoning a minor convicted of serious crimes such as murder, attempted murder or manslaughter even if he or she is under the age of 14.
Justifying the approval of the bill, Anat Berko, a lawmaker from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party and the bill’s sponsor, said “to those who are murdered with a knife in the hear it does not matter if the child is 12 or 15.”
Moreover, Israeli justice minister Ayelet Shaked threw his weight behind the “Youth Bill” when it came before a ministerial committee last year.
“Youths, such as Ahmed Manasra, who engage in terror and seek the death of Jewish civilians will not be shown mercy by the law,” media quoted her as saying.
Manasra, a 14-year-old Palestinian, was convicted in May of the attempted murder of two Israelis in a knife attack last October. He was 13 when he carried out the attack and is yet to be sentenced.
Human rights activists from around the globe are deriding Israel for the approval of the “Youth Bill” to catch minors.
Besides human rights activists from around the globe, Israeli rights group B’Tselem took aim at the legislation and Israel’s treatment of Palestinian youth in general.
“Rather than sending them to prison, Israel would be better off sending them to school where they could grow up in dignity and freedom, not under occupation. Imprisoning such young minors denies them the chance of a better future,” the group said in a statement.