Four Corners - Stone Cold Justice
The Israeli army is both respected and feared as a fighting force. But now the country's military is facing a backlash at home and abroad for its treatment of children in the West Bank, occupied territory. This joint investigation by Four Corners and The Australian newspaper reveals evidence that shows the army is targeting Palestinian boys for arrest and detention. Reporter John Lyons travels to the West Bank to hear the story of children who claim they have been taken into custody, ruthlessly questioned and then allegedly forced to sign confessions before being taken to court for sentencing.
He meets Australian lawyer Gerard Horton, who's trying to help the boys who are arrested, and talks to senior Israeli officials to examine what's driving the army's strategy. The program focuses on the stories of three boys. In two cases the army came for the children in the middle of the night, before taking them to unknown locations where they are questioned.
As Four Corners discovered, though, Palestinian children have more to fear than the Israeli army. Lyons shows clear evidence that Israeli settlers in the West Bank regularly attack Palestinian school children, knowing the authorities will not intervene. He also discovers there are two legal systems operating. One for Israeli children and one for young Palestinians. It's an impossible situation that may provide temporary security for Israel, but in the long term may well breed a new generation of Palestinians prepared to do anything to gain retribution.
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