In 2010 and 2011, activist Gerry O’Sullivan spent five months living in Hebron, volunteering with the Christian Peacemakers Teams and the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel. After her visit, O’Sullivan worked with the Huston School of Film at the National University of Ireland, Galway to produce a 25 minute documentary film about the arrest and detention of Palestinian children by Israeli forces.
“Stolen Children, Stolen Lives” brings together interviews conducted by O’Sullivan with footage recorded by Defence for Children International, B’tselem, Breaking the Silence, and Youth Against Settlements. The film centers on four Palestinian boys, the youngest aged nine, who were arrested by Israeli forces in Hebron on 24 February 2010. The four describe the conditions of their arrest and detention and the pressure that they felt to sign false confession documents. Several also discuss residual psychological affects of the experience, including night terrors triggered by later encounters with Israeli security forces.
The film also includes interviews with activists from the Palestine Section of Defense for Children International, Breaking the Silence, the Christian Peacemakers Teams, and No Legal Frontiers. Many of these activists conclude that the arrest and detention of Palestinian children is primarily intended as a deterrent to nationalist resistance to occupation, rather than a punishment for specific crimes.
“Stolen Children, Stolen Lives” can be viewed online here.