Palestinian children detained and mistreated in Israel

29th Aug 2014

Eman Al-Zubaydi

A large number of Palestinian children are being imprisoned and mistreated in the Israeli Military court system. Each year approximately 500-700 Palestinian children face prosecution. Since the beginning of 2010 to mid-2014, nearly 3,000 Palestinian children have been arrested according to Addustour newspaper.

Most commonly they are charged with ‘stone throwing’. Defence for Children International-Palestine (DCI-Palestine) reports that there are currently 99 child prisoners detained inside Israel in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Following the disappearance of three Israeli settlers on June 12, the Israeli Government launched an arrest campaign in the West Bank lasting 18 days. Six Palestinians were killed during the operation including Mohammad Dudeen, a 15-year-old from Hebron. In June alone, Israeli forces imprisoned over 700 Palestinians, 202 of them were children.

Previously, children as young as 12-year-old had been detained and prosecuted in the Israeli military detention system. In June however, the youngest documented was14-years-old who was detained and being subject to abuse.

59 children have confirmed that they went through some form of ill treatment during their detainment by the Israeli military. Some children have been forced to undergo interrogation without a lawyer present, whilst others have had to sign papers in Hebrew. Hand ties, blindfolds and physical violence were all a part of the torturing experience that these children have suffered. There are no strict guidelines exercised for the protection of minors being detained and most of the time they are unable to have their parents with them.

The detaining of Palestinian children by the Israeli court has been an on-going issue for several years. A DCI-Palestine report emphasised the increasing number of Palestinian children forced into solitary confinement by the Israeli court for purposes of interrogation. The same report also highlights that in 2013 alone, solitary confinement was used in over 21% of cases. The periods children stayed in confinement was averaged at 10 days, however the maximum case documented reached 29 days.

A new pilot programme, which Israel was set to adopt, has seen no successful attempts. It would require Israeli military and intelligence to summon Palestinian children for questioning as an alternative to arresting them from their homes at night. The pilot also fails to address the issues that children face once they are in military custody. Unjustified and forceful interrogations still occur against the Palestinian children.

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