Some 331 Palestinian minors were arrested by Israel between January and May this year, a 62 per cent increase on figures from 2012 to 2015, NGO Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) revealed yesterday.
According to a report released by the human rights group, Israeli forces regularly abuse Palestinian children, depriving them of food, subjecting them to beatings and preventing them from accessing legal counsel.
Accountability Programme Director at DCIP, Ayed Abu Eqtaish, stated: “For over a decade, ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system has been widespread and systematic.”
From the persistent and institutionalised ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children, to the systematic denial of their due process rights, emerges a system of control far removed from justice.
DCIP records of cases between January and June also show that 81 per cent of Palestinian children were strip searched upon detention, two thirds were denied legal counsel prior to interrogation and only three had a parent present during proceedings.
The report details that one of the youngest children to be detained was 12-year-old Suheib from a refugee camp in the occupied Ramallah-area. He was allegedly throwing stones when he was knocked to the ground by Israeli officers and then restrained, beaten and blindfolded. He was subsequently held overnight at a police station where he was interrogated and denied food for 24 hours.
In another case, a 13-year-old boy known only as Anas M. was tortured as an Israeli soldier grabbed his neck and attempted to strangle him.
Israel prosecutes up to 700 children each year in military courts. Last month DCIP held a congressional meeting on the situation of Palestinian children over 50 years of illegal occupation, concluding that Israel’s actions against minors outdoes all security rationale.