Detention of Palestinian Children: The UNICEF Report–One Year On

One year ago UNICEF–the United Nations International Children’s Fund–released a pretty damning report on the treatment of Palestinian children while in Israeli military detention. The report found that, among other things, homes were typically raided in the middle of the night, that children were tied up or shackled and blindfolded, physically abused, insulted, and forced to sign statements in Hebrew, a language which, in many cases, they did not understand.

The report made a number of recommendations for rectifying the situation. Now, one year later, comes a progress report noting that while some minor changes have been made, many children continue to suffer abuse in Israeli detention. The following is from the website Military Court Watch, which monitors the treatment of children in Israeli custody.

***

The UNICEF Report–One Year On

[31 March 2014] – One year ago UNICEF published the report – Children in Israeli Military Detention. Following a review of over 400 sworn testimonies and after consulting widely, UNICEF’s primary conclusion was that:

“The ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process, from the moment of arrest until the child’s prosecution and eventual conviction and sentencing.”

To mark the anniversary Military Court Watch (MCW) has today published the findings of it own review of progress made in implementing UNICEF’s 38 recommendations – Progress report – 12 months on.

The review notes that in recent years there have been a number of noteworthy developments in the military detention system relating to minors, such as: the provision of some education for Palestinian children held in Israeli detention; the establishment of the Military Juvenile Court; new procedures for the use of hand-ties; a partial rise in the age of majority; a reduction in the time in which children must be brought before a military court judge for the first time; remand hearings for children generally held separately from adults; a reduction in the time a child can be detained before being indicted; a reduction in the time between indictment and the conclusion of the trial from two years to one; and no children held in administrative detention since December 2011.

However, the ultimate litmus test of the system still remains: how are children treated in practice? In order to assess this, MCW analysed 60 sworn testimonies taken from children detained in the system since the publication of UNICEF’s report, focusing particularly on the first 24 hours of detention. The findings of this evidentiary review are as follows:

#
Description
No
%
1
Hand tied
54
90%
2
Blindfolded
48
80%
3
Signed/shown documents in Hebrew
34
57%
4
Physical abuse
33
55%
5
Arrested at night
28
47%
6
Verbal abuse
26
43%
7
Threats
25
42%
8
Transferred on floor of vehicle
25
42%
9
Strip searched
15
25%
10
Informed of right to silence
5
8%
11
Parent present throughout interrogation
4
7%
12
Consulted with lawyer before interrogation
3
5%
13
Solitary confinement
2
3%

Also as part of the review, each of UNICEF’s 38 recommendations has been considered and assessed as to whether they have been substantially or partially implemented, or not implemented at all during the past 12 months. The findings of this review are presented in the following table.

#
Compliance
Number
Percentage
1
Substantially implemented
1
3%
2
Partially implemented
4
10%
3
Not implemented
33
87%
 

Whilst it is clear from public statements and certain amendments to the military law that the civilian and military authorities have taken note of UNICEF’s findings and recommendations, it is difficult to point to any changes that have led to any significant improvement in the way children are being treated during the first 24 hours of their detention. Accordingly, 12 months on MCW is unable to provide an alternative assessment to UNICEF’s conclusion that the ill-treatment of children in the system still appears to be “widespread, systematic and institutionalized”.

***

The UNICEF Progress Report is available here in PDF form. Perhaps especially interesting is the section entitled “Annexure D–Testimonial Evidence,” which begins on page 40 and includes the testimonies of 12 children who were detained at some time over the past 12 months since the initial report’s release. Here is an excerpt from one of them, a 15-year-old boy arrested on April 7, 2013 and accused of throwing stones:

A.N. was taken to the nearby settlement of Gush Etzion. He was taken to a room and asked some questions about his health by a female doctor. He was not physically examined and remained tied in the presence of the doctor. After about 10 minutes he was led outside and made to sit on the ground, still tied and blindfolded. Sometime later he was led into a room. “Someone said to me in Arabic: ‘Do you throw stones?’ I was still blindfolded and I didn’t know who was talking to me so I asked the person to identify himself. The person replied: ‘It’s none of your business.’ I told him I wasn’t going to answer any questions until the blindfold was removed. I was then made to kneel. Someone lifted the blindfold and I saw a big policeman standing by my side. I saw another person sitting behind a small desk. There was a chair in the room but they didn’t make me sit on it. The person behind the desk asked me: ‘Do you throw stones?’ When I told him I didn’t throw stones he got up and slapped me across the face. I tasted blood in my mouth and I was terrified.” The policeman and the interrogator then left the room for a short time. “When they returned the policeman kicked me while I was kneeling. I lost my balance and fell over. The policeman asked
me: ‘Who else was with you when you were throwing stones?’ I said: ‘I already told you I didn’t throw stones.’ The interrogator then kicked me from behind and knocked me over. My shoulder hit the metal chair and I felt sever pain. I was bleeding. At this point I confessed to throwing two
stones,” says A.N.
 
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5 Responses to Detention of Palestinian Children: The UNICEF Report–One Year On

  1. ariadnatheo says:

    Yet American Jews support this state from hell…
    “American Jews are actually being trained since childhood to interact with non-Jews in a deceitful and arrogant manner, in coordination with each other, to emotionally destroy non-Jews and Israel critics in addition to wrecking their careers and interfering with their social relationships. This is actually deliberate, wicked, planned behavior motivated by a narcissistic self-righteous fury. …

    The problem is that non-Jews are taught through emotional pressure and violence via the media and the school system to be very sensitive to Jewish suffering so when a Zionist becomes outraged at them for challenging their world view, the non-Jew really has to fight against his own inner self in a huge battle against his “inner Jew” making him feel inadequate and intimidated. But the Jew doesn’t care how much he or she hurts others. Jews only care about what’s good for the Jews. …

    ……

    If you mention cutting off the money or if you mention the possible compromise of living with Palestinians as equals in one state they become very angry and start using bullying tactics, unless they have some reason to fear you, in which case they shun you and complain about you to the authorities, try to get you arrested or try and destroy your career or social status through character assassination. …

    Zionists all believe in the myth of “1000 years of Jewish suffering” and feel that the world owes them compensation for their ancestors’ “unique” suffering. It’s a criminally insane viewpoint. They cope with the contradictions between their belief that they are the good guys and what Jews are actually doing to their neighbors, both in the Middle East and in the US, by developing mental health issues. Most Zionists are functional schizophrenics.”

    http://www.radioislam.org/gaza/macdonald.htm

  2. John says:

    If these statistics were related to any civilised Western legal system there would absolute public uproar but because it relates to children in a land far away no notice is taken. The UK government carried out a similar fact finding survey a couple of years and produced recommendations which – just as outlined above – the Zionist authorities have largely ignored. The fact is that Zionists can only be categorised as uncivilised barbarians. They are not fit to be included in any form of civilised society and why these Zionist reprobates have any influence over US politics is a complete mystery to me. The only conclusion one can come to is that most Western societies’ elites are just as wicked as the fascist elite which now controls Israel and large areas of Palestine.
    One can only feel utter contempt for both sets of elites.

  3. chrisberel says:

    Edmondson, you say you weed out antisemitism yet you have it on so many posts. Who but an antisemite would allow this?

  4. John says:

    There is only one antisemite on this blog: Chris Berel.

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