Detention figures
End of September 2020:

Security Prisoners

Adults: 4,027
Children: 157
Total: 4,184

Percentage held in Israel:

Adults: 81%
Children: 73%

Administrative Detention

Adults: 371
Children: 2
Total: 373

Criminal Prisoners

Adults: 1,262
Children: 6
Total: 1,268

Grand total

Adults: 5,289
Children: 163
Total: 5,452

More statistics
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Newsletter - August 2019

Detention figures – According to the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), as of 31 August 2019 there were 4,787 Palestinians (West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza) held as “security prisoners” in detention facilities including 185 children (12-17 years). In the case of children there was a 12% decrease in the number compared with the previous month and an annual decrease of 24% compared with 2018. One child is currently held in administrative detention. According to the IPS, 55% of child detainees were forcibly transferred and/or unlawfully detained in Israel in August in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and potentially Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. More statistics 


Hand ties and blindfolds: update – Israeli army regulations for restraining children require three loose ties to the front avoiding pain while UNICEF recommends a total prohibition against blindfolds. According to the latest evidence collected by MCW, only 21 percent of children who are tied are done so in accordance with army regulations. Some children continue to describe the plastic hand ties as “very tight and painful” or “unbearably painful”. In disregard of UNICEF’s 2013 call for a prohibition, 93 percent of children continue to be blindfolded following their arrest. Although there is no security reason for using blindfolds, the evidence does suggest that the practice psychologically degrades children prior to interrogation. Comparative Graph


Haaretz: Army forced to admit blindfolding detained Palestinians is against protocol –  A petition to the High Court of Justice has forced the military to reiterate and clarify regulations that forbid blindfolding detained Palestinians and to admit that soldiers had exceeded their authority by doing so. The petition was filed at the end of May, after activists collected two and a half years’ worth of evidence from Palestinian shepherds in the Jordan Valley who were routinely detained by Israel Defense Forces soldiers during this time. The shepherds were handcuffed and often blindfolded for several hours while in detention. Although the petition focused on blindfolding, it also argued that the shepherds were generally detained only for punitive purposes. Read more


Annual report of the UN Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict –This year’s report again omits to mention that most Palestinian child detainees are forcibly transferred and/or unlawfully detained in prisons located in Israel in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and potentially the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. It is unclear why this information was omitted but it is relevant to note that the forcible transfer of child detainees from the West Bank is classed as a war crime under the Convention and the evidence of its occurrence comes from the Israeli Prison Service. Since 2006, the Secretary-General has referred to the forcible transfer of children in six reports, the last time being in 2014. Read more


Military courts update briefing note – A military briefing note distributed at Ofer military court near Jerusalem has been updated. The briefing note remains substantially unchanged and continues to rely on the Fourth Geneva Convention as the legal basis for prosecuting Palestinian civilians in military courts. While Article 66 of the Convention provides the legal basis for an occupying power to temporarily prosecute civilians in military courts, the same Convention prohibits settlement construction. The cherry-picking of these legal obligations included in the Convention continues to erode the credibility of, and confidence in, “the rules based international order”. The briefing note also includes a new provision limiting access to cases involving children at the judge’s discretion, even in circumstances where parents wish to have outside observers present.


Journal of Conflict and Security Law: Rulings of the Israeli Military Courts and International Law – When a foreign citizen wishes to coordinate a visit to the Israeli Military Courts in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) in the West Bank, they are handed an official pamphlet in English that starts with the statement: 'The Military Courts in Judea & Samaria were established according to International Law.” Later, the pamphlet identifies Article 66 of the Fourth Geneva Convention as the legal source of its operation. This research examines precisely this point, asking how the Military Court’s identification of its jurisdiction as being derived from IHL impacts its rulings in terms of international law? Read more


A child’s testimony – On 29 August 2019, a 16-year-old minor from Nahhalin was arrested by Israeli soldiers on his way home from school at 12:30 p.m. He reports being interrogated without first consulting with a lawyer or being informed of his right to silence. “I was on my way home after school when an Israeli military jeep drove by and a group of young boys threw stones at it. It was at around 12:30 p.m. The soldiers responded with tear gas and my eyes started to burn so I ran away from the area. A soldier stopped me and wanted to know why I was running away. Two soldiers stepped out of the  jeep and accused me and my friend of throwing stones at them. I denied the accusation and told the soldiers I was running away from the tear gas.” Read more


A soldier’s video testimony: “This house in ours”  –In this video a former Israeli soldier provides a testimony to Breaking the Silence describing how the military randomly takes over Palestinian homes for hours, days and sometimes months confining the residents to one room. “Occupying houses was pretty routine. We did it almost all the time for whatever reason, if we had to make an arrest or search houses, even just to let them know that we’re there. It happened a lot in Hebron, but during my entire service occupying a house was pretty routine […] The families whose home was occupied were chosen at random. We’d walk into a house at random and say, 'okay, this is it’. Or strategically, it was the tallest building.” Video


717 Testimonies                                             Annual Report (2019)                                            Videos