Newsletter - May/June 2020
Detention figures – According to the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), as of 31 May 2020 there were 4,236 Palestinians (West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza) held as “security prisoners” in detention facilities including 142 children (12-17 years). In the case of children there was a 15% decrease in the number compared with the previous month and an annual decrease of 10% compared with 2019. Two children are currently held in administrative detention. According to the IPS, 77% of child detainees were forcibly transferred and/or unlawfully detained in Israel in May in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. More statistics
MCW Annual Report (2019-2020) –
This report considers developments relating to the arrest and detention of children by the Israeli military in the West Bank in 2019/20. In addition to reviewing relevant legal and procedural changes the report considers the findings from 100 testimonies obtained from children detained in 2019. As in previous years the evidence establishes a clear link between child detention and proximity to a settlement or associated infrastructure. The report also considers the forcible transfer and unlawful detention of children outside the West Bank in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Report
New military order – Military Order 1651
(Criminal Code) has recently been amended to increase the maximum sentence that can be imposed on children aged 12-13 years in the military courts. Previously, Article 168(B) of MO 1651 limited the maximum sentence for a “juvenile” (12-13 years) to 6 months in prison. Military Order 1885
has amended this Article to remove the limitation in cases involving murder, manslaughter or aggravated assault. There now appears to be no upper limit on sentences that can be imposed on juveniles convicted of these offences. Generally less than 1 percent of children prosecuted in the military courts are under 14 years.
UK lawyers’ report: 8 years on –
This month marks 8 years since a delegation of UK lawyers reviewed the treatment of Palestinian children under Israeli military law and published their findings. The Foreign Office funded report – Children in Military Custody – found undisputed evidence that the military detention system violates at least 6 articles under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and 2 articles under the Fourth Geneva Convention. The report concluded by making 40 recommendations.
MCW has reviewed progress made in implementing the report’s 40 recommendations - 1 recommendation has been substantially implemented. Read more
Annual Report of the Secretary General on Children and Armed Conflict –
On 15 June 2020, the UN released the Annual Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict. The report highlights global trends regarding the impact of armed conflict on children in 15 locations currently on the agenda of the Security Council, including Israel and Palestine. The report covers the period January to December 2019. In relation to child detention, the report notes that the “United Nations received affidavits from 166 children who reported ill-treatment and breaches of due process by Israeli forces, including physical violence and one threat of sexual violence.” Read more
Trump Administration threatens the International Criminal Court –
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that the Trump administration would soon release a series of announcements against the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Pompeo’s announcement comes against the backdrop of ICC investigation against the United States for alleged war crimes in Afghanistan and pre-trial procedures against Israel and Hamas.
Speaking in an American Enterprise Institute podcast, Pompeo said that “You’ll see in the coming days a series of announcements not just from the State Department.” Read more
A child’s testimony –
On 13 January 2020, a 17-year-old minor from Beit Ummar was arrested by soldiers 1:30 a.m. He reports being interrogated multiple times without always being informed of his legal rights and being held in solitary confinement for 17 days. “There was loud banging at our front door at around 1:30 a.m. I woke up and my father opened the door. About 20 soldiers entered our home. We were terrified to see such a large number of heavily armed soldiers inside our small house. My younger sister, who is three-years-old, could not stop crying. They searched our house and took out all our clothes and threw them on the floor. about my arrest.” Read more
A soldier’s video testimony: “To create the sense of persecution” –
In this video a former Israeli soldier provides a testimony to Breaking the Silence describing how a “sense of persecution” was created amongst the residents of Hebron. “To create the sense of persecution among the residents, one of the methods is the mappings and we used to make mock arrests. Once the company was sent out to a house where there’s no intelligence on the people, they don’t belong to any terrorist organization, there are no weapons in the house. We know they are innocent civilians. We go in and practice an arrest. We surround the house, a unit enters.” Watch video