Detention figures
End of December 2023:

Security Prisoners

Adults: 8,171
Children: 137
Total: 8,308

Percentage held in Israel:

Adults: 74%
Children: 49%

Administrative Detention

Adults: 3,239
Children: 49
Total: 3,288

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Newsletter - January 2017

Detention figures – The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) reported in December 2016 that the vacant Freedom of Information (FOI) officer's position has now been filled. This officer is responsible for compiling and publishing prison statistics on a monthly basis. The position remained vacant throughout much of 2016 resulting in incomplete and delayed data. The IPS advises that it will recommence supplying monthly data within weeks. The most recent data provided by the IPS in accordance with the outstanding FOI application relates to August 2016 when there were 5,988 Palestinians held as "security prisoners" including 319 children. These figures include 10 children held in administrative detention. According to the IPS, 50% of child prisoners and 85% of adults continue to be transferred and detained inside Israel in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. More statistics

Norwegian Ambassador responds to unlawful transfer question - On 8 December 2015, MCW wrote to Norway's Ambassador to Israel, Mr. Jon Hanssen-Baur about Norway's legal obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention in response to Israel's policy of transferring and detaining protected persons outside occupied territory. On 31 January 2017, the Ambassador responded stating that: "Norway has raised the issue of detainee rights on all relevant levels in our dialogue with the Israeli authorities - including the highest political levels. We have placed particular importance on the issue of minors in detention in these conversations. We will continue to promote these issues on the bilateral and the multilateral level, with an emphasis on existing obligations under international law." Official responses to this issue have also been received from the US and UK consulates in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem Quarterly: "A letter from Ofer" - There is almost nowhere to shelter from the burning July sun as we wait patiently for the security gate to click open at Ofer military court near Jerusalem. Separating us from an adjacent enclosure is a chain wire fence beyond which are jammed Palestinian families waiting to be processed through a series of ID checks and body searches so that they can attend a brief court appearance of a loved one. It is still early but the journey for these families is already hours long and most look tired and resigned to waiting many hours more in this hot and soulless place.To pass the time, we review pictures on a sign listing the items we are prohibited from taking with us into court: bombs, guns, and knives, of course, but also phones, flash drives, and anyone under sixteen years old. Read More
A soldier's video testimony: "These things, they happen all the time" - In this video a former soldier provides a testimony to Breaking the Silence about the routine nature of violence during arrest operations in the West Bank. "The detainees are simply people you come to arrest. You're told: 'You have to arrest him. He lives in this house.' You're not told exactly what he did. Sometimes you are told but it could be a tall tale. Stone throwers, car thieves, journalists ... You don't know what they did. They were mainly kids too. I remember one of the soldiers of my company ... we knew that he was put in jail ... he hit a handcuffed detainee with his helmet. Now these things happen all the time. The commanders know about them and somehow they're acceptable. The commanders never support it, but they know that it's done." View video
A child's testimony - "At around 9:30 a.m. on 9 January 2017, I left school with some friends after my exam. Near the entrance to the school  I saw an Israeli military jeep and some boys were throwing stones at it. When it was all over I headed home via a side road. A military jeep followed my down the side road and a soldier shot me in my foot with a rubber bullet as I tried to run away. After being shot I fell to the ground and three soldiers came over and pushed me down further into the ground. They swore at me and called me son of a whore. One soldier sat on my stomach and caused me a lot of pain. I was terrified. At this point the headmaster and another teacher came out of the school and tried to reason with the soldiers to let go of me." Read more
Torture: As described by the interrogators themselves - For years, the Israeli establishment has tried to conceal what happens in interrogation rooms. When interrogators use torture – or “special means,” to use the establishment’s term – the concealment efforts are redoubled. Even when testimony of torture reaches the public, the system does everything it can to leave the interrogators’ role in darkness, including signing lenient plea bargains with suspects who were tortured to ensure that the conspiracy of silence remains unbroken. People who have undergone interrogation have described various methods, from interrogators screaming in their ear, to blows, to being forced into painful positions for long periods. To date, however, all these descriptions have come from the complainants. Read more
African leaders plan mass withdrawal from international criminal court - Decision reached at African Union summit follows announcements by South Africa, Burundi and the Gambia that they plan to leave the court. African leaders have adopted a strategy calling for a collective withdrawal from the international criminal court. The non-binding decision came behind closed doors near the end of an African Union summit. It was the latest expression of impatience by African leaders with the court, which some say has focused too narrowly on Africa while pursuing cases of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Late last year, South Africa, Burundi and the Gambia all announced plans to leave the court, leading to concerns that other states would follow. Read more
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