Detention figures
End of June 2023:

Security Prisoners

Adults: 4,678
Children: 161
Total: 4,839

Percentage held in Israel:

Adults: 80%
Children: 72%

Administrative Detention

Adults: 1,113
Children: 18
Total: 1,131

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Newsletter - January/February 2020

Detention figures – According to the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), as of 31 January 2020 there were 4,520 Palestinians (West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza) held as “security prisoners” in detention facilities including 183 children (12-17 years). In the case of children there was a 2% decrease in the number compared with the previous month and an annual decrease of 8% compared with 2019. Three children are currently held in administrative detention. According to the IPS, 70% of child detainees were transferred and/or detained in Israel in January 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 


Corona Virus update - On 5 March 2020, the Israeli military authorities in the West Bank announced new measures in response to the Corona Virus including: a reduction in the number of hearings at the military courts; the use of video links to eliminate the need to transport prisoners to court; and the suspension of public access to the courts until further notice. These measures will be reviewed in early April. Anecdotal evidence suggests hearings at Ofer military court have now fallen from about 200 cases per day to around 15 cases. Prison visits for family members, lawyers and social workers have also been suspended. Read more


Use of blindfolds: update – In August 2019, lawyers for Israel’s military sought to dismiss a petition in Israel’s High Court which claimed widespread use of blindfolds on Palestinian detainees in violation of military regulations. The lawyers sought to dismiss the petition on the grounds that “military orders and regulations forbid the blindfolding of detainees, and action to clarify the rules to the troops acting in the region has been taken and will continue to be taken on a continuous basis.” However, based on recent evidence collected by MCW, 91 percent of Palestinian children detained by the military in the West Bank continue to report being blindfolded. Comparative Graph


International Criminal Court update - On 20 December 2019, the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) concluded her 5-year preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine and announced that “there is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes have been or are being committed”. At the request of the Prosecutor the case was then referred to Pre-Trial Chamber I of the Court (the Chamber) to determine if there is jurisdiction to proceed to a formal investigation. On 28 January 2020, the Chamber issued an order setting the procedure and the schedule for the submission of observations related to the scope of the Court’s territorial jurisdiction. Read more


A child’s testimony – On 29 December 2019, a 15-year-old minor from Al Arrub refugee camp was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 3:00 a.m. He reports not being informed of his right to silence but consulting with a lawyer over the phone for about 15 seconds. “There was very loud banging at our front door at around 3:00 a.m. which woke me up. My father answered the door and about 10 Israeli soldiers entered our home. They asked to check our ID cards. After checking our ID cards the commander gave my father a document telling him to bring my 12-year-old brother to the police station later that morning.” Read more


A soldier’s video testimony: “Cleaning him so we could release him”: In this video a former Israeli soldier provides a testimony to Breaking the Silence describing how after an operation, the soldiers returned to the base with a detainee who was a 14-15-year-old boy. On the way to the base the prisoner defecated and vomited on himself out of anxiety. The military police refused to receive him as he was filthy with his own vomit. As a result, the soldiers hosed him down in the courtyard of the base while handcuffed and blindfolded so that they could release him. “One time we returned to the base with a detainee, a 14-15-year-old boy.” Watch video


750 Testimonies                                       Annual Report (2019)                                                Videos
This issue was produced with the financial support of the German Federal Foreign Office. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Military Court Watch.