Newsletter - February 2016
 
Detention figures – According to the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), as of 31 January 2016, there were 6,072 Palestinians (West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza) held as "security prisoners" in Israeli detention facilities including 406 children. In the case of children there was a 4 per cent decrease in the number compared with the previous month but an annual increase of 87 per cent compared with 2015. These figures include 2 children held under administrative detention orders. According to the IPS, 34 per cent of Palestinian children and 86 per cent of adults continue to be detained in facilities in Israel in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. A further 1,700 Palestinians were held in IPS detention as "criminal prisoners" including 17 children. Criminal offences include entering Israel without a permit, most frequently in pursuit of work. More statistics
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FCO funded lawyers’ delegation cancelled – For the second time a return visit to the region by a delegation of senior UK lawyers to update progress made in implementing the recommendations contained in the 2012 report – Children in Military Custody – has been postponed or cancelled. In August 2014 a return visit was postponed with Israeli officials citing the war in Gaza as the reason. In February 2016, the delegation learned that the Israeli government was unwilling to engage with the lawyers and as a result the second planned trip has been cancelled. This follows a statement made in the UK parliament on 6 January 2016 by the Under Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs that the government “will continue to make this issue a focus of our engagement with Israel, and we plan to fund a follow-up visit by the delegation in February 2016 to report on further progress." Read more
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Testimony – On 1 February 2016, a 17-year-old girl from Halhul is detained at a military checkpoint in Bethlehem and accused of wanting to stab a soldier. She is released on bail 8 days later. “Two months before I was arrested my brother was shot dead by Israeli soldiers during clashes in the village. I have been suffering a lot since his death and I am in a very difficult psychological state of mind because I was very close to my brother. On the day of my arrest I went to a military checkpoint in Bethlehem in order to cross over to Jerusalem. As soon as I arrived at the checkpoint soldiers closed the checkpoint and aggressively grabbed and held me. I didn’t have a knife or anything like that on me.” Read more
 
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Two interviews with the ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda – On 24 February, Larissa van den Herik, a Professor of Public International Law and a fellow at the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies and Leiden Law School interviewed the ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda in a 42 minute video recorded interview about the work of the Court and current investigations. The second interview appeared in The Jerusalem Post on 25 February and takes a close look at how the ICC Prosecutor views the issue of war crimes in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and sheds light on how the court will proceed with claims against Israel.
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Is the UK turning a blind eye to war crimes? - During a debate on children held in Israeli military detention in the UK Parliament on 6 January 2016, it was recommended that, consistent with the UK’s legal obligations, a watch list should be maintained at all UK ports of entry including the names of all who commit, aid, abet and procure the commission by another person of the unlawful transfer of protected persons – adults and children – from the occupied territories to prisons inside Israel. Assurances were also sought from Tobias Ellwood MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs, that any individual on the watch list who attempts to enter the UK should be detained for questioning. Read more
 
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