© THOMAS COEX – AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Israeli soldiers arrest a young Palestinian boy following clashes in Hebron on June 20.
2014 was a harrowing and devastating year for many people living in Israel and Palestine. Violations of human rights, racism, and hatred did not stop after the 2014 Gaza war and today are commonplace. Presently, there is imminent concern for the increasing numbers of wrongfully detained Palestinian children from East Jerusalem and the West Bank who are subject to ongoing state violence, severe psychological trauma, and denied the basic human right to education.
Throughout 2014, increasing numbers of Palestinian youth were targets of Israeli authorities' systematic raids, arrests, and violence. According to DCI-Palestine
, an average of 192.8 Palestinian children per month were placed in Israeli military detention facilities from January through November 2014. However, there are likely several hundred more Palestinian minors (under age 18) from East Jerusalem under house arrest or in detention. Many of these children have been arrested during night raids by armed Israeli forces that remove them from their homes in a terrifying and often violent manner. They are frequently handcuffed, blindfolded, beaten, and heavily disoriented when transferred to interrogation. In most cases, the children's parents have no knowledge of their whereabouts, and the detainees receive no legal counsel. Minor detainees are often coerced into submitting a confession for a crime they did not commit. Some children are placed into solitary confinement, which is not only a breach of international law, but also considered a form of torture for minors.
A 2013 UNICEF report identified the maltreatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention as "widespread, systematic, and institutionalized." Sadly few reforms have been made since then. Laws continue to be violated and more children suffer. The Israeli Military Order 1651
defines a child as a person under age 12. Palestinian detainees ages 12 and above can be sentenced in Israeli military courts, which violate international law and Israeli juvenile law.
The sentence for stone throwing and other offenses committed by Palestinian minors can result in a maximum of 20 years. These sentencing periods do not include jail time or house arrest prior to the trial. Furthermore, detainees are not permitted to attend school during pre-trial detention.