Military courts have operated in the occupied territories since the Israeli occupation began in 1967. To date, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been brought before these courts. The following B'Tselem report focuses on one of the central aspects in the work of the military justice system: remand in custody pending end of proceedings. With the exception of individuals tried for traffic violations, remanding Palestinian defendants in custody for the duration of the proceedings is the rule rather than the exception. One of the outcomes of this policy is that the vast majority of military court cases end in plea bargains.…Read More... | 3 Comments
The Israeli justice system – from its inaccessible police stations to its lenient prosecutors, from its negligent investigators to its judges who won’t convict – makes it clear to the Palestinians that there is simply no point in lodging complaints. By Yossi Gurvitz, written for Yesh Din “The spectrum of possible reasons for the lack of complaints may range from acceptance of the fact and a natural inclination not to complain, to disinclination to come in contact with the authorities, to fear resulting from a threat or concern of retribution, to reaching the conclusions from the lack of results in…Read More... | 1 Comment
Positive developments in the treatment of minors by Israeli security forces are overshadowed by partial and half-hearted implementation. By Gerard Horton In March 2013, UNICEF recommended that all children detained by the Israeli military in the West Bank must be given written information about their rights, including the right to silence and prompt access to a lawyer, at the time of arrest. This followed a finding by the UN agency that the ill-treatment of children detained in the system was “widespread, systematic and institutionalized.” In response, the Israeli Foreign Ministry announced that it would “study [the recommendations] and work to…Read More... | 10 Comments
Abdullah Abu Rahmah is levied a fine and a suspended sentence for standing in front of a bulldozer. 'I will continue my struggle and my protest, because it is our right,' he says. In his sentencing hearing, the military prosecution described Abu Rahmah's nonviolent protest as an ideological crime. By Yael Marom The Israeli army’s Ofer Military Court in the West Bank handed down a four-month suspended sentence and a NIS 5,000 ($1,290)to Abdullah Abu Rahmah, a central organizer of Bil’in’s nonviolent protests. Abu Rahmah, one of the central activists in the Palestinian popular struggle in the West Bank, was recognized…Read More... | 4 Comments
Abdullah Abu Rahmah has a sentencing hearing in military court after being convicted of standing in front of an IDF bulldozer. The nonviolent protest organizer from Bil'in who already served more than a year in prison has been declared a 'human rights defender' by the European Union. By Yael Marom Diplomats from the European Union, Sweden, France, the UK, Finland and Spain were present at a sentencing hearing for Palestinian non-violent Palestinian protest leader Abdullah Abu Rahmah at Ofer Military Prison in the West Bank on Sunday, along with dozens of Palestinian, international and Israeli activists. Abu Rahmah is a…Read More... | 20 Comments
A new report maps out the two separate legal systems in the occupied territories — one for Jews and one for Arabs. At a launch event for the report, senior jurists showed up and argued it's not their fault whatsoever. Former Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner asked: What can we do? The answer: A lot. (Translated from Hebrew by Ofer Neiman) There was something mesmerizing about listening to representatives of the legal establishment speak at a conference held by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) last week. Mesmerizing and terrifying. The hardest thing was hearing Dalia Dorner —…Read More... | 12 Comments
Israeli institutions seek to obtain the benefits of the international legal order while refusing to accept the corresponding burdens and obligations. By Gerard Horton For some time now the Israeli army's Military Courts’ Unit has distributed a five-page briefing paper to foreign delegations visiting military courts in the West Bank. The briefing paper is intended to persuade the reader that the military courts — which have been used to prosecute approximately 755,000 Palestinian men, women and children since 1967 — were established, and are currently operating, in accordance with international law. The document commences with the following statement: The Military…Read More... | 523 Comments
In a reality where children aged 10 and 11 are arrested by 18- and 19-year-old soldiers who have been indoctrinated for military service since kindergarten, this kind of discussion seems completely out of place. A human rights attorney spends the day at one of the occupation's more bizarre PR events. By Smadar Ben-Natan “Involvement of Children in Terrorism.” That was the rather confusing name given to a conference organized by the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC). What is the context for discussing the involvement of children in terrorism? What is meant by the word…Read More... | 65 Comments
A new amendment requiring military authorities to videotape interrogations of Palestinian minors may seem like a step in the right direction. That is, until you read the fine print. By Gerard Horton Change has been afoot since UNICEF published a report finding that the ill treatment of children held in Israeli military detention “appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized.” Most recently that change has come in the form of a new military order (Military Order 1745), which requires Israeli police in the West Bank to audio-visually record interrogations of minors. The order also stipulates that interrogations should be conducted…Read More... | 8 Comments
What would happen if Israeli progressives and their supporters demanded an end to the military court system, or called for freedom of movement for Palestinians? The answer: a lot. The two-state solution has long been transformed from a means (to solving the problem of the occupation) to an end. As I wrote here in the past, this change has had severe consequences as far as the Israeli political opposition is concerned. Those range from a de-facto acceptance of the status quo to a political alliance with the Right and support for all the latest rounds of violence. The excuses are always…Read More... | 37 Comments
Israel has detained over 7,000 Palestinian children over the past 12 years. Many of them report beatings, abuse and a denial of rights by security forces. It's time to put things in the wider context. The detention and abuse of Palestinian children by Israeli security forces has, for a change, been all over the international news media. Unfortunately, it took the severe beating of a 15-year-old boy who happens to have American citizenship for that to happen. Tariq Abu Khdeir was beaten by Israeli Border Police officers in Shuafat last week, during a protest against the brutal killing of of his…Read More... | 15 Comments
The Israeli military has implemented positive developments in its juvenile court system in recent years, and yet, regular allegations of serious abuses persist. A look at what has been done and what still needs to take place. By Gerard Horton Since the establishment of Israel’s military juvenile court in September 2009, there have been some noteworthy developments in the way children as young as 12 are treated in Israel’s military legal system. The establishment of the court has led to several changes, including: a reduction in the time in which children must be brought before a military court judge for…Read More... | 1 Comment
A UNICEF report indicates a measurable deterioration in the treatment of Palestinian children held in Israeli military detention in the months since the UN organization recommended serious changes. By Gerard Horton In March 2013, UNICEF published a report – Children in Israeli Military Detention. The report’s main finding was that the ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process. In response to these findings, the Israeli Foreign Ministry stated it would study the conclusions and work to implement the 38 recommendations through ongoing cooperation with UNICEF. Read +972′s…Read More... | 2 Comments
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