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IDF suspends plan to minimize nighttime arrests of children

Despite concerns raised by the international community, the army suspends a pilot program meant to lessen the number of Palestinian children arrested in night raids.

By Gerard Horton

Night raid in Nabi Saleh 2011 (Tamimi Press)

Night raid in Nabi Saleh, 2011. (Tamimi Press)

A pilot program by the Israeli army in order to lessen the number of Palestinian children arrested in nighttime raids has been suspended, according to Israel’s chief military prosecutor.

The program was announced by Israel’s military authorities in February 2014, and called for issuing written summonses instead of arresting children during night raids in the West Bank. The announcement followed concerns raised in the UK, The Netherlands and Australia about the devastating impact of repeated nighttime incursions into Palestinian communities. In 2013, UNICEF published a report that graphically described these nighttime arrests as follows:

Many of the children arrested at home wake up to the frightening sound of soldiers banging loudly on their front door and shouting instructions for the family to leave the house. For some of the children, what follows is a chaotic and frightening scene, in which furniture and windows are sometimes broken, accusations and verbal threats are shouted, and family members are forced to stand outside in their night clothes as the accused child is forcibly removed from the home and taken away with vague explanations such as ‘he is coming with us and we will return him later,’ or simply that the child is ‘wanted.’ Few children or parents are informed as to where the child is being taken, why or for how long.

On January 15, 2015, Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders made a statement to the Dutch Parliament on the progress being made in implementing the pilot program. Koenders informed Parliament that on November 12, 2014, a conversation took place with Israel’s chief military prosecutor in the West Bank in which it was stated that the pilot program began in February 2014 in both the Nablus and Hebron districts.

According to data collected by Military Court Watch, there was a 5 percent reduction in the number of children arrested at night during the period in which the pilot program was operational. However, in 67 percent of cases in which summonses were issued, they were delivered by the military after midnight in a process that continues to terrify the civilian population. And despite the slight improvements brought upon by the plan, the military did not keep any statistics on the program.

The available evidence suggests that no genuine attempt has been made by the military authorities to effectively replace night arrests with summonses, and that the pilot program has not been implemented in good faith. The evidence includes the following factors:

1. Few details of the program were made public to allow for an independent assessment.

2. Although the program was launched in pilot form, military authorities now concede that no statistics were kept to enable internal or external assessment.

3. Two-thirds of the summonses were delivered at night during military raids.

4. The military official responsible for the implementation of the pilot study resides in a West Bank settlement. The evidence indicates that repeated nighttime raids by the military are an essential element in the army’s strategy of “demonstrating presence” in Palestinian villages located near settlements, and amounts to a systematic pattern of intimidation. These circumstances reveal a clear conflict of interest.

According to Koenders, the chief military prosecutor claimed the program was being suspended “due to the escalation of violence during this past summer,” but that the army still intends to “resume and expand the program.” The Israeli Prison Service, however, has been reporting an actual fall in the number of Palestinian minors held in detention since August.

In September 2014, Military Court Watch released a progress report following a review of 105 testimonies collected from children held in Israeli military custody. The report found that UNICEF’s 2013 assessment 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” remains valid until today.

No date for the resumption of the program has been given.

Gerard Horton is a lawyer and co-founder of Military Court Watch. Gerard has worked on the issue of children prosecuted in the Israeli military courts for the past seven years and is the author of a number of leading reports on the subject. Read this post in Hebrew (here) on our sister site, Local Call.

Related:
A pretense of progress for children in Israel’s military courts
‘Despite reforms, IDF still mistreating Palestinian children’

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    COMMENTS

    1. Mikesailor

      Interviewer: Today we will interview Col. Ignataz about the new IDF policy of not arresting Palestinian children after midnight. So, Colonel, what about this new policy?

      Ignatz: What new policy?

      Interviewer: The policy against arresting minor children after midnight?

      Ignatz: How can we tell? We don’t issue watches to our soldiers. Is that supposed to be Eastern Daylight Time or perhaps Greenwich Mean Time? We strictly follow orders in the IDF and somewhere it must be before midnight.

      Interviewer: How many fewer arrests have your troops made with this new policy?

      Ignatz: Who can tell? We don’t keep statistics on Palestinian arrests. Now if you ask me how many settlers stubbed their toes this week, that I have on computer.

      Interviewer: Then how can you tell if the policy works?

      Ignatz: If the Likud and other members of the coalition scream about it, then it must be working. Who needs numbers or facts when you have the Zionist warning system of “who screams loudest”?

      Interviewer: So then, the policy is a success?

      Ignatz: Of course. You haven’t seen any ICC investigators around here yet? You will tell me if they come, won’t you? I have my French passport in my safety deposit box and I’ll need to pack if those antisemites ever appear.

      Interviewer: No. at least not yet. Thank you for your time, Colonel. And that ends this episode of “Ask the IDF”.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Bruce Gould

      A U.N report just came out: over 1,100 Palestinian homes demolished in 2014. Let’s see….about how many homeless people does that create?

      Reply to Comment
    3. Pedro X

      In the real world arrests often happen at night when the perp can be located in his bed. The Palestinian authority does the same.

      I was reading about a raid last night in the Balata Camp. The PA security forces did a raid at 4.00 am. 5 were arrested and detained. The PA says it will be back to crackdown on all of the fugitives in the Nablus area.

      Maan added to the report saying

      “PA security forces often conduct late-night raids in the homes of Palestinians across the West Bank, sometimes in conjunction with “security coordination” with Israel.”

      So if the PA does this and coordinates night time arrests with Israel, can Palestinians complain when Israel treats their fugitives the same?

      Reply to Comment
      • Lo

        So you’re going to point to the tactics of the US-trained, Israeli-backed PA security services as a justification for the behavior of Israeli security services?

        If your logic were any more circular, CERN would want to start slinging particles through it.

        Reply to Comment
    4. bar

      So they should arrest in daytime and face potential riots, firebombs and rock attacks?

      Are you trying to increase potential for injuries to Palestinians and Israelis?

      Reply to Comment
      • Bryan

        This just seems to pose is a little conundrum. If the legitimate forces of law and order, (indeed the most moral army in the world), acting with great sensitivity, interrupt their precious kip to make arrests at an optimum time to minimize “potential injuries for Palestinians” why is it that they would meet “riots, firebombs and rock attacks” had they conducted the same sensitive and legitimate operations during day-light hours? Is their possibly a problem with the legitimacy of the occupation? Perhaps you could spend a little more time trying to convince the local population that the occupation is human and benign and in their best long-term interests, (since it doesn’t seem likely to end any time soon) rather than simply trying to disguise its true nature to Europeans like Bert Koenders?

        Reply to Comment
    5. John Pilkington

      Why children, Bar? Doesn’t the jokey answer about watches from Col Ignatz say it all? There is no public accountability in the IDF and one day, they might turn on you if you say something they don’t agree with, but by then it will be too late.
      (Just a minute.. haven’t I heard that before somewhere? )

      Reply to Comment
    6. Mikesailor

      Pedro Pan & Bar: How can you tell? The IDF has admitted it never kept any records. Therefore, trying to tell which method of “arrest” works better is unknown. Now, if you want to use Gestapo tactics on the unarmed, and terrorize everyone in the house, then using these “surprise” arrests may be just the ticket. Remember, these tactics are not really for the arrest of the minor children, they are a method used to terrorize both the families and their neighbors. By defending these tactics without any evidence to show they are more effective than not, aren’t you making up stories? You guys should be regulars on whatever cartoon network they have in that benighted country: Pedro Pan, the boy who refuses to grow up and his sidekick Bar from the Island of Lost Souls. When you can make a cogent argument as to why summons to the families aren’t used, or that arrests pursuant to summons cannot be delivered during daylight hours, make one. Otherwise it is a cowardly process used by stormtroopers to terrorize the innocent.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Ben

      Just appalling. Shameful. This is the logical outcome of the notions of Jewish supremacy possessed by the Bayit Yehudi people and their ilk. If a single Jewish child was treated like this every rationalizing, excusing poster here would be up in arms and crying to high heaven. The Europeans need to ratchet up their oversight.

      Reply to Comment
      • ICat

        You have not made a single argument for- or contra arresting underage children at night and there is nothing to respond to. All you did is rant, Ben, as usual. In case you missed Bar’s comment above (we know you only listen to yourself), I will re-post it to you again:

        “bar
        Tuesday
        February 3, 2015

        So they should arrest in daytime and face potential riots, firebombs and rock attacks?

        Are you trying to increase potential for injuries to Palestinians and Israelis?”

        Does that clear thing up for you, Ben (Zakkai)?

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          What a useless little racist dick you are.

          Reply to Comment
          • ICat

            Are you – again – stewing in your own juice, Ben (Zakkai), hallucinating about “racists” and “dicks” and unable to verbalize your thoughts and make coherent arguments? Take it easy, Ben. No hard feelings on this side.

            Reply to Comment
          • Irit

            Hurrah for Ben! Someone finally told this little sh*t the truth.

            Reply to Comment
          • ICat

            Irit, because you, like Ben (Zakkai), are not able to verbalize your thoughts and make coherent arguments wherein you express those thoughts, you harbor a lot of anger that builds up over time and emerge once in a while to shout: “hurrah for Ben” after Ben (Zakkai) shouts the word “dick”? It seems that word has a magical effect on you. This is a damn good movie to watch at +972! Love it.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            1. There can be no excuse for the treatment of the children as UNICEF describes, despite the cold, heartless ‘legal’ claptrap above. It is obvious that the aim is intimidation, oppression, “keeping them in their place,” and not “security.”
            2. The behavior and statements of the IDF and the authorities are not those of people who think they are not guilty.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Poor Meravie. If anyone ever took him seriously they don’t anymore.

            Reply to Comment
          • ICat

            Are you “seeing things” again and “hearing voices”, Brian? Don’t worry Brian, like the Eagle on a treetop I am watching and tracking you and you know it. Like the American Sniper, I lie in wait, watching and waiting.

            Reply to Comment
          • ICat

            Brian, you are now acting nervous and childish – exactly as I want you to present yourself to the world. Keep doing that, moron. You are where I need you to be and you don’t even know it, brainiac.

            Reply to Comment
        • Bryan

          The arrest of young children in the middle of the night, carefully calculated to cause maximum intimidation, isolating them from parental support and access to lawyers, and to encourage confession when they are at their most vulnerable, is clearly indefensible, so I am glad you do not attempt to defend it beyond quoting someone else’s ridiculous argument. Were Jewish juveniles suspected of throwing stones to be treated with such cavalier disregard of human rights you would be the first to squeal outrage. I’m guessing, but you might possibly argue that it is justified that settlers have some sort of right to be present in the West Bank, but what you cannot possibly defend is the completely different legal systems and treatment which apply in that land depending merely upon whether you are “Jewish” or “Palestinian”.

          Reply to Comment
          • ICat

            Your scurrilous vitriol and diatribes are unsurprising and do not qualify as informed arguments no matter how hard you pretend to know anything – though you are a complete old turd.

            “The arrest of young children in the middle of the night, carefully calculated to cause maximum intimidation, isolating them from parental support and access to lawyers, and to encourage confession when they are at their most vulnerable, is clearly indefensible”.

            Malicious conjecture unsupported by facts. Btw. children arrested in your own country has as much parental support as do children arrested by Israeli authorities.

            “Were Jewish juveniles suspected of throwing stones to be treated with such cavalier disregard of human rights you would be the first to squeal outrage.”

            Mumbo jumbo. Neither are Young Israeli and Palestinian children “treated with cavalier disregard of human rights” nor do nighttime arrests constitute such a disregard. If the circumstances of the arrest of an Israeli minor demands that the arrest be made at night, so it shall be.

            “I’m guessing, but you might possibly argue that it is justified that settlers have some sort of right to be present in the West Bank, but what you cannot possibly defend is the completely different legal systems and treatment which apply in that land depending merely upon whether you are “Jewish” or “Palestinian”.

            Yet another scurrilous vitriol. You hallucinate in your “guessing”. Being “Jewish” or “Palestinian” does not determine your treatment under Israeli law, but nationality. All Israelis: (Arabs/Palestinians, Muslims, Jews, Christians, Druze, etc.) are equal under the law. 98% of Palestinians living in the West Bank live under the government they themselves chose, the laws they themselves make for themselves and the police and judges appointed by the government they themselves elected. What is so confusing about that, you little old turd?

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            I gotta laugh at the way I’m improving Merav’s (ICat’s) vocabulary. I call his lies “scurrilous” and the next thing you know he’s winging it like a frisbee at others. “Oh hey, look at that cool word I think I’ll use it to be a more ‘classy’ type hoodlum.” I should start charging him tuition.

            Reply to Comment
          • ICat

            Brian, what can anyone ever learn from you – a moron – whose mind is empty, who lacks the power of thought and can only “cut, copy and paste” the opinion of pundits from Haaretz, Richard Silverstein, etc. to compensate for his own intellectual inadequacies? Ok, Brian, time to teach you another lessen. Pls. provide evidence of where you used the word “scurrilous” and I will provide evidence to demonstrate that I OR someone else have/has in fact used that word before you and that you borrowed it from me Or that other person(s) (someone you are actually infatuated and obsessed with)! Let’s play your game on your own terms and prove to you that even ‘that game’ you cannot win, moron.

            Reply to Comment
          • ICat

            We are still waiting, Brian. Pls. provide your evidence.

            Don’t be such a chicken.

            Provide your EVIDENCE, moron!

            All eyes are now on you.

            (Btw. Brian, “hoodlum” is a word you borrowed from Ginger Eis. But we get to that later. As I told you before: “one by one”. That’s how we gonna take it).

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            The word “scurrilous” dates from the 16th century so I doubt that either of you can establish copyright. However since it derives from the Latin “scurra” = buffoon, I guess it is particularly suitable for you Icat. Mind you, you have taught and retaught and reinforced in my mind a word which I have never heard in polite company – your repeated and very eloquent destruction of any argument by invoking the magical word “turd”. I looked it up and it means “a rude word for someone you don’t regard as pleasant”. Well I can happily live with that because to be pleasantly regarded by someone of your frame of mind would be the ultimate insult.

            Reply to Comment
    8. Ginger Eis

      The juveniles arrested go out during the day and throw rocks at fast moving cars. Some of their victims were forced to crash their cars killing all the occupants. Some of their victims make it out of their crashed cars alive but with severe bodily injury. One of the latest of such victims is Ayala Shapira. Ayalla is 11yrs old. As she traveled with her father in their family car, Molotov cocktails were thrown inside said car. The car was consumed in fire and Ayala was severely burnt, suffers- and will suffer severe pains and physical limitations for the rest of her life, while (in all probability) wheelchair bound (she is able to move her limbs for now, but it remains to be seen if she will ever walk again in a meaningful way). While the fate of Ayalla and other Jews (oh sorry, I meant “Zionists”, not Jews, hihi hihi) who ended up dead in such attacks, is of no concern to the haters masquerading here as “human rights” activists, but instead the “nighttime arrest” of people who perpetrate murder, attempted murder, attempts to cause severe bodily harm to innocent others, arson, etc., it might be worthwhile to point to similar cases in other Western countries. The video clip below offers just a glimpse of how our good ol’ United States of America deals with these kinds of juveniles, all of whom will prefer the Israeli criminal justice system.

      Watch. And weep!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnqNroEafTE

      Reply to Comment
        • Ginger Eis

          Summarizing

          1. Nighttime arrest is in harmony with both Israeli and International (Humanitarian) law and, as such, beyond being perfectly legal, also moral.

          2. In all Western countries, arrests are executed at the best opportune time – as determined by LE. Arrests are judged and made on a case by case basis. The circumstances of specific arrest determines the manner in which it should be executed – regardless of whether or not the juvenile involved is Israeli (and Israelis Arabs, Jews, Druze, etc.!) and Palestinian Children living in Judea & Samaria.

          3. Anyone who thinks otherwise must make a series of coherent arguments based on (a) the facts and (b) the law to buttress his views. Anyone who wants to discuss the rights and wrongs of “the occupation” should do that in the appropriate thread. This thread is about “nighttime arrests” and the legality and/or morality thereof, yes?

          Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            Don’t be so daft Ginger – I thought you were a little brighter and possibly better informed than to make such absurd arguments. Dawn raids occur under most police jurisdictions (note the military are not involved in civilian policing) but there is a crucial difference. Please name another state where people of one ethnicity are tried in civil courts and people of another ethnicity are tried in military courts. Please name another state where the rights of defendants are so transparently different depending upon their ethnicity with regard to (1) minimum age for custodial sentence, (2) age of majority, (3) legal right to have a parent present during interrogation, (4) legal right to have interrogation audio-visually recorded, (5) maximum period of detention before being brought before a judge, (6) maximum period without access to a lawyer, (7) maximum period of detention without charge, (8) maximum period of time between detention and charge, (9) percentage of cases in which bail is allowed, (10) percentage of cases in which a custodial sentence is imposed, (11) likelihood of suffering torture, etc, etc. (see Defence of the Child International Reports comparing treatment of Israeli and Palestinian children within the West Bank). There was indeed shock in Israeli society when a judge in the Nazareth juvenile court (such good guys do exist but are unfortunately a minority) refused to imprison a young Arab accused of stone-throwing, saying “the State is not authorized to caress with one hand the Jewish “ideological” felons, and flog with its other hand the Arab “ideological” felons. If the state feels that ideological offenses justify relatively forgiving enforcement for minors, then this should be the policy towards all minors regardless of nationality or religion” (see Ynetnews 11/11/2009).

            Reply to Comment
          • ICat

            Another series of hysterical, scurrilous vitriolic diatribe from a psychotic old turd called “Bryan, who while not able to present a single fact to support any of his idiocy, wallows in his delusion that he is saying anything meaningful. Go find something useful to do with what remains of you poor empty old life instead of this lunatic fixation on- and hatred of Israel.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            How scurrilous of you.

            Reply to Comment
      • Bryan

        An utterly harrowing story Ginger which no one would condone. But three points (1) Do you regard it as in any way foolish or neglectful of the family’s security that the parents have chosen to live in the illegal outpost of Al Matan? (2) I’m very glad you keeping very carefully track of the number of children – injured or killed in this conflict. Can you give us an update on the latest Israel-Palestine score? (3) Do you regard the maiming / burning of every child (Israeli or Palestinian) as being equally tragic?

        Reply to Comment
    9. Mikesailor

      Ginger: I see you are up to your old tricks again. Don’t you get tired of spreading crap to deflect from the issue at hand? The IDF announced a policy to limit arrests of minors after midnight. The IDF apparently never followed their own announced policy as evidenced that they never kept any records nor statistics too gain knowledge as to whether this “new” announced policy worked or not. In other words, they lied. Now, what could be simpler than that? If you say you will do something, yet don’t do it and never even put in place the perquisites for such policy change, than one can safely say you lied and never intended to perform in the first place. Now, why would the IDF announce a policy they never intended to implement? Does the ICC ring a bell? Blatantly lying seems to be the new hasbara. Spreading patent falsehoods is an interesting new tack for the hasbaristas but, if one looks beyond the distractions; ie. the ad hominem attacks or merely deflection by going off-topic, then you can see that the excuses of the Zionist have been rendered incredible. Come up with something better Ginger; How about why the IDF never kept records in the first place?

      Reply to Comment
      • ICat

        Mohamed…eh…”Mikesailor”, these are the killers/children you should be more worried about, instead of stewing in your own juice because the IDF arrests them at night:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqMce6loNhk

        Reply to Comment
      • Bryan

        Just when you wonder when the next racist bigot will be along, two turn up at once (Icat and Victor Arajs). All we need is Tomer and we will have an unholy Trinity.

        Reply to Comment
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