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Children Under Occupation

In the past 12 years, Israel has detained and jailed over 7,500 Palestinian children. Children are often denied their protected rights as minors and are thrown into the military court system. This page is a collection of +972’s coverage of issues affecting children under occupation.

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  • Ban Ki-moon and the detention of Palestinian children

    The connection between settlements and the military regime that detains some 1,000 Palestinian each year is becoming harder and harder to ignore. By Gerard Horton In recent weeks some media attention has focused on whether Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon would, or would not, include Israel on the UN’s list of states responsible for violating children’s rights in armed conflict. This follows the receipt of a draft report in which Ban's special envoy for children and armed conflict, Leila Zerrougui, recommended that Israel should be listed, citing as one reason, the high proportion of children killed during last summer’s war in Gaza.…

  • Who protects Palestinian children from the police?

    Three East Jerusalem children wait for hours in an Israeli police station — their parents aren’t notified and their lawyer isn’t allowed to speak with them. The case exposes a gaping black hole in the laws regulating the treatment of minors and their representation by public defenders in Israel. By Alma Biblash and Michael Salisbury-Corech Israeli police arrested three children — 10, 11 and 13 years old — in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan last Thursday evening on suspicion of throwing stones. Undercover officers arrested them and took them to the Shalem police station, next to the Old City. [tmwinpost]…

  • My Palestinian mother was like Baltimore’s Toya Graham

    In the first Intifada, my mother recognized the need to resist but she also wanted to keep her daughter safe — so she locked the doors and hid the keys. But if we are to be consistent, shouldn't police officers' mothers be responsible for stopping brutality? Shouldn't Israeli soldiers' mothers put a stop the arrests and mistreatment of Palestinian children? By Nadia Naser-Najjab The image of Toya Graham berating her own son and pulling him away from confrontations between police and protestors in Baltimore, where police brutality has sparked violent protests, resonated so deeply for me. I had witnessed this…

  • The illusion of change in the West Bank military courts

    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…

  • Israel must provide alternatives to prison for Palestinian minors

    It's time to advocate for the mental health treatment and education of Palestinian children detained in Israeli military prisons. Untreated post-traumatic stress disorder will only fuel their continued hatred and aggression towards the authorities. By Leah R. Platkin A painfully violent video went viral last month, showing two Israeli soldiers ordering dogs to attack a 16-year-old Palestinian Hamza Abu Hashem. The incident took place months earlier but the video was only circulated in March by former Knesset member Michael Ben-Ari, on the eve of Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress. Ben Ari hoped the video would teach Palestinian children a lesson,…

  • PHOTOS: Answering tear gas with flowers

    Photos and text by Oren Ziv / Activestills.org Every Friday residents of the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, along with Palestinian, Israeli and international activists, attempt to march to the village’s spring. The small spring was taken over by Israeli settlers from the nearby settlement of Halamish years ago, and the Israeli army now prevents Palestinians from reaching it. Before the protest this past Friday, children from Nabi Saleh placed flowers they picked from the surrounding hills into spent tear gas canisters fired at protesters in weeks past. The children of Nabi Saleh take part in the protests against…

  • 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 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…

  • IDF soldiers fire tear gas at West Bank school

    Dozens of students suffer from tear gas inhalation; army claims stone-throwing youth fled into the school. Israeli soldiers fired large quantities of tear gas into the yard of a high school in the Palestinian village of Burin, near Nablus on Monday. According to Rabbis for Human Rights, the incident took place during the morning roll call, and a number of students suffered from tear gas inhalation. According to Ma’an, soldiers also fired bullets into the air. An Israeli military spokesperson told Ma’an that stones and empty bottlers were thrown toward settlers’ cars in the area Monday morning, and the youths…

  • Is every Palestinian kid who throws stones a terrorist?

    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…

  • A pretense of progress for children in Israel's military courts

    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…

  • PHOTOS: Gaza's children face an uncertain future

    Israel's latest offensive on the Gaza Strip killed more than 500 children. Those who survive must endure ongoing trauma and displacement. Photos by Anne Paq and Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org Text by Anne Paq I visited Al Nada towers in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip after they were destroyed by Israeli strikes. The towers had 90 apartments, home to many families. Mohammed, an 11-year-old child, was sitting on top of rubble, waiting to go to school. As I was working on a series of images of destroyed bedrooms, I asked him to bring me to his home to show me…

  • In J'lem, thousands of Palestinian students have no classrooms

    There is a shortage of 738 classrooms in East Jerusalem – only 38 percent of Palestinian children are registered in the municipal education system. The problem is not lack of funds, but a planning policy designed to prevent development in Palestinian neighborhoods of the city. By Aviv Tatarsky As the Israeli school year begins, let's do a little math. There is a shortage of 408 regular classrooms and 330 kindergarten classrooms in East Jerusalem. This does not include replacing the 681 classrooms currently not up to code. In addition, there is a shortage of 1,636 classrooms in the official, public…

  • 'Despite reforms, IDF still mistreating Palestinian children'

    Nearly two years after Israel said it would work to improve its treatment of the Palestinian children it detains, there have been a few small positive developments. But ill-treatment of Palestinian minors still appears to be ‘widespread, systematic and institutionalized,' a report by Military Court Watch says. By Gerard Horton In September 2011, a delegation of nine lawyers from the UK, including a former attorney general and Court of Appeal judge, visited Israel-Palestine to investigate the treatment of children in Israel’s military judicial system. The resulting report – Children in Military Custody – published in June 2012, found that Israel’s military detention…