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Gerard Horton

  • The forced transfer of Palestinian detainees — why it matters

    International law is clear that prisoners should not be transferred outside of an occupied territory — both to allow their families access to them and to prevent forced population transfer. But that's not all that's at stake. By Gerard Horton Palestinian children detained in the Israeli military detention system should be held in facilities located in Palestine, as opposed to Israel, in accordance with international law, UNICEF recommended in its 2013 report, Children in Israeli Military Detention (2013). The latest figures released by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) indicate that since UNICEF made this recommendation the percentage of Palestinian children…

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  • Pilot limiting night arrests of Palestinian kids falls short

    The Israeli army implemented a pilot program last year to serve Palestinian children with summonses instead of snatching them from their beds in the middle of the night. Some of those summonses, however, were delivered by soldiers in the middle of the night. By Gerard Horton Following widespread criticism of the the Israeli army’s use of night raids to arrest minors in the West Bank, in February 2014 military authorities announced a pilot program to issue minors with summonses instead. The thinking behind using summonses is that you limit the need for night raids, which generally terrify individual households and…

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  • Business as usual for children arrested by the IDF

    Despite lofty promises and pilot programs aimed at improvement, evidence points to little change in the patterns of abuse Palestinian children are subjected to when arrested by the Israeli army. By Gerard Horton The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in March 2013 that it would study the conclusions of a UNICEF report on children held in military detention which found that ill-treatment appeared to be “widespread, systematic and institutionalized” and work to implement them through “ongoing cooperation” with the UN agency. Two-and-a-half years on and around 2,250 arrests later, there is new evidence as to how this “cooperation” is…

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  • 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…

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  • 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…

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  • '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…

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  • Data shows worsening situation for children in Israeli military detention

    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…

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  • Political solution or not, the bottom line is equal rights for all

    The military law applied to Palestinians must provide rights and protections no less favorable than those afforded to Israeli citizens living in the settlements. By Gerard Horton Last month, Israeli housing minister Uri Ariel announced the approval of 1,200 more houses for settlers in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, adding to the 520,000 already living there, including Mr. Ariel himself. Only time will tell, but this announcement, like the many that proceeded, may one day prove to contain a fatal sting in the tail for the idea of Israel as a democratic state with a Jewish majority. For there is…

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