Report: Night Arrests of Palestinian Children

12:00 Mar 22 2023 Occupied Palestinian Territories (oPT) الأراضي الفلسطينية West Bank & Jerusalem

Report: Night Arrests of Palestinian Children
HaMoked Report Graphic. Published by HaMoked

via Twitter


The Israeli military arrests hundreds of Palestinian children in late night arrest raids.
These arrests are traumatic for the teenage boy being arrested, for his parents & for younger siblings.

New HaMoked research suggests trauma is not a bug of the policy - it's a feature

In 2022 the military instituted a policy to issue a summons for Palestinian children rather than night arrests.
But out of 125 cases of pre-planned night arrests of Palestinian children documented by HaMoked last year – not ONE family received a summons.

Night arrests were used as a first recourse even when the child was detained for a short time & released with no charges.
The military's refusal to reduce these superfluous arrests suggests that they are, in fact, intended to frighten and intimidate the Palestinian population.

For the past three years, HaMoked has litigated against night arrests of Palestinian children. The High Court was scheduled to hear our petition in December.
This was postponed to March.
Now it's postponed again to May.
Meanwhile, traumatic night arrests of children continue.

HaMoked in new report on Israel’s pervasive night arrests of Palestinian children: Despite new procedure, in 2022, the military did not summon children for interrogation, arresting them even for minor offenses

On January 16, 2023, HaMoked published On Flimsy Grounds: Israel’s Pervasive Night Arrests of Palestinian Children, its third report in five years concerning this issue.

The report covers the latest developments in HaMoked’s litigation challenging Israel’s policy of night arrests and reveals new data. In late 2020, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice (HCJ) to compel the Israeli security forces to cease the widespread practice of night arrests of Palestinian children in the West Bank, and to rely on a summons via their parents as the first recourse when children are wanted for interrogation. The petition was based on dozens of affidavits of children who had been thus arrested, indicating that pre-planned night arrests are highly traumatic and accompanied by numerous violations of basic rights, yet are used by the security forces as the default for bringing in children for interrogation.

In its July 2021 response to the petition, the State announced a classified procedure had been formulated by the military and the Israel Police regarding “the summoning of suspected children before a pre-planned arrest in the Samaria and Judea Area [i.e. the West Bank]”. The State stressed that the new procedure would not apply to children “required for interrogation not by the Israel Police” or children suspected of “severe offences” or “with a criminal record of severe offences”. The Court ordered the State to submit an updating notice, after which HaMoked would be allowed to submit a revised petition. In February 2022, the State submitted to the Court official data regarding the implementation of the procedure in 2021 rom which it emerged that nothing had changed on the ground.

Therefore, on March 2, 2022, HaMoked submitted a revised petition to the HCJ, reiterating its demand that summons be used as the primary method for bringing Palestinian children for interrogation and that the new procedure be amended to bring about actual change on the ground.

On August 8, 2022, the State finally submitted its response to the updated petition, arguing that there was no call for judicial intervention, that there was no legal obligation to refrain from night arrests and that the procedure was never intended to have a significant impact on the scope of arrests of children in the West Bank.

New data compiled by HaMoked for submission to the Court show that in 2022, Israel continued and even exacerbated its unlawful practice of night arrests of children: Of the 125 families who contacted HaMoked this past year over the pre-planned night arrest of a child from his home, none received a summons beforehand. Moreover, the data revealed in the new report clearly suggests that almost all children thus arrested were not suspected of severe offences, as indicated by the fact that most of them were released soon after the arrest without any charges.

The report concludes that it seems the majority of these arrests are nothing short of arbitrary arrests, and that Israel’s refusal to alter its conduct in this matter leads to the conclusion that these arbitrary arrests are, in fact, a means to frighten and intimidate the population.

The petition is to be heard on March 2, 2023. Meanwhile, the Israeli military continues to subject children and their families to the lasting trauma of an unexpected nighttime invasion to their homes.

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