New report by HaMoked: Childhood in Chains - The Detention and Interrogation of Palestinian Teenagers in the West Bank
Palestinian teenagers from the West Bank are waken by soldiers in the middle of the night, taken directly from their beds on a grueling journey in military custody, at constant risk of violence at the hands of security personnel. Following the journey, the teenagers are interrogated in a state of fear and exhaustion, often without having had anything to eat or drink for many hours and without having been permitted to relieve themselves. In the majority of cases, the teenagers are not able to consult with a lawyer before or during their interrogations, and are not permitted to contact their parents at any point during their interrogations. The teenagers' parents are not notified regarding their son's whereabouts, and are often only able to locate their child
with HaMoked's help.
In many cases, the teenagers are subjected to numerous "rounds" of interrogation by several questioners, who may include military personnel, Israel Security Agency (ISA) officials, or Israel Police investigators. The majority of the interrogations are not audio-visually recorded at all. Between interrogation rounds, the boys are sometimes held in isolation in difficult conditions, completely cut-off from the outside world. During the interrogations, the boys are subjected to threats, humiliation, and sometimes even physical violence. The right to silence is not clarified to the teenagers in the vast majority of cases, and they are often pressured to sign confessions in Hebrew, which they are unable to read.
This situation is reflected in 29 affidavits collected by HaMoked, between July and October 2017, from Palestinian minors from the West Bank who were arrested and interrogated by Israeli security forces during 2017. Similar findings
arose from affidavits collected in 2016 from 32 Palestinian minors arrested in the West Bank. It is therefore evident that the above description reflects an ongoing policy of violations of the rights of Palestinian minors who are arrested and interrogation by Israeli security forces.
The various Israeli authorities treat Palestinian teenagers purely as a security threat, without any consideration of the vulnerability resulting from their age. This approach is also reflected in the legal gap between Palestinian minors and Israeli minors: the law applying to the arrest and interrogation of Palestinian minors is the harsh military law. By contrast, Israeli minors, including those living in West Bank settlements, are entitled to the protections of the Israeli Youth Law.
HaMoked is engaging in advocacy efforts with both the Israeli military and the police, to address the systemic problems we have identified. The responses we have received to date are categorized by a pervasive denial of the existence of any problem. Read the report