The detained children — a group distinct from those in prison — are not allowed to move freely or even go to school without an escort. They are forced to wear tracking devices.
More than 600 Palestinian children were kept under house arrest by Israeli occupation forces in 2022, according to the Commission for Detainees’ and Ex-Detainees’ Affairs, a prisoners’ rights body, which issued a statement on Dec. 26.
Minors were detained by the Israeli state for periods ranging between a few days and, in some cases, years, Wafa news agency reported.
The detained children are not allowed to move freely, or even go to school without an escort. They are also forced to wear tracking devices throughout the detention period.
The commission describes two kinds of detention of Palestinian children. One is in which the child stays with their family while an Israeli court decides on the case. This often takes months, and the family is often forced to pay a heavy amount as surety. To access such large sums of money, families often have to take loans or sell their property.
In the second category, Israeli forces make Palestinian families take their children outside the city or town during the period of the trial, and arrange for their own stay there while the court decides the matter.
The commission notes that such Israeli detention leaves prolonged physiological effects on both the children and their families. It deprives the children of their right to education and creates a constant feeling of fear, anxiety and deprivation.
Israel’s treatment of Palestinian children violates the provisions of international humanitarian law, which specifically addresses protecting the interests of children while setting the conditions of their detention.
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Until 2009, when Military Order 1644 was promulgated by Israel in the West Bank, Israeli courts would try Palestinian children as young as 12 in the same courts as adults, and with no specific protections in place. Military Order 1644, however, set up separate military courts for the trials of children, and determined the Palestinian age of maturity to be 16. Israel does not classify Palestinians over the age of 16 as children, despite the age of maturity for Israelis being 18 years.
Deadly Year for Palestinian Children
At least 54 Palestinian children have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers in the occupied territories in 2022. Out of these, 35 were killed in the occupied West Bank, and 19 in the blockaded Gaza strip. At least 958 Palestinian children were wounded by Israeli forces or settlers across the occupied territories in the same period, and over 750 have been arrested or detained.
At least 150 Palestinian children, below the age of 18, are in different Israeli prisons serving various sentences.
Israel is known for its systematic #unchilding of Palestinian children.
Ahmad was captured at age 13 and is serving a 9.5 year sentence.Due to abuse and torture he developed multiple mental illnesses including schizophrenia.He has been in solitary since Nov2021#FreeAhmadManasra pic.twitter.com/q2W6fRnwI9
— Hala Alani (@Thejourneyend) December 26, 2022
Some sources quote a higher number of children killed by Israeli forces this year in the West Bank. According to Defense of Children-Palestine (one of several Palestinian human rights groups the Israeli government has branded as “terrorists” and banned), “Israeli forces repeatedly and systematically shoot to kill Palestinian children in violation of international law.” It claims that 13 Palestinian children were killed in Jenin alone this year.
The youngest Palestinian child killed by Israeli forces was 7-year-old Rayan Suleiman. He was being chased by Israeli forces, who were threatening to arrest him near Bethlehem, when he died of cardiac arrest.
According to the U.N., more than 166 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank this year, making 2022 the deadliest year for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since 2005, when the U.N. started recording daily deaths.
Jenin, in the northern occupied West Bank, has been particularly targeted by occupation forces this year under the “break the wave” operations launched in March. In near daily raids, Israeli forces have killed 59 Palestinians in Jenin alone this year.
Apart from Israeli armed forces, illegal settlers in the occupied West Bank have also killed at least four Palestinians this year, and carried out numerous attacks on Palestinian villages, their farm lands, and their businesses.
This article is from Peoples Dispatch.
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