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Thousands of Palestinian children held by Israel since 2015: NGO

More than 9,300 Palestinian children have been detained by Israel since 2015, according to a local NGO.

In a statement marking World Children’s Day, the Palestinian Prisoners Society said on Saturday that Israeli forces rounded up 750 minors in 2022.

“Around 160 children are still in Israeli custody,” the statement said.

According to the NGO, eight minors, including three girls, are held by Israel’s policy of administrative detention, which allows the arrest of Palestinians without charge or trial.

“Children are subject to all forms of systematic abuses, including torture,” the statement said.

There was no comment from Israeli authorities on the statement.

In 1990, the United Nations set November 20 to celebrate World Children Day to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959.

Minors made up a quarter of 850 Palestinians Israel arrested last week

‘Dozens of violations’ against child detainees

The Palestinian Prisoners Society says that arresting children is a regular tactic of Israeli forces, usually using British Mandate-era regulations including “administrative detention”.

This allows the authorities to detain people indefinitely without charge or trial. Such cases involve children from towns and areas near illegal Israeli settlements established on Palestinian land. 

The Director of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Centre for Studies, Ra’fat Hamdouna, says that the occupation authorities commit dozens of violations against child detainees, including psychological and physical torture, threats and intimidation, sometimes with dogs. 

According to the studies centre, children held by Israel are tried in hostile military courts using unjust laws. 

Children face fines, solitary confinement, the use of force, detention in places unfit for minors and strip searches.

There are no special interrogation procedures for children detained by the Israeli military, nor are there provisions for an attorney or even a family member to be present when a child is questioned.

Children are often forced to sign “confessions” that they can’t read — written in Hebrew. Rights groups say trials are far from fair and are well below international standards.

According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, about 700 Palestinian children under the age of 18 from the occupied West Bank are prosecuted every year through Israeli military courts.

The most common charge levied against children is throwing stones, a crime that is punishable under military law by up to 20 years in prison. 

Since 2000, more than 12,000 Palestinian children have been detained, according to Addameer.

Israeli police mistreats Palestinian children: HRW report

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