Rights group calls on Israel to stop arresting Palestinian children in night raids
An Israeli legal group has submitted a request to Israel’s Supreme Court asking that the Israeli army stops arresting Palestinian minors during night time raids of their homes, the Jordanian daily Al Bawaba reported.
The HaMoked Centre for the Defence of the Individual - an Israeli NGO based in the occupied East Jerusalem, which provides free legal aid to Palestinians living under occupation - has called for the process of arresting Palestinian children to be regulated.
The group has also urged for Palestinian minors summoned for interrogation to be at least accompanied by their adult members of their families.
"It should be the last option for a soldier to invade a family home in the middle of the night and drag a teenage boy from his bed," director general of HaMoked Jessica Montell, told Arab News.
"The military should exhaust all possible ways to bring someone in for questioning before they engage in this very traumatic practice for the kid who is being detained, and for the whole family," she added.
The arrests, often with handcuffs and blindfolds, result in torture and psychological pressure to the children and their relatives, according to The Palestinian Prisoners Society’s (PPS) head Qdura Faris.
HaMoked provided data stating that only six Palestinian minors between September and December 2021 were accompanied by family members when interrogated by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank.
The PPS said that Israeli forces arrested at least 230 children between January and April 2021, where the majority are arrested in occupied Jerusalem.
The PPS also add that at least 180 Palestinian children are currently detained in Israeli prisons, the majority of whom likely to be in pre-trial detention and have yet to be convicted of any offence.
"[The children] are subjected to various forms of abuse, including being denied food or drink for long hours, verbal abuse and being detained under harsh conditions," the group added.
As of 2021, there are at least 4,650 Palestinians, most of them political detainees, currently held in Israeli prisons, according to official data.