Detention figures
End of June 2023:

Security Prisoners

Adults: 4,678
Children: 161
Total: 4,839

Percentage held in Israel:

Adults: 80%
Children: 72%

Administrative Detention

Adults: 1,113
Children: 18
Total: 1,131

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Newsletter - October 2017

Detention figures – The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) continues to experience difficulties in providing accurate and timely information regarding the number of Palestinian children in its detention facilities in accordance with an outstanding Freedom of Information application (FOI application). According to the IPS, as of 30 June 2017, 318 Palestinian children were held as "security prisoners" in Israeli detention facilities. This represents a 4 percent decrease compared with the previous month and an annual decrease of 17 percent compared with 2016. Out of 318 children, 10 were girls, representing 3 percent. There is currently no available data relating to age breakdown, administrative detention or the percentage of children transferred to prisons inside Israel in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. More statistics


Use of blindfolds - In 2013, UNICEF published a report which concluded that "the ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process". One of the contributing factors for this conclusion was that almost every child detained by the military in the West Bank was blindfolded on arrest, and remained blindfolded for many hours. UNICEF recommended that "the practice of blindfolding or hooding children should be prohibited in all circumstances". As of October 2017, 77 percent of detained children continue to report being blindfolded by the military in the West Bank compared with 81 percent in 2013. While there are no compelling security reasons for blindfolding children, the practice appears to psychologically weaken detainees prior to interrogation making them more compliant. Comparative Graph


Legality of occupation: UN articulates 4-point test - To mark the 50th anniversary of Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory (West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza) the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 has articulated an authoritative 4-point test to determine at what point a lawful military occupation becomes unlawful under international law. Prior to articulating the 4-point test, the Special Rapporteur, Professor Michael Lynk, noted that: "The inability to end the Israeli occupation has been an abject failure of international diplomacy, a darkening stain on the efficacy of international law and the source of multiple broken promises to the Palestinian people." Read more


MCW Briefing Note (Oct 2017) - This note considers recent developments in the military detention system including: delays in publishing detention figures; the right to a lawyer and admissibility of evidence; social welfare reports for bail applications; 4th anniversary of the UNICEF report; and 5th anniversary of the UK lawyers' report. The note also reviews the most recent evidence relating to: summonses and night arrests; restraints and blindfolds; notification of reasons for arrest; physical and verbal abuse; threats; access to lawyers; the right to silence; access to parents; bail and conviction rates; solitary confinement; and administrative detention. The application of dual legal systems in the West Bank is considered and the latest Israeli Prison Service data indicating that 74 percent of child detainees continue to be unlawfully transferred and detained outside the West Bank in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention is reviewed. Finally, the link between child detention and settlement activity in the West Bank is considered in light of the evidence. Briefing Note


A child's testimony - On 7 August 2017, a 15-year-old boy from Tuqu' is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 3:00 a.m. He reports being interrogated without first consulting with a lawyer or being informed of his right to silence. "I was working a night shift at my local bakery. At around 3:00 a.m. my uncle came by with about 10 Israeli soldiers. My uncle told me that the soldiers had already been to our house looking for me. One of the soldiers, who was wearing a face mask, held me by the arm and dragged me home. Once home the soldiers allowed me to change my clothes but did not allow me to say goodbye to my family. The soldiers gave my mother a document including handwritten details about my arrest noted in Hebrew. They asked my mother to sign the document and she did. Read more


A soldier's video testimony: "What do you do with the family when you take over their house?" - In this video a former Israeli soldier provides a testimony to Breaking the Silence describing how a Palestinian house is transformed into a military post; the family is confined to one room and is required to ask permission for anything they wish to do from the soldiers. "So we come quietly in the middle of the night, sneak over to some home, and enter. How do we get inside? By breaking the door. We have to, there's no other way. We break the door in, go inside, basically every time, and surprise the family members usually in their beds. Parents, children, whoever's there. We round them up, make sure they're all there, and put them in a room to get them out of the way." Watch video


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