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Extent of night-time military raids in the West Bank
 
[3 March 2014] – On 26 February 2014, a briefing was conducted at Ofer military court by Israel’s chief military prosecutor in the West Bank, Lt.-Col. Maurice Hirsch. During the briefing, organised in response to a visit by the Young Democrats (Netherlands), data was disclosed indicating that 1,004 Palestinian children from the West Bank were detained by the Israeli military in 2013. According to the chief prosecutor 170 of these children (17 percent) were detained in the middle of the night during military raids on their homes. As far as MCW is aware this marks the first occasion in which the military authorities have publicly released data on the total number of children arrested by the military in the West Bank in any given year and the proportion arrested at night.
 
During the same briefing it was stated that a total of around 8,000 Palestinian men, women and children from the West Bank were detained by the military in 2013. Assuming that children are not being singled out for special treatment, these figures would suggest that the Israeli military arrested 1,360 adults and children  during night arrest operations in the West Bank in 2013 (17 percent of 8,000). These figures do not take into account night raids into Palestinian villages where no arrests were made for which no data is publicly available. These figures suggest that multiple night raids are being conducted into Palestinian villages most nights of the year.
 
Although the figures released by the military authorities cannot be independently verified, they suggest a widespread and systematic policy of subjecting Palestinian communities in the West Bank to a relentless regime of night raids. Available evidence indicates that these night raids can have a traumatizing effect on the households targeted. The military’s figures, if accurate, confirm the need for an immediate cessation of this practice except in rare and exceptional circumstances.
 
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