Evidence Update: Physical abuse
[17 July 2021] – In 2013 UNICEF issued a report after reviewing the treatment of Palestinian children held in Israeli military detention and concluded that “the ill-treatment of children who come in contact with [Israel’s] military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process." Following the release of the report Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that it would work to implement the 38 recommendations through on-going cooperation with UNICEF.
In the intervening 8 years the level of documented abuse has trended up, with 73 percent of children reporting some form of ill-treatment in 2020, compared with 60 percent at the time of the UNICEF report. Based on nearly 900 testimonies collected since 2013, UNICEF's conclusion that ill-treatment in the system appears to be "widespread, systematic and institutionalized" continues to apply in 2021. The types of abuse reported recently include: punching; slapping; kicking; striking with objects; banging heads against objects, applying pressure to pre-existing injuries; solitary confinement; and tasering.
Children continue to describe their treatment after arrest in the following terms:
- "The soldiers walked me towards the military watchtower at the entrance to my village and left me there for about an hour. Then I was taken to the back of a troop carrier. A soldier beat me on the back with the butt of his gun. When I sat on a seat a soldier banged my head against the window." (M.H.M.Z. - 16 years)
- "Then the soldier blindfolded me and banged my head against the concrete wall. He kicked and slapped me while the other soldiers were laughing. One of them made animal sounds and another took a video of me. Then he pushed me to the ground and made me kneel down for about two hours. It was raining and I got soaked." (A.N.H.H. - 17 years)
- "Two soldiers grabbed me and pushed be down and beat me with the back of their guns. They also swore at me and kicked me very hard. Then one of them tied by hands behind my back with two plastic ties and tightened them very hard. I was in severe pain and felt my left wrist was badly damaged." (M.M.A.H. - 15 years)
- "The interrogator accused me of being with the boys who threw the Molotov cocktail and wanted to know who else was with me. When I told him I was not with the boys he punched me in the stomach right where I had the surgery wound causing severe pain. I was questioned by that soldier for about 36 hours." (S.M.D.J. - 15 years)
- "About two hours later I was taken outside where I was left in the sun. I asked for some water but the soldiers did not respond. One of them spat at me and I started to shout. Other soldiers heard my shouts and came to see what was going on. One of them slapped me and then made fun of me." (A.R.A.J. - 14 years)