Approximately half of all children detained are arrested by the military at night between the hours of 22:00 and 05:00. Night arrest operations tend to intimidate targeted communities and children report being "shocked" or “terrified” when confronted with heavily armed soldiers in their homes or bedrooms. This sense of fear only increases in cases where the front door is broken in or blown open using explosives. In some cases, houses are searched and property damaged.
In 2013, UNICEF described these night arrest operations as follows: "For some of the children, what follows is a chaotic and frightening scene, in which furniture and windows are sometimes broken, accusations and verbal threats are shouted, and family members are forced to stand outside in their night clothes as the accused child is forcibly removed from the home. Few children or parents are informed as to where the child is being taken, why or for how long."
Although UNICEF recommends that no child should be arrested in the middle of the night the practice continues unabated and a pilot programme introduced in 2014 to issue summonses in lieu of night arrests is now largely defunct. In 2020, former Israeli soldiers published their testimonies detailing military invasions of Palestinian homes in the West Bank.
Updated: October 2021