Israel forces arrested 850 Palestinian children in past year, campaigners warn

Israeli forces arrested 850 Palestinian children in the occupied territories in the past year, a leading prisoners advocacy group reported today.

The Committee of Families of al-Quds Prisoners detailed the atrocities committed by Israel, with children held in appalling conditions without access to daylight.

Some are detained without being given a specified jail term amid fears they could be held indefinitely under draconian administrative detention orders, according to the report.

The Israeli regime continues to ignore calls from the United Nations to end the practice, which allows continued imprisonment without trial or charges being brought against them.

At least 15 children have been placed under house arrest with their parents forced to play the role of jailer, the advocacy group said.

Spokesman for the committee, Amjad Abu Asab, said the Palestinian children and their families “face punitive action” if they breach the terms of the incarceration.”

Lawyer for one of the Palestinian children Medhat Deeba said the practice of house arrest was in violation of international humanitarian law and amounted to psychological torture.

The punishment also deprived the children of a proper education and a normal life, he said.

Between 500 and 700 children are tried in military courts each year, monitoring groups say, with many of them denied a fair trial amid a lack of legal checks and balances.

It is alleged that they are interrogated while blindfolded and forced into confessing crimes they haven’t committed.

Some are reportedly held in solitary confinement and denied access to lawyers.

The most common charge is stone-throwing, for which the maximum sentence is 20 years.

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A 2020 Save the Children report said that at least 190 Palestinian children were held in Israeli prisons.

Israel has since stopped responding to requests for updated figures, the B’Tselem human rights group says.

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