Israeli forces physically assault and strangle 14-year-old Palestinian child detainee

May 17, 2024
14-year-old Majd R. was detained and tortured for 24 hours by Israeli forces on April 29. (Photo: Courtesy of the family)

Ramallah, May 16, 2024—Israeli forces physically assaulted and strangled a 14-year-old Palestinian boy in Israeli custody during detention and interrogation.

Majd R., 14, was detained by Israeli forces around 2:30 p.m. on April 29, 2024 in the Palestinian village of Azzoun, east of Qalqilya in the occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. He was released the next day, unable to walk, after many hours of ill treatment, torture, and interrogation.

“Israeli forces routinely subject Palestinian child detainees to systematic ill-treatment and torture following arrest,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “These latest allegations are a particularly disturbing reminder that Palestinian children in Israeli custody are vulnerable to all forms of violence. The international community must pressure Israeli authorities to end the practice of detaining and torturing Palestinian children.”

Majd and his friends were walking in the western neighborhood of Azzoun when two Israeli military vehicles approached them.

“We felt very afraid and ran away, but the military vehicles chased us, and one of the military jeeps almost ran me over. I had to stop running, while my friends managed to escape and disappear,” Majd told DCIP. “Around 10 soldiers exited the two military vehicles, pointing their guns at me and started physically assaulting me for 30 minutes.”

“I was screaming and crying in fear and pain. They cuffed my hands behind my back with a single plastic tie, and I was blindfolded, thrown inside a military vehicle,” Majd said, and added that two soldiers assaulted him inside the vehicle for about 10 minutes. 

Despite the reason for detention, detained children are protected by several fundamental guarantees in international human rights and humanitarian law, ensuring their right to life, freedom from arrest, and protection against torture, cruel and ill-treatment.

“One of them put his boot on my mouth while stomping on my chest with his other boot,” Majd said.

The military vehicle stopped at an Israeli military checkpoint located at the northern entrance to Azzoun. Majd was taken out of the vehicle, forced to stand still and a soldier repeatedly assaulted him with the stock of his rifle on the chest, head, and waist while directing insults at him.

“I was begging him to stop hitting me but to no avail. He then wrapped his hands around my neck, pressed with all his strength, and said to me in Arabic, ‘I'll kill you by strangulation.’" Majd passed out and regained consciousness around 5 p.m. and found himself in a room, lying on the ground and surrounded by a soldier, a cat, and a military dog. 

“I felt really scared, mostly because the sounds made by the dog were terrifying. I started screaming out of fear because the cat scratched my face many times,” Majd told DCIP. “The soldier said in Arabic, 'I will let the dog eat you.'"

Israeli forces continued torturing Majd until around 2 a.m, slamming his head against a wall several times, causing him to collapse and ask for water, but his request was rejected and they forced him to remain silent.

Israeli forces transferred him to Emmanuel Police Station for interrogation at 3:30 a.m where his tie and blindfold were removed. The interrogator accused him of throwing stones at Israeli military vehicles and then allegedly subjected the boy to physical violence for two hours, forced him to sign an electronic screen with an electronic pen, and tied his hands and blindfolded again, according to documentation collected by DCIP. 

Ill treatment and torture of Palestinian children remains widespread and systematic in the Israeli military detention system as children arrested by Israeli forces arrive at Israeli interrogation centers blindfolded, bound and sleep deprived, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces used blindfolds and hand ties on almost all the children interviewed by DCIP. Children frequently report they signed documents during interrogation drafted in Hebrew, a language they do not understand. 

The Israeli forces attempted to transfer Majd to Megiddo or Ofer prison around 7:30 a.m, but returned to the illegal Israeli settlement Ariel due to the overcrowded cells in both Megiddo and Ofer prisons. Israeli forces placed him in a yard under the scorching sun. 

Transfer of Palestinian detainees, including children, to prisons and interrogation and detention facilities inside Israel or Israeli settlements, even for brief periods, constitutes an unlawful transfer in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and constitutes a war crime in violation of Article 8(2)(b)(viii) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

“I worn out as a result of being deprived of food, water, or access to the bathroom throughout my detention. A soldier poured water on me until my clothes soaked, after which he spat on me,” Majd said.

Majd was released around 12:30 p.m. on April 30 at the intersection of Haris village, near Ariel settlement. He couldn't move or stand and remained lying on the ground until a Palestinian vehicle pulled over and drove him to his village, then transferred him to Azzoun Hospital.

Between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2023, DCIP documented 838 cases where Palestinian children detained by the Israeli military were systematically tortured, handcuffed, blindfolded, strip searched, and denied access to food and water during the interrogation period. 

In nearly all cases documented by DCIP, Israeli authorities interrogated Palestinian child detainees without the presence of a lawyer or family member, and children were overwhelmingly denied a consultation with a lawyer prior to interrogation. Israeli forces use coercive tactics, including the use of informants, resulting in children unintentionally making incriminating statements or even false confessions.

Ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention

Around 500 to 700 Palestinian children, some as young as 12, are arrested, detained and prosecuted in the Israeli military detention system each year. The majority of Palestinian child detainees are charged with throwing stones. In addition to physical and psychological abuse during arrest and detention, Palestinian child detainees are overwhelmingly denied bail and routinely held in pretrial custodial detention for up to several months.

International juvenile justice standards, which Israel has obliged itself to implement by signing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991, demand that children should only be deprived of their liberty as a measure of last resort. Israel is the only country in the world that automatically prosecutes children in military courts that lack basic and fundamental fair trial guarantees.

Since the occupation of Palestinian territory in 1967 by Israeli forces, Palestinian children have been charged with offenses under Israeli military law and tried in military courts. Israeli military law is only applied to Palestinians even though Israeli settlers live in the same territory. No Israeli children come into contact with the Israeli military court system.


Please wait...

Never miss an update.

Read the privacy policy.

We will never share your email address and you can unsubscribe at any time.