Israeli forces rearrest Palestinian child released during truce in November

Feb 02, 2024
Israeli forces detain a Palestinian protester in Hebron on December 7, 2017. (Photo: AFP / Hazem Bader)

Ramallah, February 2, 2024—Israeli forces rearrested a 17-year-old Palestinian boy who was released from Israeli custody as part of the truce agreement in late November.

Israeli forces rearrested Rami*, 17, around 7:45 a.m. on January 25 from his home in the Palestinian village of Beir Al-Basha, near Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Rami spent more than a year in Israeli military detention, including 30 days in solitary confinement, when he was released from custody on November 25, 2023 as part of the truce agreement between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups.

“Israeli forces have made it clear they intend to continue targeting and prosecuting Palestinian children released from Israeli custody during the prisoner swap,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “Whether in the Gaza Strip or the West Bank, there is no safe place for Palestinian children.”

Israeli forces carried out a military incursion into the Palestinian village of Beir Al-Basha, south of Jenin in the early morning on January 25. Rami’s family heard a large explosion then looked outside to see that Israeli forces had surrounded their house and were demanding everyone evacuate the house. Everyone except Rami’s older brother left, and Israeli forces detained the family about 150 meters (492 feet) away. Israeli forces exchanged gunfire with Rami’s brother, who remained in the house.

“Rami was extremely frightened and was trembling due to his intense fear of the nature of the event he was experiencing and the fate of his brother,” Rami’s father told DCIP.

“After about two hours, the sound of gunfire stopped and we heard soldiers taunting and laughing,” Rami’s father said. “That’s when we learned that the occupation forces killed my older son.”

Then, Israeli forces arrested Rami. When Rami asked why he was being arrested, an Israeli soldier answered in Arabic, “Because you are a terrorist.”

On January 16, Israeli military prosecutors postponed the military court sessions for a group of Palestinian children released in the November prisoner and hostage swaps until March 26, 2024. All the Palestinian child prisoners were held in pretrial custodial detention at the time they were released, and are still subject to Israeli military court proceedings despite their release from Israeli custody.

Each year the Israeli military detains and prosecutes between 500 to 700 Palestinian children in Israeli military courts that lack basic safeguards for a fair trial. 

From the moment of arrest, Palestinian children encounter ill-treatment and torture at the hands of Israeli forces. 

Despite the fact that international norms reaffirm that civilians, including children, must never be brought before military courts, Israel persists in being the only country in the world to automatically and systematically prosecute children in military courts.

DCIP collected affidavits from 766 West Bank Palestinian children detained by Israeli forces between 2016 and 2022 that show three-quarters of them endured some form of physical violence following arrest and 97 percent had no parent present during interrogation, and two thirds were not properly informed of their rights. All were subject to Israeli military law that denies basic and fundamental fair trial protections and guarantees and prosecuted in Israel’s military court system which is not independent or impartial.

Evidence and documentation collected by DCIP overwhelmingly indicates that the physical and social isolation of Palestinian children for interrogation purposes by Israeli authorities is a practice that constitutes solitary confinement, amounting to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment under international law norms. 

Isolation of Palestinian children within the Israeli military detention system is practiced solely to obtain a confession for a specific offense or to gather intelligence under interrogation. 

DCIP has found no evidence demonstrating a legally justifiable use of isolation of Palestinian child detainees, such as for disciplinary, protective, or medical reasons. Solitary confinement has been used, almost exclusively, during pre-charge and pretrial detention. 

*Rami is a pseudonym. The child’s name is known to DCIP but not disclosed in order to protect his privacy.

Military Detention | News
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