Ramallah, October 29, 2014—A 16-year-old boy was hospitalized due to injuries sustained in an attack by an Israeli army dog near the occupied West Bank city of Hebron on October 20.
Around 5 pm on October 20, Ameer Awad, 16, was alone on his family’s land located in Beit Ommar near the Israeli settlement of Karmi Tsur when Israeli soldiers standing 50 meters (164 feet) away released a military dog in his direction. The dog bit Ameer on his torso, hand, and legs, and stopped only when an Israeli soldier muzzled the dog.
Ameer was detained by Israeli forces and transferred to Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem. He was treated for his injuries and kept under observation until midnight. Israeli soldiers then took him from the hospital to an unknown location before transferring him to Ofer military prison around 7 pm the following day. Ameer told DCI-Palestine that he was not informed of the reason for his arrest.
“Illegal settlements and the military infrastructure and personnel associated with them severely impact Palestinian children’s lives,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program Director at DCI-Palestine. “There is no justice or accountability with prolonged occupation, and Palestinian children are vulnerable to violence by Israeli soldiers even when standing on their family’s own land.”
Ameer first appeared before a military court judge on October 23, three days after he was injured and arrested. While in Ofer military court, Ameer had visible signs of dog bites on his right arm and waist, according to Iyad Misk, a DCI-Palestine lawyer.
Ameer remains in Israeli military detention, where he has been interrogated by the Israeli forces since his arrest. His detention has now been extended twice.
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. However, in the Israeli military court system pre-trial detention is the norm.
Since 1967, Palestinian children in the Occupied Palestinian Territory have been living under Israeli military law and prosecuted in military courts. Israel is the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes children in military courts. Palestinian children, some as young as 12 years old, are detained, interrogated and imprisoned within the Israeli military detention system known for widespread and systematic ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children.
During 2013, three in four Palestinian children detained by the Israeli military in the occupied West Bank endured physical violence during arrest, transfer or interrogation.