In the Shadow of the 2014 Gaza War: Imprisonment of Jerusalem’s Children

In July and August of 2014, Gaza held the world’s attention as Israel launched massive air strikes and ground attacks against that part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt) over….

In July and August of 2014, Gaza held the world’s attention as Israel launched massive air strikes and ground attacks against that part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt) over a period of 50 days. The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that more than 2100 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli onslaught. This number does not include the many more who were wounded or traumatized as a result of the Israeli offensive. In response to the unrest following the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir and the subsequent war on Gaza, Israeli occupation forces (IOF) intensified human rights violations against Palestinians in East Jerusalem including mass arrests, leading to an increase in the number of Jerusalemite Palestinians held in Israeli detention.

Not so apparent to the rest of the world however, was the lower intensity but nevertheless harsh repression that Israel continued to inflict upon Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 2014. While Palestinians suffer many forms of abuse and violence at the hands of Israel, this report concentrates on the detention of children from East Jerusalem between the years 2014-15, the cruel treatment they endured during arrest, detention and interrogation, and the impacts of this treatment on the children, their families, and communities. Furthermore, we examine the legal implications of Israel’s behavior and the political context in which it occurred.

According to statistics compiled by the Palestinian Monitoring Group of the PLO’s Negotiations Affairs Department, 1769 Palestinians from East Jerusalem were arrested by Israeli authorities in 2014, with a majority accused of throwing rocks or Molotov Cocktails. A sharp increase compared with the number of Jerusalemite Palestinians arrested in previous years. This number exceeds by more than 70% the 1037 Palestinian East Jerusalemites arrested in 2013. In 2012, 393 Palestinians from East Jerusalem were detained, while another 445 were seized in 2011. There are no reliable figures available for how many of those detained were children, although Addameer alone represented 246 of them in 2014.

Article 1 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states that: “For the purposes of the present Convention, a child means every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.” In this report we adhere to the Article 1 definition when making reference to children. Furthermore, when we use the terms “minor” and “youth,” we also have in mind persons below the age of 18.

In addition to written documents, this report draws heavily on two types of primary sources. The first of these are affidavits collected by Addameer from Palestinian children in East Jerusalem who were arrested by Israeli forces. To protect the children’s identities, they are only identified by their initials in the report. The second primary source consists of community activists, psychologists, and several Addameer staff members. Though in every case their first language is Arabic, they kindly consented to being interviewed in English. As a result, in some instances quotations have been revised in this report for clarity but without altering the interviewee’s intended meaning.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 – Introduction
Chapter 2 – Historical Background
Chapter 3 – Current Context
Chapter 4 – Arrest and Detention
Chapter 5 – Impacts on Detainees,
Their Families, and Their Communities
Chapter 6 – Legal Analysis
Chapter 7 – Conclusions: Violations of
Israeli and International Law

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