A recent report by the Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights says the Israeli army has detained 740 Palestinian minors-- some as young as 8-- in the Occupied West Bank during the first two months of 2014.
The report says 465 of the detainees remained in custody for over a week. The Geneva based rights group also says there has been an 80% rise in child arrests in 2014 compared to data from 2013. The director of Defense of Children International says since the 1st intifada, over 8000 children have been arrested and held captive by the Israeli forces. Israel claims they are being arrested for their involvement in stone throwing or demonstrating against the occupation of their land. I spoke to a mother of 13 year old Omar Abdel Ghani, who was recently arrested by the Israeli army. Although torture is strictly forbidden under international law against minors, she said that the army beat him for hours before releasing him. According to the 4th Geneva convention, it is forbidden to arrest a minor without the presence of a guardian or lawyer. According to the Israeli military law, Palestinian child prisoners may be sentenced in military courts from the age of twelve. And that violates both international and Israeli juvenile law. Most charges of children are linked to throwing stones or being active in demonstrations. But rights groups say such acts are not considered illegal under international law. They also believe the detention of a child is often used as a collective punishment for his family and members of his village who engage in activities against the occupation.