Israel keeps Palestinians under 10 years old behind bars 22Mar13 March 22, 2013

MEMO-Middle East Monitor    -    21 March 2013

child-prisonersAn Israeli human rights centre has revealed that the occupation authorities have ten Palestinian children in jail who are aged between 8 and 10 years. The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B’Tselem) made the disclosure in the context of the recent spate of arrest of minors in the West Bank.

B’Tselem said that its envoy met the occupation’s legal advisor in the occupied West Bank, Colonel Doron Ben Barak and asked for him to intervene as a matter of urgency to get the release of more than 20 Palestinian children detained on Wednesday morning in Hebron.

The organisation has published a video taken by an activist that shows children being pulled from the arms of their parents while crying and screaming. News of the mass arrest was published by MEMO on Wednesday. The children were on their way to a number of schools on Tariq bin-Ziad Street in Hebron when they were detained by the Israeli authorities. The B’Tselem video shows clearly that they were carrying their school bags and wearing school uniforms at the time of their detention.

Although a spokesman of the Israeli occupations forces said that the pupils were interrogated on suspicion of throwing stones and Molotov cocktails, B’Tselem said that “this cannot justify the mass detention of youths for unspecified suspicions, let alone the arrest or detention of children under twelve”.

Israeli forces detain around 7,000 Palestinian minors every year. Some of them are kidnapped from their homes, some while they are on the street and some are taken from their schools. According to statistics by the Palestinian Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Addameer, at the end of 2012 there were 194 Palestinian minors were in Israeli prisons; at least 30 of them are under 16 years of age.

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