in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel, in a nutshell
Failing to Protect Children During Treatment by Legal-authorities
Israel’s youth laws allow for the presence of both parents and a lawyer in the course of detention and investigation – except in special cases. The law also requires the documentation of procedures instituted in order to ensure that children are treated in ways that are age-appropriate and that power relations are not misused. Similarly, Israel’s legal procedures are adapted to the age and developmental level of the defendant, and the penal code considers the needs of children who are convicted of a crime – including her or his need for ongoing connection with both parents and community.
Nevertheless, these laws are not always fully or equally enforced, and there is a concern about the harm inflicted on children by legal authorities engaged in detention and imprisonment procedures. Enforcement is specifically lacking in East Jerusalem, where Palestinian children are directly subjected to Israeli law.
Additionally, there is great concern in light of the harsh treatment administered to Palestinian children living in the rest of the West Bank. These children are subjected to Israeli military laws according to which they are denied rights provided to other children who live under Israeli jurisdiction. Systematically collected evidence has brought to light the fact that many child defendants are denied basic protection.
Such a denial of protection may result in damaging consequences to these children’s well-being and emotional resilience. The accumulated psychological damage in the society at large fuels an unending cycle of violence and contributes to the transmission of such damage to future generations.