Intifada of knives: Israel doubles the number of arrests of Palestinian minors
The number of young Palestinians in Israeli prisons for security-related offenses has increased from 170 in September 2015 to 438 in February. At least five inmates under 14 years. More than half will remain in prison until the end of their trial. In 75% of cases, young people are subjected to physical violence; almost all are interrogated without the assistance of a lawyer or parent.
Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The number of young Palestinians held in Israeli prisons has more than doubled in recent months, coinciding with the outbreak of the third intifada knives, characterized by attacks on Israeli citizens and security forces.
According to statistics released by the Penitentiary Department, obtained exclusively by Haaretz, the Palestinian children detained for security-related crimes in Israel and the West Bank increased from 170 in September 2015 to 438 in February.
The report shows a clear "change" in the increase in prisoners according to various age groups. Among those under 14 years, the number has risen from zero in September to 5 in February; one of them is a girl, Dima Al-Wawi, recently released. Detainees aged between 14 and 16 years have passed from 27 to 98; those between 16 and 18 years from 143 to 324 in February.
More than half of the prisoners (54%) will remain in jail until the conclusion of the trial. The Israeli authorities have yet to formulate precise charges against seven young inmates (out of 438); the total of those arrested, 12 are underage girls (in September there was only one Palestinian girl in jail).
In reference to the areas where there have been arrests, 106 were in the city of Hebron (West Bank), divided between Arabs and Israelis. Another 104 in East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as the capital of the future state; finally, a further 86 were in Ramallah, again in the West Bank.
According to reports from the NGO Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCIP), a group that fights for the rights of arrested Palestinian children, about 75% of the 429 young men arrested by Israel between 2012 and 2015 has experienced physical violence after their detention by the Israeli police.
In 97% of cases they have not benefited from the presence of a parent or official during interrogation; 84% were not read their rights upon arrest.
Ivan Karakashian, DCIP coordinator, said that by "targeting the most vulnerable fringe of the Palestinian population, namely young people," Israel "can nip any outbreak in the bud and keep control of a population that lives in a perpetual state of occupation".
Since last October, after a series of provocations by ultra-Orthodox Jews who went to pray on the Temple Mount, incidents and riots have increased in Israel and the Palestinian territories, in the context of the so-called "intifada of knives". So far over 200 Palestinians, 29 Israelis, two Americans, a Sudanese and one Eritrean have been killed.
Most Palestinians were killed as they tried to stab passers-by or soldiers. Others were killed during demonstrations or clashes with the military.