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The outcome of children's arrests

Updated: Apr 22, 2023

The outcome of children's arrests is expressed in two significant forms. The first is the psychological and physical trauma that the Palestinian minor undergoes through: the arrest, the interrogation, the trial, and then imprisonment in adult’s prison. This process does not happen to an Israeli minor. Jointly with the minor, his parents and family members go through a difficult and ongoing process of uncertainty and separation from their son.

The second significant trauma is the impact on the community to which the detained minors belong, which is probably the main reason for the arrests.

Ninety-five percent of the children's arrests take place in communities and villages adjacent to settlements throughout the West Bank, and in neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.

The film "Two Kids a Day " documents four friends who were arrested in the middle of the night for throwing stones and show footage from each boy's interrogation. The interrogator shows each boy photos of his friends and puts pressure on him to incriminate his friends, threatening the family's ability to earn a living by revoking the boy's parents and family members work permits. The interrogator intimidates the boy that he will be thrown to the basement, in isolation and without minimal conditions. The boys did not meet a lawyer prior to the interrogation, and if a meeting with a lawyer did happen, it was short and therefore not useless. Presence of a parent during the interrogation was not possible. According to the boys' testimonies, at one point, the interrogator shut the camera and tied their hands behind their backs and beat them.

An important event the boys described is that they played football in the village and one of their friends was shot and killed by IDF soldiers, which apparently triggered the stones throwing at the soldiers.

Interrogation of minors usually works like this: The interrogator creates an illusion that a confession will lead to release, but in practice a plea agreement leads to detention. Many times, the minors are stripped of their clothes during the arrest process to create humiliation. Forty percent of the boys enter interrogation in a daze, after staying in a dungeon with bright, blinding lighting. The investigator is the first human being they meet.

The second severe impact of child detention is the intense pressure exerted on the life of the community the detainees belong to. The pressure on the minors to inform on their friends leads to mutual accusations, creating distrust and hostility in the community. It seems that the main objective of the occupation authorities in the arrests is to cause dismantling and desperation in the community, which can lead to inability to organize the community and to prevent resilience to resistance. This, in turn, paves the way for the expansion of the illegal settlement or neighborhood that are located next to the Palestinian community. As a result, the living conditions of the Palestinian in the community deteriorate, while the illegal Jewish settlement or neighborhood are under ongoing improvement.

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