Israeli security forces have used unnecessary force to arrest or detain Palestinian children as young as 11 during their detention and interrogation process in prisons and security centres, a report by Human Rights Watch revealed on Monday.
According to the report, Israeli security forces have “choked children, thrown stun grenades at children, beaten them in custody, threatened and interrogated them without the presence of parents or lawyers, and failed to let their parents know their whereabouts.”
The watchdog said it built its report based on interviews it had conducted with four boys aged 11, 12, and 15 from different neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem and a 14-year-old girl and 15-year-old boy from elsewhere in the West Bank, all of whom Israeli forces arrested or detained in separate incidents for allegedly throwing rocks from March to December 2014.
The organisation said it has also seen photos and marks on the body of one of the children, consistent with the accounts he and his parents had given; the children’s accounts were also consistent with each other.
HRW Middle East Director Sarah Leah Whitson said that “Israeli forces’ mistreatment of Palestinian children is at odds with its claim to respect children’s rights,” stressing that “as Israel’s largest military donor, the US should press hard for an end to these abusive practices and for reforms.”
“Israel has been on notice for years that its security forces are abusing Palestinian children’s rights in occupied territory, but the problems continue. These are not difficult abuses to end if the Israeli government were serious about doing so,” she added.