Among the many Palestinian rock throwers, the IDF occasionally apprehends children and youths that are then sent to Israeli jails. The B'Tselem organization on Monday published a report which included severe criticism of the IDF and the justice system's treatment of Palestinian minors that are brought to trial.
The organization alleges that between 2005 and 2010 indictments were filed against 835 Palestinian minors for rock throwing. B'Tselem claims that only one of those accused was acquitted of the charges in the past six years.
It is further claimed that 93% of the teens and youths convicted of hurling stones were sentenced to prison terms, including 19 children under the age of 14. Israeli law does in fact forbid the imprisonment of children of that age, but military law allows it.
Injustice? Palestinians throwing rocks (Photo: Reuters)
Among the accused, 34 stand out for being between 12 and 13 years old; 255 were 14 and 15 years old; and 546 were 16 and 17 year olds. B'Tselem said that 19 of the convicted 12-13 year olds served a prison sentence of a few days to a few months. The report also claimed that 26% of the 14-15 year olds served a prison sentence that exceeded 4 months.
"The injustice against Palestinian minors begins at the arrest and interrogation stage," B'Tselem alleges. The organization said that "on more than one occasion they arrested in the small hours of the night and taken to be interrogated by themselves without parental supervision or a lawyer."
B'Tselem also accuses the authorities of physically harming the minor detainees. "They are frequently the victims of violence during the arrest and interrogation."
The report alleges that "the injustice continues when they come into contact with the military legal system: In most cases the judges accept the prosecution's demand to leave the minors in custody until the completion of proceedings.
"That reality forces the minors to enter into plea bargains as the process of an evidentiary trial, even when it leads to acquittal, takes a longer period of time than the prison sentence they are likely to receive within the plea bargain."
B'Tselem called for "the provisions of martial law to be matched with the provisions of juvenile law without delay".
The IDF Spokesman issued no response to the claims.