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A STONE’S THROW FROM PRISON Child Detentions in the Palestinian Territories by Mae Elise Cannon In conflict, children suffer the most. That’s the case in the decades-long Arab-Israeli conflict. Of particular concern to child rights advocates is the plight of Palestinian children arrested and detained by Israeli authorities. Not only are they denied due process by US and international standards, they are also subject to arrest, interrogation, and detainment, which is inconsistent with Israeli law. Everyday life is difficult for both Israeli and Palestinian children. Israeli children grow up in a country where insecurity exists because of the conflict with Palestinians and other neighboring states. They live with the fear of random attacks such as the suicide bombings common during the Second Intifada. Israeli children near the Gaza border live under the threat and fear of missiles which have been fired almost daily across the border into southern Israel. Moreover, since military service is compulsory in Israel, both boys and girls are expected to serve in the army when they turn 18. Involvement in the military occupation of the Palestinian territories can expose them and their families to hostile, volatile, and violent situations.

Palestinian children also face the constant threat of violence. They live in situations where family members are often traumatized, and they experience tight restrictions on movement and often limited access to basic necessities such as education and healthcare. A great number of Palestinian children suffer from poor emotional health and post-traumatic stress (PTS) as they witness violence and the humiliation of parents, siblings, and neighbors in encounters with the Israeli military. These children increasingly grow up in environments that lack opportunities or a sense of hope. Defence for Children International (DCI) is an independent nongovernmental organization represented in 40 countries with its International Secretariat based in Geneva, Switzerland. DCI is committed to promoting child rights around the world, including within Israel and the Palestinian territories. They argue that Israeli enforcement of child detentions in the Palestinian territories is one of the greatest barriers to the well-being of Palestinian children. Around 700 Palestinian children are arrested by the Israeli military every year. Since 2000, more than 7,000 Palestinian children have


A Stones Throw From Prison March 2012  
A Stones Throw From Prison March 2012  

by Mae Elise Cannon 23 ALI ALI/epa/Corbis Traumatic arrests The degree of intensity of the interrogation sometimes de- pends on how long it...