The Israel Prison Service (IPS) recently provided data regarding the number of Palestinian minors from the West Bank held in Israeli prisons since the beginning of 2018. The data was provided in response to a freedom-of-information request made by HaMoked, an Israeli NGO that advocates for the rights of Palestinian minors from the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem who are arrested and interrogated by Israeli security forces.
HaMoked provides preliminary information to families about where their children are detained, monitors the conditions of arrest and detention of these minors, assists families in obtaining permits for prison visits, and corresponds with various authorities, in particular the Israel Police, the Israel Prison Service and the military, in an effort to rectify the recurring failings of these bodies in their treatment of Palestinian minors.
On July 15, 2018 HaMoked submitted a freedom-of-information request to the IPS, requesting data regarding the number of Palestinian minors from Jerusalem and the West Bank held in IPS detention facilities and categorized as “security detainees.” The request stipulated receiving data for each month since the beginning of 2018, divided by gender and age.
On August 15, 2018, the IPS sent its response, along with data tables for each month since the start of the year. The data provided relates to Palestinian minors from the West Bank only (excluding East Jerusalem). Between 188 and 298 minors were held at any given time during this period. Boys constituted the overwhelming majority of Palestinian minors imprisoned or detained; most are aged 16-17. During this period, between 2-6 girls were held in detention, one of them aged 14 or younger; the rest were 16-17 years old. Most of the boys are held in the Megiddo prison (located inside Israel) and in the Ofer detention facility in the occupied West Bank. The girls are held in the Sharon prison, also located inside Israel. The data further indicates that less than half of the minors are serving sentences; most are detained for interrogation or waiting to be charged or tried. During this period, between 3-4 boys aged 16-17 were held in administrative detention at any given time.