Both before and after UNICEF’s major Thursday report on the treatment of Palestinian minors, critics of the IDF have called its voluntary summons pilot program, revealed first by The Jerusalem Post in February 2014, inconsequential and barely symbolic.
For years, the IDF arrested a large number of Palestinians – adults and minors – at night, explaining that in instances it tried to make arrests during the day there was widespread rioting.
The IDF said that the rioting not only sometimes prevented the arrest, but often both soldiers and Palestinians who were not under suspicion got injured during the rioting.
Critics countered that many of the worst allegations of Palestinian minors being beaten, blindfolded, abused, questioned without a lawyer or parent, and without being read some of their rights, occurred in the context of night arrests.
They said if night arrests could be eliminated, and Palestinian minors came forth voluntarily during the day, that many of these other complaints against the IDF could also be eliminated or heavily reduced. Thus, the summons pilot program was born a year ago.
The IDF agreed, with the UN Children’s Fund’s urging, that the more Palestinian minors suspected of crimes that could be brought forward for questioning on their own accord, without carrying out night arrests, the better for all sides.
According to UNICEF’s report, in 2013 there were 162 night arrests of Palestinian minors out of a total 654 arrested.
keyboard shortcuts: V vote up article J next comment K previous comment