Campaign for Palestinian Children in Military Detention    

Jewish Voice for Peace is proud to be a campaign partner of the No Way to Treat a Child Campaign. The No Way to Treat a Child campaign seeks to challenge Israel’s prolonged military occupation of Palestinians by exposing widespread and systematic ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system. It is a project of Defense for Children International – Palestine and American Friends Service Committee.


Israel is the only country in the world that systematically arrests and tries minors under military law.  Currently, Israel prosecutes between 500 and 700 Palestinian children in military courts each year. Palestinian children in the West Bank, like adults, face arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment under a military detention systems that denies their basic human rights.  

Ill-treatment of children in the Israeli military detention system remains "widespread, systematic, and institutionalized throughout the process" of arrest, interrogation, trial, and imprisonment, according to the UNICEF report Children in Israeli Military Detention, Observations and Recommendations (2013).

From Testimonies of 739 Palestinian children detained by Israeli forces from the occupied West Bank and prosecuted in Israeli military court between 2013 and 2018, Defense of Children International - Palestine found that: 

73% experienced physical violence following arrest 

95% were hand tied

86% were blindfolded

49% were detained from their homes in the middle of the night

64% faced verbal abuse, humiliation, or intimidation

74% of children were not properly informed of their rights

96% were interrogated without the presence of a family member

20% were subject to stress positions

49% signed documents in Hebrew, a language most Palestinian children don't understand

The U.S. State Department's 2016 human rights report on Israel states that military courts have more than a 99% conviction rate for Palestinian defendants.  

As members of JVP, we believe that each and every person has inherent dignity and worth.  We seek equality for Palestinians and Israelis.  Since 1967, Israel has operated two separate legal systems in the same territory.  Israelis who live in the illegal settlements in the West Bank are subject to the civilian criminal legal system, while Palestinians live under military law.  

Together with many other organizations, Jewish Voice for Peace has endorsed H.R. 2407 - Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act, introduced by Representative Betty McCollum on April 30, 2019.  This bill seeks to promote justice, equality and human rights for children globally by prohibiting any U.S. foreign aid dollars from contributing to "the military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of children in violation of international humanitarian law."  

This bill also authorizes congress to appropriate $19 million each year to be used for monitoring human rights abuses and for providing physical, psychological, and emotional health treatment, support and rehabilitation for Palestinian children victims of military detention, abuse, and torture.  

Please call and/or write your U.S. representative and ask them to support the human rights of children by co-sponsoring this legislation.  

Joyce Beatty - 202-225-4324 - 2303 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C.  20515

Troy Balderson - 202-225-5355 - 1221 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C.  20515

Steve Stivers - 202-225-2015  - 2234 Rayburn HOB, Washington D.C., 20515

Stay informed:

Learn more: 

Defense of Children International - Palestine -

American Friends Service Committee - No Way to Treat a Child -

H.R. 2407 -

Military Court Watch -

No Way to Treat A Child.  Palestinian Children in the Israeli Military Detention System, April 2016, (76 pages),