‘No Minor Matter’ – new report documents Israel’s imprisonment of Palestinian children

Writing in the Guardian, Harriet Sherwood reports on the latest findings from the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem concerning Israel’s imprisonment of Palestinian minors.

The report, entitled No Minor Matter, reveals that over a six-year period only one out of more than 800 Palestinian children in the West Bank charged with throwing stones was acquitted.

Whilst the imprisonment of Israeli children under 14 is illegal, 34 Palestinians aged under 14 were imprisoned during this period. Many of the children arrested were taken from their families in the middle of the night and were tried in a military court.

Sherwood features the testimony of Maher Abu Hanaineh, aged 16:

Maher was arrested at night and taken for questioning at a police station in the West Bank settlement of Ariel. He said: “When we arrived [at the police station], they took us from the jeep, put us in a room and told us to sit on the floor. About half an hour later, they removed our blindfolds. Three soldiers guarded us. I was very tired and my eyes closed a few times. Every time I closed my eyes, a soldier kicked me in the legs with his heavy boots.”

Visit the Guardian to read the article in full.

A new book from Pluto, Threat: Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israel, edited by Abeer Baker and Anat Matar, brings together prisoners, ex-prisoners, lawyers and academics to analyse the political nature of imprisonment under occupation. It reveals how night raids, false imprisonment, military courts, torture in custody and detention without trial are defining features of the Palestinian experience under Israeli occupation.

You can see some of the testimonies from Palestinian children used in the B’Tselem report in this video:


Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israel

Edited by Abeer Baker and Anat Matar

Highlights the plights of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israel. Includes contributions from current and former prisoners.

“This is a timely and urgent volume that brings to the fore the systematic injustices endemic to the Israeli emprisonment of Palestinians. The volume not only provides extensive documentation that establishes the particular violence of the legal apparatus as it contains and disciplines arrested Palestinians, but it offers a detailed description of the widespread deviation from accepted standards of justice and procedural law. At stake throughout is the criminalisation of political protest, and this volume offers extensive evidence and analysis to resist this violent use of law.” – Judith Butler, Maxine Elliot Professor, Departments of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature, UC Berkeley

“Out of the grim reality of Palestinians as a People of Prisoners and Israeli-Jews as a People of Wardens, this book offers not only nuanced information and unconventional insights, but also the feasibility of an anti-occupation, anti-colonial life of action, developed together by Palestinians and Jews.” – Amira Hass, Ha’aretz

£19.99 only £17.50 on the Pluto site

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